BooksForKidsBlog

Sunday, January 27, 2013

FLIPPA-FLAP, SNIPPA-SNAP! Go, JoJo, Go by Tessa Bickford and Jennifer Castles


"IF YOU KEEP SWIMMING, JOJO, YOU'LL REACH THE WHITE SNOW LANDS," SAID DADDOO.

"THE ICEBERGS ARE QUITE A SIGHT TO SEE."

Although the little Gentoo penguin JoJo loves her "beautiful beach" on Macquarrie Island and life with Daddoo, Mammoo, and lazy brother Ballyhoo, like all youngsters she can't wait to learn how to do it all--swimming alone in the ocean and traveling to the fabled land of ice and snow to the south.

But first she has much to learn.  From the elephant seal Bubbah, a big, soft blob on land and fast and graceful in the water, she learns the joy of swimming.  JoJo watches with envy as he slides into the sea to catch his fishy dinner. Meanwhile, she has to dodge the hungry skua birds, with their sharp, snapping beaks and worry about a sudden attack from a huge orca, beaching itself suddenly to snap up baby penguins.

Still, JoJo had fun with the other chicks and soon grows so big that she can laugh at the skuas and swim from rock to rock in the tidal pools, dreaming of how she will bite that orca on his nose if he dares to swim up.

Then suddenly she feel herself changing.

ONE DAY MY FUZZY BABY-COAT STARTS TO COME OFF AND THERE ARE SMOOTH, SHINY FEATHERS UNDERNEATH.

Now Jojo can slip through the water as gracefully as Bubbah, and she builds her endurance every day until she is ready for her first solo swim out beyond the seaweed forest, to the blue sea where she meets a scary but gentle Minke whale and catches her first ocean fish.

AND ONE DAY I'LL GO AS FAR AS THE WHITE SNOW LANDS. 
I'VE HEARD THE ICEBERGS ARE QUITE A SIGHT TO SEE.

Tessa Bickford's and Jennifer Castles' Go Jojo Go! (Allen & Unwin, 2012) is an easy-going photobio essay which is an excellent introduction to the study of penguins in general and the Gentoo in particular. Bickford alternates her full-bleed photo pages with dialogue pages as she describes the development of a young penguin, the sights and sounds around her, the care of her parents, and the steps toward becoming one of those intrepid penguins to make the "big swim" from their nursery on Macquarrie Island all the way to their base camp in Antarctica. JoJo is an observant narrator, and her juvenile adventures as she grows makes a delightful guide to the study of this fascinating aquatic bird.

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