Posts Tagged ‘Penguin Books’

Noodles & Albie For The Holidays

December 5, 2014

If you’re thinking of a perfectly wonderful gift for a child this holiday season, Noodles & Albie certainly fits the bill. As a rookery of wonderful reviews, testimonials, awards and fans of all ages will testify, and as if you needed more here’s a recent testimonial from respected educator Erica Sanders.

“As a teacher, I think Noodles & Albie is incredible! Set under the sea, this tale about friendship is great to read with a classroom full of children. There are plenty of characters (all different species of underwater animals), so it is easy to keep a lot of kid’s attention with the use of different voices. There aren’t any scenes that are truly scary, and there are several lessons to be learned, such as bravery, learning, trust, and friendship. There are so many activities to do with children that go along with/expand upon the story. I was able to write a lesson plan that fully encompassed all eight different intelligences, and all four different types of learners. BUY THIS BOOK! Give it to friends, family, or teachers! Everyone is sure to love it!”


Noodles & Albie Gets Rave Review in Goodreads

November 18, 2014

This morning Noodles & Albie received a wonderful, 5 star review in and Bookwormforkids from Tronja Drecker.  We couldn’t be prouder.

Here’s a copy of the review:

Penguins are so cute! And Noodles definitely hits the top of the adorable scale. This small penguin embarks on his first big swim to the sea and ends up with more than he bargained for. With gorgeous, colorful illustrations, we accompany Noodles as he explores the undersea world. Young readers and listeners are introduced to the amazing life in the Southern Ocean in a simple and fun way, one which will stimulate interaction between the parent/grandparent/or whoever is reading and the child.

Although I find the text a bit difficult for the youngest readers, slightly older ones will love it (about 2+), and it’s great for early readers as well.

Summed up, this is a lovely book which will spark kid’s curiosity about life under the sea. I can only recommend it and see kids begging for a fish tank so they can watch some of these amazing creatures themselves.

Bennett Front Cover

Noodles & Albie Debut Reading and Penguin Party

August 29, 2014

To say our Noodles & Albie launch party / event / reading / slideshow at the White Square Bookshop was a success last week is like saying penguins are cute.  It was and they are, but it was so much more.  This being our first book and our first book public event made it unforgettable.  On the way to the White Square to set up that Sunday morning my daughter Sophie tried to keep me even keeled by saying, “Ya know dad, don’t get all bent out of shape if only five people show up”.  She had noticed that I had packed our little car with 30 of everything.  30 penguin goodie bags, enough penguin cheese crackers and peachy penguin gummies for a school outing,  a nice size box penguin prizes for the various contests we were to run, 30 plush penguins to give out with the books, and a case of 30 Noodles & Albie books.  


I pondered what to wear and at first I wore a dress shirt with a penguin tie, jeans and sneakers trying to channel that unique hipster-doofus children’s author persona, but both my kids immediately vetoed it, and unanimously encouraged me to don a new Chilly Willy t-shirt and baseball hat.  I wisely followed their sage advice.  So with my little VW Beetle packed to the gills with boxes of penguins and two kids we set off and of course we arrived absurdly early.  I put Sophie and Rose to work making 30 snack cups of penguin crackers and gummies.  We then set out baskets of the penguin goodie bags, the fun multiple choice penguin quiz  sheets I made up,  Eileen, the owner of White Square, made a cooler of blue colored Penguin Polar Punch with marshmallows floating on the top to simulate mini icebergs (very clever Eileen).  Sophie wrote up some signage, “Penguin Goodie Bags, One Per Kid”, and  “Take Our Penguin Quiz: Win Prizes”.  We were done in 20 minutes, and so to keep my kids from destroying the bookstore with an hour to go before the reading we waddled down the road to Mt. Tom’s Ice Cream Parlor.  Every once in while I’d walk over to White Square to see if anyone had shown up, and soon a couple of friends, then a fan showed up, then Liz and her family entourage.  This was the first time I got to meet her extended clan so that was a treat.  While we were all chatting I turned around to find that the room was filling up and there was a line at the counter. Eileen was even selling books!  People who we did not know were asking Liz and I to sign the books they had just purchased!  By the time the reading was set to begin the place was packed.  I made an announcement that kids should sit upfront on the floor and adults in the back.  I climbed onto a stool with copy of Noodles & Albie in hand with Liz sitting to my left in charge of the slideshow manning the projector.  As Eileen introduced us I looked up and I could not believe how many people were there, kids and adults, friends, family and fans who had come from near and far.  I made a little speech about how the book came to be, introduced Liz, and began to read.  “After six long months of daylight, the sun was finally beginning to set on the Antarctic summer, and Noodles had not gone on his first swim…”


