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Reviewed by Kristine Zimmerman for Readers' Favorite
Who does not love penguins? In Marybeth Wishart’s book, Parker the Purple Penguin, she has written a timely story about bullying. Parker enjoys all the things most penguins love; snow, sliding, water, and swimming but he does not look like all the other penguins. The other penguins, especially Billy, tease and taunt him and refuse to let him join in the penguin games. Parker is sad, confused, and lonely and ends up playing by himself. He finds ways to enjoy himself but wishes he could share things with some friends. One day Parker comes up with a plan to fit in. It involves a kindly old squid and some ink and for a short time, he is accepted. Then he must decide whether to keep fitting in or to do the right thing.
Kids love penguins and they will root for Parker the Purple Penguin. Marybeth Wishart has addressed bullying in a way that kids will understand. Parker is confused and sad but is also a very resilient penguin. Everyone can relate to trying to fit in so they can be included in the group. I loved that Parker had to make a decision that was not in his best interests but would help someone else. It is such an important message to impart to kids that they need to stay true to themselves even when it is hard to do! Marianella Aguirre’s illustrations are just lovely. Wishart has also included discussion questions at the end to expand on the themes in the story which parents and teachers will appreciate.