The Penguin of Ilha Grande: From Animal Rescue to Extraordinary Friendship (Hardcover)
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A man rescues a penguin off the coast of Brazil and finds a lifelong connection in this delightful true story about the power of friendship.
When an oil-covered penguin washes up in Brazil, Seu João saves the penguin's life. Soon man and penguin are friends, and Dindim the penguin won't return to the wild. At last Dindim swims away, only to return four months later! For seven years, Dindim the penguin lived with Seu João in Brazil for eight months a year, disappearing for four months after his annual molting.
Readers will enjoy discovering the wildlife of Brazil while learning about the impacts of oil spills and the importance of conservation. This inspiring, true account of real and unusual friendships is sure to win the hearts of nature and animal lovers alike.
About the Author
Shannon Earle makes time to write between teaching kids outdoors, parenting her three daughters, and preparing piles of vegetables from her family's urban homestead in Takoma Park, MD. She has visited Brazil several times, including Ilha Grande, where this story takes place. This is her first book.
Renato Alarcão has been an illustrator since he was a child, logging his first paying freelance job at age nine. He has a master's degree from the School of Visual Arts in New York City and teaches art. Renato is the illustrator of Soccer Star, Roberto's Trip to the Top, and Finding the Music/En pos de la música. He lives in a coastal town across the bay from Rio de Janeiro with his wife Rosa and their two sons. Renato has visited Ilha Grande a few times, and he wishes he were as good in the water as a penguin. www.alarcao.com/br
A true and tender tale that celebrates the lasting bond that forms between a small penguin in dire straits and the man who rescued him.
One day in May, Seu João finds an oil-soaked Magellanic penguin on the beach at Praia Provetá and takes him home to clean him up. He assumes the bird won’t hesitate to return to the ocean, but even when fully recovered, Dindim, as he’s dubbed, has different ideas. The two—one a shin-high poppet clad in formal black and white in Alarcão’s pastel-hued illustrations, the other a light-skinned elder aglow with wrinkled benevolence—become constant companions…until, one hot day the following February, Dindim begins to molt and, around the time of Carnaval, doesn’t come back from his accustomed swim. But then, four months later, he waddles back out of the ocean to touch his bill to a delighted Seu João’s nose, and so continues an annual pattern that goes on for seven years. In group scenes the illustrator populates the warm and sandy Brazilian setting with multihued local children in animated poses and, though he portrays Dindim with plenty of personality, resists the temptation to anthropomorphize his feathered subject. Earle expands a closing note on the real Dindim with remarks about Magellanic penguins in general and environmental and other threats to them.
An episode with a strong sense of place awash in humor and heart. (glossary) (Informational picture book. 6-8)
Seu João lives on an island off the coast of Brazil. When an oil-soaked Magellanic penguin washes ashore, Seu João takes him home, cleans him with dish soap, and names him Dindim (a grandson’s attempt to pronounce the Portuguese word for penguin). As Dindim rehabilitates, the pair forms an attachment, though Seu João, respectful of the needs of wild animals, repeatedly tries to send Dindim back to the sea. Dindim does not leave—until one day, months later, he does. Earle’s account of this true story is skillfully restrained, describing only the actions of Seu João and Dindim, and leaving readers to infer what human and animal feel for each other. “Seu João sat and drank his coffee. His lap was empty. But he remembered Dindim’s silky feathers and the beat of his heart.” Four months later, when Dindim amazingly returns, “the penguin waddled as fast as his little legs could carry him, right into Seu João’s arms.” Alarcão’s pastel-colored illustrations capture the appeal of the people, animals, and beaches of Praia Provetá. In addition to a brief glossary, appended notes provide additional information about Seu João and Dindim, facts about penguins and threats to their survival, and steps that readers can take to help protect threatened species.
—The Horn Book