When the reading was over, there was applause and congratulations. Kind of embarrassed I immediately launched into my penguin quiz, while Liz held a “how to draw a penguin class with the kids” that was a hit.  Sophie the quiz master checked answers and gave out penguin prizes according to how many correct answers each kid got.  Then more schmoozing and signing of books.  Finally, we held our kids best waddle competition, in which Liz’s mom Nancy must get honorable mention although it was more like a prancing pup than a penguin waddle.  All told there were probably 50  people in attendance.  Liz and I sold and signed 26 books.  The event was suppose to be from 2 pm to 3 pm.  I got home a 4:30 bringing a lot less penguins up the stairs than I took down the stairs earlier that day.


On the way home Sophie said, “Dad, I knew it was going to be o.k., but I said not to get your hopes up just in case, ya know? Because I didn’t want you to get your expectations too high and have your feelings hurt.”  “And now?”  I asked.  “You and Liz kicked butt!” she said.

Noodles and Albie – The Long And Waddling Road

July 1, 2014

It’s been 16 months since we began this journey to create a penguin picture book adventure about a sweet penguin named Noodles and his feisty friend Albie, but the Penguin Post is happy to report that at long last Noodles & Albie is finally, really, truly here.   From the early reviews and receptions at readings, it was worth the wait.   Small Batch Press did a wonderful  job designing the book out with an original esthetic and yet at the same time with a timeless, classic, feel, and Liz Bannish’s fourteen glorious water color illustrations shine throughout. noodlesandalbiefrontcover

The story behind Noodles & Albie evolved over many years. It was initially conceived by Penguin Gift Shop founder and long time penguin lover Eric Bennett as a bedtime story for his young daughters, Sophie and Rose.  The tale was originally called The Fish & The Penguin, or the Fishy Penguin Story, and was mostly told and re-told from Eric’s memory and imagination.  The title and plot was ever changing depending on who the story was being read to and how much time Eric had to devote to the telling.

A couple of years back for a fun winter project with his daughter Sophie the story was finally put down on paper.


Then in January 2013 Eric was “volunteered” by his youngest daughter Rose to read a story to her kindergarten class. Rather than read something from their bookshelf, Eric decided to at long last put The Fish & The Penguin to paper for real and read his time tested penguin adventure to Rose’s class.  But, this time he decided to name main characters, Noodles & Albie.  Noodles (Eric’s nickname since he was a kid) & Albie (the nickname of his friend Melissa) was finally settled on so as not to upset either Sophie or Rose, as well as to give the characters a bit more personality than the generic “Fish & Penguin”.  Besides, it seemed from the start that the names Noodles & Albie fit the story perfectly.  The reading to Ms. Bussone’s kindergarten class that cold winter morning was met with much fanfare.  With an unprecedented standing ovation from a kindergarten class!


A small Noodles & Albie buzz was now in the air, with Eric getting requests for printed copies of the story from a few children and parents at Bridge St. School. It didn’t take much coaxing for Eric to do an additional reading for the schools other kindergarten and first grade classes, which were again very well received.  A short time later, the story was brought to the attention of his friend and local artist Liz Bannish.  She was so intrigued by the charming penguin tale and colorful characters that naturally Eric inquired if she would be interested in illustrating the story. To his surprise Liz said sure, and the two began to collaborate on bringing Noodles, Albie and their undersea world to life.

Over the following weeks Liz’s illustrations went from Eric’s black and white storyboard sketches to a series of beautifully detailed watercolor paintings, capturing the essence of the story with Liz’s unique take on the characters that inhabit it.


