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When you are set on writing every weekday, eventually, there comes the point where topics seem quite random.

Well, it's just the 10th day, and here I am thinking about penguins.

This morning, I was sitting in front of 15 5-year-old kids, reading two stories about penguins to them. To introduce the session, I brought along two figures of emperor penguins (the only ones I could find in the whole city; there are even lobster plush toys, but penguins, somehow, not. Which kid will be going, hey, I want a crustacean toy to cuddle with?!), two stones, and one red knit hat.

A confusing combination? Maybe. If you have no context.

POV: Me preparing for my reading session. In the middle Frank.

The first book was titled Frank's Red Hat, and it all starts with a penguin named Frank. Frank is an idea penguin. Some of his ideas are good, but most aren't. One day, he suddenly rocks a red knit hat. The other penguins are suspicious of it, and it doesn't help that in the first attempt to wear it, one of their friends, Neville (seems to be a name for Victims; see Harry Potter), is eaten by an Orca.

Needless to say, even though Frank tries other color hats, none of them land with his penguin friends. He puts his best effort into knitting the perfect hat.

To no avail. The penguins react with, "This hat will be our downfall." Frank's had it and yells that he'll never make hats again.

Only to be interrupted by a voice from behind, asking him, if he never makes any again, if they could have it.

Turns out, the seals loved his hats.

Frank finally discovers someone who appreciates his idea and finds the courage to bring color into this world of white snow and black rocks.

Of course, one could overanalyze the story but it's just a heartwarming tale of a penguin that is close to giving up, misunderstood by his peers, but then finds the crowd that appreciates his creativity.

We all need seals in our lives who are happy to wear our creations and excited to see what we can come up with, even if a lot of it is dumb.

That's the hat, and the penguins explained.

I brought along the stones because penguins love stones. They use stones to build nests and to find mates. Apparently, this goes so far that, at times, female penguins will pretend to fall for another male's overtures just to steal his stones. Quite clever, if you ask me.

Some penguins are life-long mates, while others find new partners each season. Reading this made me think of the Penguin in the Anime Polar Bear Cafe.

He's a wannabe comedian and artist but mostly just a little annoying to his friends. He constantly wants to tell them his dull jokes. A big part of his storyline is how he falls for the penguin lady in the bakery.

He goes every day to ask her out.

On the day of the date, he meets 7 ladies. Turns out he couldn't differentiate them and asked all 7.

That, of course, leads to a whole lot of funny happenings.

Go watch it if you haven't.

Will the penguin knowledge be useful for the rest of my life? Probably not.

But it also doesn't hurt. After all, at least I know what to bring as a gift if I ever meet a penguin now.

Same as I do for my geologist friends: a pretty stone.

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#kids books#penguins
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