Noodles & Albie Waddles On

Eric and Liz on WHMP morning show talking about Noodles & Albie

Eric and Liz on WHMP morning show talking about Noodles & Albie

Noodles & Albie is the little penguin book that could. Two weeks ago we were featured in the Springfield Republican . This week Liz and I have been interviewed by Bob Flaherty on WHMP the major radio station serving the Northampton / Amherst area, and this morning Noodles & Albie was written up in the Hampshire Gazette, as we begin our series of readings and penguin events this Sunday at 2 pm the White Square Book Shop and on Friday at 2pm at the Odyssey Bookstore in South Hadley Mass.

Below is the article from today’s Gazette.

Whoever heard of a penguin that can’t swim? Well, Noodles, a nervous young penguin who’s a key character in a new children’s book, has just that problem. Noodles, unlike his peers, has yet to dip his flippers into the icy waters off Antarctica, and his parents warn him that if he doesn’t learn how to swim, he’ll be left behind in the spring when the whole colony puts to sea.

In “Noodles & Albie,” published by Small Batch Books of Amherst, Noodles does make it into the water, discovering to his delight that swimming is a blast and that the undersea world is a fascinating place — so fascinating, in fact, that he soon becomes lost. He asks a host of creatures — an eel, a squid, a crab, a starfish — if they know the way to the penguin colony, but none of them can help him.

But then a small red fish, Albie, comes to the rescue, guiding Noodles back to his home, the two of them racing through the last stretch of ocean as they try to outrun a ferocious leopard seal that’s intent on turning Noodles into dinner. Noodles is happily reunited on the snow-covered shore with his mother and father. But will he ever see his new friend again?

The story of how “Noodles & Albie” came to be is an interesting one in its own right. Author Eric Bennett, who lives in Northampton, runs an online business selling all manner of penguin-related merchandise, and he’d long told his two young daughters a version of the tale as a bedtime story. Eventually he put some of it down on paper, with a few illustrations to boot, and he says the tale got an enthusiastic reception when he read it last year at his daughter’s kindergarten class at the Bridge Street Elementary School.

When parents and children began asking for printed copies of the story, Bennett talked with his friend Liz Bannish, a Northampton artist, and the two decided to make a children’s book — a first for both of them. Bannish, who has some background in marine biology, has created a wealth of colorful watercolor and ink illustrations for the book, which the New York Daily News calls “A sweet, fun story of penguins and friendship.”

Eric Bennett and Liz Bannish will read “Noodles & Albie” on Aug. 17 at 2 p.m. at White Square Books in Easthampton and on Aug. 22 at 2 p.m. at the Odyssey Bookshop in South Hadley; events specially geared for children will be featured.
Bennett Front Cover

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