During this time Eric and Liz shopped for a publisher and after lots of wrangling and false starts Noodles and Albie finally found a home with Small Batch Books.  Being first time authors we decided to take our time the last couple of months to make sure everything turned out the way we wanted, and we’re happy to say we think it did.  We hope you do too.

So if you have kids, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, cousins, friends that have kids or if your kid is going to a birthday party.  We think Noodles & Albie is the perfect gift for you and that little penguin lover in all of us.


Penguin Books Penguin Logo

June 5, 2014

Last year’s merger of Penguin and Random House sparked speculation about what the new mega-publisher’s logo would look like. A penguin-shaped house? An igloo? Would the beloved bird be jettisoned altogether? The answer arrived yesterday: Both symbols will remain in Penguin Random House’s arsenal of imprints alongside a new, unassuming wordmark spelling out the company’s name.

That’s good news for fans of the penguin, whose image has graced affordable paperbacks for nearly 80 years. If you’ve ever wondered how it got there in the first place, here’s the skinny, courtesy of TM: The Untold Stories Behind 29 Classic Logos (Laurence King), a forthcoming book by Mark Sinclair:


Edward Young was 21 when he was dispatched to London Zoo by his employer, the publisher Bodley Head, with orders to make sketches of penguins. In 1935, managing director Allen Lane had hit upon the idea of producing a new range of affordable but good-quality paperback books, apparently inspired by the lack of reading material available while he was waiting on the platform at Exeter station. Lane had decided on the name Penguin Books at the suggestion of his secretary Joan Coles, and when he resigned from his job in order to launch the imprint proper he required a “dignified but flippant” symbol to go with his new venture. He asked Young to go to Regent’s Park and find the penguin pool.

According to designer and writer Phil Baines, Young returned from the zoo with his drawings and the observation “My God, how those birds stink!” But his perseverance paid off. When Lane finally brought his sixpence Penguins into the world (the company became independent of Bodley Head in 1936), they bore a symbol that would last until 1949, when it was refined and redrawn by Jan Tschichold into something that more closely resembles the logo in use today.


The fact that the symbol for Lane’s new publishing concept was a sea-going bird owed much to the contemporary publishing scene on the continent and, in particular, to the German reprint publishing house Albatross, which had been founded by Max Christian Wegner and John Holroyd Reece in Hamburg in 1932. With centered text set above an elegant graphic of an albatross with its wings outstretched, the unfussy covers were designed by Hans Mardersteig, art director of the Mondadori printers in Italy, whose owner had a seat on the Albatross board.

The format of the Albatross paperback adopted the ‘golden ratio’ and various distinctive colorways to indicate the various genres—both techniques that were later picked up by Lane—with yellow for psychological novels and essays, orange for short stories and humorous works, and red for adventure and crime stories. Writing about the German publishers in the 1953 Penrose Annual, Hans Schmoller, who was then head of design at Penguin, declared that ‘to this day it forms perhaps, from the point of view of design, the pinnacle among paper-covered books.’


But Schmoller had already inherited a body of design work that would set Penguin on its course as one of the world’s most influential publishers in terms of what it produced and how it looked. In 1946, Tschichold arrived at Penguin and during his time there cemented the positioning of the author’s name and title on the cover, cleaned up both spine and back cover layouts, and refined Young’s logo (of which there were now several variants), creating eight versions. All this was eventually enshrined in the designer’s ‘composition rules’, which attempted to give Penguin’s printers and typographers a unified approach.

“Tschichold drew the definitive penguin,” says Steve Hare, Penguin historian and secretary of the Penguin Collector Scoiety, “but even that had variations—specifically in looking left or right on the book; or inside an oval; whether the oval was white or orange, etc. My understanding is that the Penguin logo should look ‘into’ the book—i.e., at the title, rather than turning his back on it all. So if ranged right, he should look left, and vice-versa. But if ranged to the bottom of the cover, he doesn’t usually look up.” As Baines showed in his visual history of the company,Penguin by Penguin, the penguin device has gone through a host of slightly different iterations since then, and as a brand was joined along the way by other birds, most famously, the pelican and puffin.

