penguinsaPersonally, I find penguins a tremendous source of inspiration.  Not only are they superb examples of some of the animal kingdom’s most extraordinary adaptations, but watching them tackle the daunting challenges of their everyday life with exuberant gusto makes me feel that nothing is unattainable as long as you throw yourself into it heart and soul.    An excerpt by Tui De Roy, 2013
 
It must be extremely exhilarating to observe penguins porpoising through the waters of Antarctica.  This type of swimming may not be noted as particularly energy efficient but allows these magnificent birds to breathe more regularly and possibly confuse and distract their predators simultaneously.  The length of the porpoising leap can vary from two to six feet, depending upon water conditions, the size of the penguin and their swimming speed.  Powerful flippers enable them to porpoise more easily and for greater distances.  This information is a far cry from what might have been one’s introduction to penguins through “Mr. Popper’s Penguins”, by Richard and Florence Atwater in 1938.  We seem to have spent more time creating merriment by trying to imitate their movements and turning them into cartoon-like characters rather than allowing ourselves to be awed by an exploration of their world.  This book affords you the opportunity to do just that in an all-encompassing, astonishingly comprehensive manner, perhaps altering perceptions of these amazing creatures forever!
 
There are eighteen species of penguins in the world.  Within that number are many variations that distinguish these birds ranging from distinct markings, braying noises like that of a donkey that can be found in the ‘jackass’ grouping to the crested penguins with their extravagant golden head plumes, to name a few.  They spend many months at sea, returning to land to nest and replace all of their feathers which is known as a ‘catastrophic moult’.  They stand out as being curious with a tendency toward sociability, personality differences and the ability to demonstrate hyperactive behaviors and short tempers.  It is quite possible that one might discover a kinship with the penguin within this reading.
 
This is a remarkably stunning book.  The numerous pictures are a testament to the adage, ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ and the content is equally challenging as well as informative.   For millions of years these birds have been fine-tuned to become the most advanced, air-breathing marine animal known to mankind.  Their innate capacity to adapt to land and sea is masterfully defined in this chronicle.  You will come to acknowledge their pedigree and in so doing, take note of the fact that the need for their conservation is imperative.  This book will more than adequately walk you through the world of the penguin.

Book reviews by Sheila Lamonzs

BR032015 

Penguins: The Ultimate Guide by Tui de Roy, Mark Jones, Julie Cornthwaite