The Adventures of Wally and Warren:
The Reluctant Penguin
Written and Illustrated by Lise Chase
Ages 2 - 8
Lise Chase has written and illustrated a picture book about values for preschool and primary grades. The Adventures of Wally and Warren: The Reluctant Penguin demonstrates that having a can-do spirit and positive attitude will trump the fear of trying something new. It is third in a series of three books about polar bear Warren and penguin pal Wally.
The story flows around easy-to-understand, two-sentence verse that children will enjoy and remember.
Wally and Warren were ready for bed.
“I think I can read this book,” Warren said.
The reader soon learns that Warren is the adventurous half of this team. Naysayer Wally lacks confidence. He doesn’t think Warren should do anything independently, like sound out new words, brush his teeth, or ride a swing. As I got into the characters, I laughed at their ‘polar’ opposite reactions.
The book is beautifully formatted in flowing, single-page illustrations, with rhyming verse tucked into the bottom of each sheet. Chase uses color pencils and enhances them with Photoshop to make her drawings come alive. Her warm, inviting illustrations are delightful and perfectly synch with the narrative to draw young readers even more into the story.
I am amazed at the level of detail Chase includes in her drawings. For instance, the characters’ bedroom bookshelf is detailed with eight uniquely colored and titled storybooks. There’s even a coffeemaker and fruit bowl on the kitchen counter, as a Penguin ancestor looks down from a portrait nailed to a cheery painted wall.
The Reluctant Penguin goes beyond entertaining to teach a valuable lesson: by observing Warren succeed and delight in each new undertaking, Wally learns that it’s okay to take risks. Chase posits Warren as a positive role model who demonstrates that tackling new challenges is an essential part of growing up. And Warren does so with admirable enthusiasm -- even better!
This is the third book in a series of five about Warren and Wally, and children will be eager to read them all. Being new to the set, it took me a moment to catch on to the characters. It would have been helpful if they were identified before I started reading, such as naming them as they peeked from the back cover. However, I began in the middle of the series and didn’t have the benefit of the tale’s backstory.
I recommend this charming picture book for children who are in preschool through second grade. Parents and educators will appreciate its valuable lesson about being independent and unafraid. And what fun it could be to set up a role play that features the characters facing age-appropriate developmental challenges. Young artists will love drawing the protagonists while budding writers might imagine ways to place Wally and Warren in new situations to see how this yin-and-yang duo play off each other.
I was provided with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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