World’s Oldest Penguin

May 27, 2014

 The Penguin Post has learned that The Pueblo Zoo in Colorado is home to a record-holding penguin!  Tess the penguin is currently the oldest living female African Penguin in the world. “She’s just extremely healthy. She’s got a little arthritis, and she certainly doesn’t go running around like the younger penguins you know, but she loves to swim!” Melanie Pococke, the Animal Service Coordinator and primary caretaker of the penguins at the Pueblo Zoo explained.  In the wild African penguins life expectancy is 10-15 years, but in aquarium’s or zoo’s (because of the lack of predators and in house health care) that figure is usually doubled.  But, Tess has them all beat and Ms. Pococke said it’s very possible Tess could even outlive the oldest male penguin’s record age of 42.

Tess the world's oldest lady penguin

Tess the world’s oldest lady penguin

Monday, the Pueblo Zoo celebrated this milestone birthday, giving a “cake” of frozen fish to the penguins in the enclosure.  “It’s a fish-cicle basically. And I made the fish tails stick out so it looks kind of like candles,” Pococke said. For the human visitors, a sweeter cake with icing designed as Tess’ habitat was served.”They’re so cute!,” Brooke Uhlman, a 5-year-old penguin lover said, as she watched the little birds waddle. 

“Her whole room has more penguins than you can imagine,” her mom, Denise said. “She has big penguins, small penguins, even a life-sized penguin. We have about six penguin books,” she explained. Needless to say, many of the kids, like Brooke, were excited to get to share in the birthday celebration. They were just glad they didn’t have to share the fishy ice-cake. Tess was originally brought to the Pueblo Zoo as a temporary solution for the trouble she was causing at the Denver Zoo in 1999. According to Pococke, Tess kept interfering with another pair the Zoo was trying to bond. “She is a boy magnet! She also tends to go for the younger males, she’s a bit of a cougar,” Pococke said, laughing. Tess’ longevity could be due to her vivacious spirit, and frequent flirting.  But, not to fear. Tess has now found true love with an penguin eight years her younger, named Mongo. Mongo and Tess have been together since 2006. According to the Zoo, she adores Mongo and, in turn, he is extremely attentive and dotes on her. They are proud to report she has not seriously flirted with other males since pairing up with Mongo.

It's never too late.  Tess and Mongo

It’s never too late. Tess and Mongo

Noodles and Albie (A Penguin Picture Book)

September 8, 2013

The soon to be released Noodles & Albie is a colorful and fun penguin picture book.  Story by Eric Bennett and illustrations by Liz Bannish.  It is the tale of how a young penguin (Noodles) overcomes his fears and makes, loses and finds again an unlikely new friend (Albie), and does a lot of growing up the process.

noodlespenguinNoodles & Albie was conceived and evolved over time by Penguin Place founder and long time lover of all things penguin Eric Bennett as a bedtime story for his young daughters.  The story was originally called The Fish & The Penguin, and was scribbled down a couple of times, and over time some  illustrations were made by Eric and his kids, but it was mostly told and re-told from memory and over the years with each re-telling the story grew and the characters evolved.

noodleswithparentsThis past January, Eric was “volunteered” by his youngest daughter Rose to read a story to her kindergarten class, so Eric decided rather than read something the kids already knew, he’d finally put The Fish & The Penguin story to paper and read his original penguin tale to Rose’s class.  In writing it down Eric fleshed out the main characters a bit more giving them the names Noodles and Albie, and added a few supporting underwater players.  The origin of the title names were that Noodles has been Eric’s nickname since he was a kid (think long curly ringlets of 1970’s hair), and Albie is the the nickname of Eric’s friend Melissa who he plays ball with.  Eric also decided on settling on those names so as not to upset either of his daughters, and also to give the characters a bit more personality than the generic Fish & Penguin.  Besides, it seemed from the get-go that the names Noodles & Albie fit the characters perfectly.

