I Am Not a Penguin: A Pangolin’s Lament

I Am Not a Penguin cover
I Am Not a Penguin: A Pangolin’s Lament by Liz Wong

By Liz Wong
Alfred A. Knopf, 2021
36 pages

Ages 4-7

An enthusiastic pangolin is eager to share information about its species but faces challenges right from the start of its “Meet the Pangolin” presentation. “Did somebody say penguins?” asks a pig in attendance.  “I love penguins,” adds a giraffe.  A pangolin has a long tongue. “Like a frog!” notes the frog. “Or an anteater!” adds the anteater. The pig is now very confused. As the pangolin continues, other animals interrupt to suggest, among other things, that a pangolin is a bear (because of its long, sharp claws), a skunk (because it sprays stinky liquid when threatened), and an armadillo (because it curls up in a ball to protect itself). The pangolin is already at wit’s end when a sunglasses-wearing, surfboard-toting penguin saunters by. “Surf’s Up!” The excited audience heads off in pursuit. The dejected pangolin adds a sign to its presentation board: “Canceled due to Penguin.” It turns out one audience member didn’t leave, however; a young girl genuinely interested in hearing about pangolins. A hilarious, ironic twist provides the perfect conclusion to a delightfully chaotic and informative story that offers additional facts about pangolins at volume’s end. Gouache illustrations show the friendly, slightly comic cast of animals, and one realistic brown-skinned, black-haired girl, against uncluttered white backgrounds. ©2021 Cooperative Children’s Book Center