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Tail of the Week: Penguins!

Do penguins have tails? Yes! They have small, wedge-shaped tails made up of 14 – 18 stiff tail feathers. We are too busy looking at their fronts to notice that little tail in the back!

Salina Yoon, who is the artist for this summer’s Tails and Tales Summer Reading Program, has books for little ones that feature a penguin character. Pre-readers and new readers who liked the wordless picture book Flora and the Flamingo by Molly Idle may want to try Flora and the Penguin. Wordless picture books provide a wonderful opportunity to develop vocabulary and storytelling skills.

For older children or as a family read-aloud, don’t miss Mr. Popper’s Penguins, the classic story by Richard Atwater (also available as an audiobook on CD, an ebook, and a DVD movie with Jim Carrey).

Extend the story fun with the activity below!

Make a Penguin Puppet!

Extend the story by making a penguin puppet – a limited number of kits for this craft may be picked up at the Children’s Desk at the Main Library on DeMott Lane, but you can use your own supplies to make one at home.

What you need:

  • 1 white plastic spoon per penguin
  • 1 egg shape cut from stiff black paper
  • 2 white circles and 1 black marker to make the eyes
  • Small scraps of orange paper and black paper
  • Scissors
  • Glue stick

What you do:

  1. If you are working with supplies from home, trace and cut out an oval (egg) shape on black or dark paper. Stiff or thick paper works best for this project.
  2. Make a small fold near the bottom – but don’t crease hard! – and cut a small slit with scissors (just big enough for the spoon handle).
  3. Slide the plastic spoon through the slit. the rounded part of the spoon becomes the penguin’s white belly.
  4. Cut out two small circles and draw eyes on them, and glue them above the plastic spoon belly.
  5. Cut one heart shape and one small triangle from the orange paper. Glue the heart upside down at the bottom for feet. Glue the triangle between the eyes and the plastic spoon belly.
  6. Cut a black triangle for the tail and glue it on the back of the penguin.
  7. Cut wings from the black paper and glue one on each side of the penguin’s body.

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