Although this book is a factual account of a year in the life of a yellow-eyed penguin, it is written in a flowing lyrical style. This makes it enjoyable to read and allows the life of a yellow-eyed penguin to be more accessible to a young reader. Metaphors, similes, alliteration and onomatopoeia abound, e.g. “Smaller softer feathers the colour of lemons wrap around his entire head like a fashionable hat.” The description of his activities in human terms will also make it easier for the reader to relate to his life, e.g. “Golden Eyes continues his housekeeping until the muddy brown track running through the long grass is tidy.” This anthropomorphism of Golden Eyes doesn’t distract from the celebration of him as a natural creature and many useful facts are provided in the text.
The high quality photographs support the text beautifully; some are whimsical and humorous, others very detailed. There is a section at the back with maps of breeding grounds and places where people can view the penguins without interfering in their lives. This is followed by a glossary which explains words that readers may not know. I was pleased to learn something new - the reason why Māori named yellow eyed penguins “hoiho” is because they are loud and hoiho means “noise shouter”. This book will be of great value in any educational setting as well as for reading at home.
Title: Golden Eyes: The Yellow-eyed Penguin/Hoiho
Author and Photographer: Kelly Lynch
Publisher: Bateman Books
Date of Publication: 2020
Age Range: Preschool and Primary
Advisory warnings: No
Reviewer: Carola Crawford, English teacher, Karanga Mai Young Parents’ College
How are you recommending this book? Highly Recommended
Opening sentence: On the rocky coast at the bottom of New Zealand, the wind roars and the waves crash.
You can buy this book here