Saturday, June 30, 2007

365 Penguins

I popped into Barnes & Noble Thursday night while running some errands after work. As usual, I was wanting to see what was new in the children's book department. I had hoped to find some patriotic Independence Day books. Sadly, there was not a single one - unlike holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter and even Saint Patrick's Day, there was no display table full of books, or even a small selection of books, celebrating our nation's independence from England 231 years ago. I did make a purchase, but I also found a book I decided I would NEVER stock in my classroom library or ever share with my future students.

The oldest of my younger sisters has a thing for penguins. So, when I see a book with penguins, I'll check it out. Some of those books are on my "want" list, some have already made to the "have" list (several of the Tacky the Penguin books), but some are on the "never in a million years" list (picture books such as the gay penguin story And Tango Makes Three and the gay prince story King and King). The lastest addition to the later is 365 Penguins by Jean-Luc Fromental and Joelle Jolivet, which is recommended for children ages 5 to 8.

The story is of a family who, on New Year's Day, has a penguin delivered to their door. A week later, they have 7 penguins, at the end of the month, they have 31. Cleverly integrated into the story are math problems, as the family tries to figure out what to do with all the new residents, a new one arriving each new day. At any rate, they end up with 365 penguins on New Year's Eve. Then, Uncle Victor, some sort of explorer or some such, arrives and explains that he has been sending the penguins from the South Pole, because their habitat is being destroyed...

Needless to say, I refuse to indoctrinate children into believing that global warming is caused by humans. The science just can't say that - there is too much we don't know, and much we don't know that we don't know, and climate modeling just can't account for every factor that influences what happens to the climate.

If this book had been written with a different ending, I might have considered buying it (it's always nice to tuck an extra math lesson in here or there), but I just can't let my students be subtly indoctrinated into believing junk science.


Liz said...

I love this book. I ran across it in the pst and fell in love with it. I went back yesterday and bought it. Not once does the book blame humans for global warming. It simply reads:

"As you know, the planet is heating up. The ice caps are melting. Year after year, these lovely birds of the South Pole see their territory get smaller and smaller."

It's not saying it is getting smaller and smaller because of humans. It is getting smaller because of global warming in general melting away their territory.

This book is a great way to introduce new vocabulary, math, social studies, and science to young students.

Miss Ladybug said...

No, it doesn't explicitly come out and say "Humans are causing global warming". But, anyone who openly disagrees with anthropogenic global warming is labeled a denier who doesn't care if the planet is destroyed. Pretty much everything put in the hands of students these days tells them that humans are the cause, even when the science isn't definitive.

The Religion of Man-made Global Warming demands adherence to the doctrine and anyone who disagrees is apostate. Never mind that there is much we don't know about how the climate works. Until I start seeing balanced information for students and the general public about climate change (you know, there seems to be a stronger correlation between solar activity and earth's temperature than any supposed correlation to carbon dioxide levels...), I'm not going to present my students with something that is, IMO, questionable.

So, I have decided that I won't spend my money on this book or place it in classroom of mine. You think the book is great - that is your choice. I write about children's books from my perspective. People can read my posts and make their own judgements.