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Charles Peterson
God Creates Penguins

Picture Book; General Fiction (including literary and historical); (Publish)

Penguins! The Boss will see you now. OMG! Guess what day it is? It's Penguin creation day at the Creation Station! These little fellas have a lot to look forward to in life, if only they can decide who will live where. Will they be able to work together, or will competition bring out the worst in them? Our Penguin buddies teach us that when it LOOKS like bad news, all we might really need is a little change in perspective!
Peterson’s lighthearted children’s story, the second in his God Creating Animals series, takes place in heaven, where God is visiting with two penguins on their “creation day.” He calls the two birds into his office at the “creation station,” where they learn they’re heading to Earth and exclaim, “OMG! We’re so excited!” God goes on to tell them about themselves: they’re experts at fishing, they’re “amazing swimmers,” and they’re crazy about sliding. The only catch is that one penguin gets to live on a sunny island, while the other will call cold, snowy Antarctica home.

The birds quickly sort out this dilemma without much of a struggle and get dressed for their respective climates, with one in a hat and scarf holding skis and the other wearing a Hawaiian shirt with a surfboard under its arm. Throughout the story, Brian Russell’s illustrations are simple yet charming and effective, mostly showing the pair of penguins chatting with God in his corporate-looking office. The birds are expressive and friendly, their eyes wide and curious, while God sits behind a comically tiny desk with a coffee cup that says “#1 boss.” God’s skin is purple and glittering, like the cosmos, which younger children will find surprising.

This story is a fun, quick read, content to be silly without diving into deeper meanings. It doesn’t show the penguins overcoming any kind of conflict about their respective habitats, or teach readers many facts about these adorable flightless birds. The silliness, though, is engaging as the birds choose their respective destinations by playing “rock, paper, flippers,” and God sends them flying to their new homes on airplanes, which they both agree is not quite what they expected. While older children may desire more substance, this story is a delightful way for parents and younger fans to spend time together laughing and learning to enjoy reading.

Takeaway: This lighthearted story follows two excited penguins on their “creation day” as God sends them to their surprising new homes.

Great for fans of: Rowboat Watkins’s Most Marshmallows, Gianna Marino’s Night Animals.

Production grades
Cover: B+
Design and typography: A-
Illustrations: A-
Editing: B
Marketing copy: B