eelpicfinishedTo Eric’s surprise and delight the reading of Noodles and Albie to Ms. Bussone’s kindergarten class at Bridge St. School was met with much fanfare and acclaim, or as much acclaim (twenty 6 years old kids giving a standing ovation) as one can get from a kindergarten class.  Even Ms. Bussone wanted to know the origin of this “wonderful book”.   A small Noodles & Albie buzz was now in the air around the lower grades with Eric getting requests for print copies of the story from some of the children and parents at Bridge St. School.  A short time later Noodles & Albie was brought to the attention of local Northampton artist Elizabeth Bannish who was intrigued by the charming narrative and colorful characters of the story, so naturally Eric inquired if she would be interested in illustrating the story.  To his surprise Liz said yes, and the two began to collaborate on the fun side project of bringing the Noodles, Albie and their world to life.  Over the next weeks and months Liz’s illustrations went from black and white storyboard sketches, to beautiful, unique and vivid color paintings.  Capturing the essence of the story and her interesting take on the characters that inhabit it.

lizpaintsNot to give too much away but the story is about Noodles, a young penguin who is afraid to go in the water, but of course being a penguin he must learn how to swim,  especially before the winter and six months of Antarctic darkness sets in.

noodleswithparentsOn the last day of summer (and daylight), his parents finally convince Noodles to take the plunge.  After a few moments of confusion and anxiety Noodles realizes that swimming is easy and fun.  But, in his excitement Noodles gets separated from his friends and soon is lost.  He knows he has to get back home before the sun sets for the Antarctic (six months) winter or else he’ll never find his way home, and so his odyssey begins.  He asks various sea creatures for directions, but none of them know where the penguin colony is.  Alone and lost, Noodles is desolate.  A small fish named Albie hears his crying and offers to help. It’s a race against time to get back to the penguin colony before the sun sets.  The fun adventures and intrigue that happens to the pair along the way is what Noodles & Albie is all about.7Noodles & Albie should be available as an e-book and print version sometime in the Winter of 2014

Classic Penguin Coffee Table Books

November 20, 2010

Recently a couple of the all-time penguin coffee table books have found their way into our Penguin Place P-Bay Section and are now being offered to some lucky penguin lovers.  Simply put, these books are sublime in content, layout and images, and to top it off have been out of print for decades.  My personal favorite is the incredible 9″ x 12″ Franz Lanting book, simply titled Penguin.  The title Lanting choose is probably because he set out to make it the definitive high end penguin coffee table book ever produced.   The book is short on text, but long on stunning and glorious pictures by one of the worlds foremost nature photographers and penguin lovers.  Printed in Spain in the early 1990’s, and at 160 pages of heavy duty, glossy pages the book weighs in at a hefty five pounds.  We’re happy to report the copy we are in possession of is in wonderful condition, as it was obviously owned by someone who not only loved penguins but cherished this book.

Franz Lanting's wonderful book simply called Penguin

The other great title by Roger Tory Peterson is Penguins, and it’s a trip down penguin the penguin time machine.  Printed in 1979 using pictures that span Peterson’s wonderful career, it was in its time “the” definitive penguin book as Mr. Peterson, a self confessed penguin lover meant it to be. It has a real 70’s look and feel to it, which is part of its charm.   This book is also large size ( 9″ x 11 1/2″ ) and weighs in at 230 pages and about four pounds.  But,  unlike the aforementioned Lanting book, Penguins not only includes hundreds of wonderful pictures, but illustrations, text and tons of interesting penguin facts, stories and incites.

Roger Tory Peterson's 1979 Classic Penguins

This book is also heavy duty book and has been out of print for about 25 years.   Although the exterior jacket is a bit worn, after all it is 31 years old, the book and cover are in excellent shape.   Making Penguins or Penguin a great, rare catch for any penguin lover.

Lot’s of New Penguin Books Arriving This Week

February 13, 2010

We’re not ones to complain about having too many books, but we may have gone overboard at the recent NY Gift Show. This week alone we’ve received How Much Is a Million, How High Is The Sky, How Deep Is The Ocean, Penguins (Touchy Feely), Penguins (Level One), Penguins (Level Four), The Penguin (Animal Close-Up), and Sea World’s Baby Penguin (Board Book). That’s eight books in total with more on the way. I was always a sucker for books about penguins, but given that most of these books are redundant (they’re all kids books), and I’m trying to save money on the cost of shipping (books are heavy), I probably have over done it with my latest literary penguin additions. Oh well.