All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: Penguins: The Ultimate Guide by Tui De Roy, Mark Jones & Julie Cornthwaite

on March 19, 2021

Penguins: The Ultimate Guide 
Tui De Roy, Mark Jones & Julie Cornthwaite
Princeton University Press
2014, 240p
Read from my local library

Blurb {from the publisher/}:

Penguins are perhaps the most beloved birds. On land, their behavior appears so humorous and expressive that we can be excused for attributing to them moods and foibles similar to our own.

Few realize how complex and mysterious their private lives truly are, as most of their existence takes place far from our prying eyes, hidden beneath the ocean waves. This stunningly illustrated book provides a unique look at these extraordinary creatures and the cutting-edge science that is helping us to better understand them.

Featuring more than 400 breathtaking photos, this is the ultimate guide to all 18 species of penguins, including those with retiring personalities or nocturnal habits that tend to be overlooked and rarely photographed.

A book that no bird enthusiast or armchair naturalist should do without, “Penguins” includes discussions of penguin conservation, informative species profiles, fascinating penguin facts, and tips on where to see penguins in the wild.

Okay so pretty early in March, around the 10th, I finished my March TBR that I’d set for myself that had the ARCs I’d received from publishers for that month. I have other books to read of course – I always have other books to read. When I got a notification from my library that a book I’d requested was in, I set aside some time to pick it up. Going to the local library is A Process, right now. For a start, the over 55s place next door is expanding and getting a park is almost impossible as all the builders park in the library carpark with big dual cabs, trucks, even the odd crane. Also you have to sign in with an employee, use the check in app, sanitise, one in one out sort of process but the reduced numbers means it’s much easier to wander the shelves. I usually don’t “browse” when I go to the library. I go, pick up my holds, leave. But I need some non-fiction books to get my 2021 Read Non Fiction Challenge underway so I browsed the shelves for a while. The first book I saw, was this one.

I love penguins – particularly the little penguin (Eudyptula minor) which is native to southern Australia and New Zealand. They’re my favourite animal – I can spend hours watching them at the zoo and since COVID hit, the Melbourne Zoo have been streaming the little penguin enclosure live, which we love. I’ve also been to see them at Phillip Island, south of Melbourne and loved that. I’m planning a trip to New Zealand next year (hopefully) for a milestone birthday and quite a few things I want to do, revolve around seeing little penguins.

But I’m an equal opportunity penguin fan. I like all types of penguins. I’ve watched a few documentaries but I’ve never actually read a book on them, for all that I like them. So it felt like a good opportunity to learn a bit more, because there are species I know nothing about. And this book is so stunning, one of the authors travelled to some of the most remote places on earth (because for the most part, that’s where a majority of penguin species make their homes) and took the most amazing photos. Places like Antarctica, New Zealand, Africa, South America and remote islands off the coast of those places. Many species were hunted to near extinction in the past and these days a lot of protections are in place. The species’ range in numbers from ‘least concern’ to severely endangered. The Galapagos penguin and Yellow-Eyed penguin (which is native to NZ) have estimations of in the low 1000s left in the wild.

This book is split into three sections, each curated by one of the three authors. The first section is devoted to showcasing all 18 species in their natural habitats and has loads of amazing photographs and a description of what it was like travelling there and seeing them in those places. Some of the Antarctic ones in particular, are stunning (I’m already pretty partial to the Antarctic landscape anyway). The second section is essays sort of, on conservation and science, stuff like how they track penguins at sea, how they store food, their colours and variations, as well as the uncertain future that several of the species’ have. The final section is penguin history, facts, range, population status and then a profile on each type. There’s a little bit at the end which tells you where you can see them in the wild as well and then some suggestions of further reading.

I borrowed this for myself, but also to flick through with my younger son, who shares my love of penguins but often gets distressed in nature documentaries when they show one getting nabbed by an orca, or one of the species that has to hurtle themselves out of the ocean and up sheer cliff-faces to their nests (spoiler alert: not all of them are successful). He really enjoyed looking through this as well and learning a bit about the penguins that are lesser-known.

There’s no doubt that you wouldn’t probably pick this up unless you love penguins, although to be honest, the first section’s photos are worth it for even a casual reader. But if you like penguins, like I do, there’s loads of information and speculation as well as the photos to pore over.

Protect the penguins at all costs ❤


Book #40 of 2021

One response to “Review: Penguins: The Ultimate Guide by Tui De Roy, Mark Jones & Julie Cornthwaite

  1. Sue says:

    I’m on your son’s side regarding penguins & documentary screenings on tv. Just can’t watch nature being so cruel so this book sounds a wonderful alternative to borrow from the library. Love penguins, so cute & awkward but streamline beneath the sea. Thanks for sharing.

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