Earle, Shannon

The Penguin of Ilha Grande: From Animal Rescue to Extraordinary Friendship

(2) K-3 Illustrated by Renato Alarcão. Seu Joao lives on an island off the coast of Brazil. When an oil-soaked Magellanic penguin washes ashore, Seu Joao 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 Joao, 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 two characters' actions, and leaving readers to infer what human and animal feel for each other. "Seu Joao 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 Joao's arms." Alarcao's pastel-colored illustrations capture the appeal of the people, animals, and beaches of Praia Proveta. In addition to a brief glossary, appended notes provide additional information about Seu Joao and Dindim, facts about penguins and threats to their survival, and steps that readers can take to help protect threatened species.


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