Title: Waddley Sees the World (Upside Down Under: The Adventure Begins) | Author: Julie Davis Canter | Illustrator: Anca Delia Budeanu | Publication Date: January 2, 2014 | Publisher: Red Sky Presents | Pages: 46 | Recommended Ages: 4 to 10 | Reviewed by: Renee and Dominic (Mother and Son)
Summary: Waddley, a Macaroni penguin who lives in Antarctica, has always dreamed of seeing the world! He gets his chance when he meets Lexi and Sam, two young visitors traveling with their parents, and secretly follows them back onto their ship. Delighted to see him, they tell Waddley he’s come to the right place: the ship is on a round-the-world cruise and the next stop is Australia! His dream come true, Waddley cruises into Sydney Harbor as the sky blazes with Australia Day fireworks, plays the didgeridoo and races around the massive rock Aboriginal people call Uluru, swims with giant fish in the Great Barrier Reef, and finds himself upside down in a kangaroo’s pouch, as he — and readers — learn all about the country down under.
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1. What is the book about? This book is about a penguin named Waddley who wants to travel to different places in the world. One day, he goes on a cruise ship that goes to Australia. He sees kangaroos, koalas, camels, fish, and lots of other things.
2. What do you think of the book cover and the images inside the book? I really liked all the pictures. My favorite pictures are the page where Waddley is swimming with the fish because it’s pretty; the one where he is at Kangaroo Island with the koalas and the kangaroos; and, the one with all the fireworks in the night and the opera house in Sydney because it reminded me of being there and the fireworks are pretty.
3. Was there anything that you didn’t like or that didn’t make sense? I thought that the long instrument was called a didgeridoo but in the book, it was called a yidaki. I don’t know why.
4. Did you think the book was too long? I didn’t think the book was too long – I liked it.
5. What are some of the things you learned from the book? I learned that in Australia there are camels and I learned about the giant rock called Uluru that is taller than a 100 story building and is 5 miles around.
6. Overall, what did you think about the book? I really liked the book because I liked the pictures and the cover and I learned things I didn’t know before. The best part was that the book was all about Australia.
7. Who do you think would like this book? I think kids under the age of 11 would like this book, because my sister liked it too.
Son Rating: ★★★★★
My Thoughts: Most people visit Antarctica to see the penguins (and more!), but Waddley the penguin has been dreaming of leaving his home and seeing the world. Waddley finally gets his chance when he sneaks aboard a cruise ship that is circumnavigating the globe. The first stop is Australia (yes!) and Waddley is our tour guide as the reader begins a journey by viewing the beautiful skyline of Sydney with the opera house in the foreground. Waddley then visits Kangaroo Island where kangaroos, koalas, emus, and other animals indigenous to Australia are scattered as far as the eye can see.
Next up is Western Australia near Perth and further up the coast, where we learn that there are camels who take visitors on safaris along the Indian Ocean. We are then transported to one the most famous and beautiful landmarks in Australia – Uluru – located in the middle of the country where we are educated about the Aboriginal people of Australia. The final stop on our whirlwind tour of Australia is one of the seven natural wonders of the world – the Great Barrier Reef – which we learn is home to 1,500 species of fish. Phew!
Included in the back of the book is a two-page spread of Waddley’s journey highlighting a few of the places, people, and things he saw as well as a map showing the geographical locations of the places he visited in Australia. I liked the inclusion of these two elements as key learning points that parents or teachers may want to pursue for further study (e.g., a child may want to learn more about the Great Barrier Reef). Also worthy of mention with regards to the educational value of the book is the little introduction to the different species of penguins and the one line that is repeated in five different languages: “Look at the penguins!”; “Regardez les pingouins!” “Vea los pingüinos!” and two more that use non-Arabic letters. There is a lot of educational material packed into this picture book!
The illustrations in this book are absolutely fantastic. They are bright and colorful and are filled with detail. This is especially the case for the illustrations of Waddley in Australia. Each place that Waddley visits has a brief description and a detailed illustration of what can be found at that location. Here is the two-page spread for Kangaroo Island. Fabulous!
I do have to comment on the length of the book. This book is 46 pages long which is quite lengthy for a picture book. I felt that the beginning in particular could have been shortened. On the one hand, I can see that the author wanted to introduce Waddley and set up the series to explain how he began his travels; but, I would have preferred to just meet Waddley, have him jump onto the ship, and land in Australia to begin his adventure. Once he reaches Australia, I thoroughly settled into reading the story. Of course, I’m an impatient adult. If children love seeing the penguin and can keep their attention on the story, then more is always good! The length did not bother my son one little iota.
My Bottom Line: Waddley Sees the World introduces us to the title character, a Macaroni penguin, who jumps aboard a ship traveling around the world. This book is packed with information about the people, places, and things indigenous to Australia and of course my kids and I all loved it (being the huge fans of anything Australia that we are)! The little teaser at the end giving a clue as to the next destination was a great idea – always leave them wanting more. I highly recommend this educational, beautifully-illustrated picture book featuring an adorable penguin to children ages 4 to 10.
* This book was provided to me by the author free-of-charge in exchange for our honest reviews. All opinions expressed are our own. The author is participating in our Book Promotion services. *
About the Author: Julie Davis Canter
Julie Davis Canter is the author of the new book series, Waddley Sees the World, which follows the travels of a young penguin named Waddley, as he learns about geography and makes new friends around the world.
Julie’s first book, 365 Ways to Say Let’s Be Friends, was published when she was just 16. She has written over 50 books for readers of all ages, including 18 books for children: early learning board books, rhyming picture books, themed activity, sticker and coloring books, and Manga Style Adventures For Girls and Manga Style Adventures For Boys, the first American Manga coloring book comics.
Julie was born into a writing family. Her mother, Rochelle Larkin, started as a humor writer, then went on to write romance novels, children’s books, and music and film anthologies.
Julie lives in Connecticut with her husband, who is also a writer. They have two children, Alexandra, 24, and Sam, 20, who love books but have chosen decidedly different careers. Attentive readers will notice that Waddley’s friends, Lexi and Sam, share their names with Julie’s children!
* Giveaway *
Prize: There will be three winners who will each receive a print copy of Waddley Sees the World by Julie Davis Canter + an author-signed bookplate.
Contest ends: April 18, 11:59 pm, 2014
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Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. The winners will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winners will then have 72 hours to respond. If a winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the author, Julie Davis Canter and is hosted and managed by Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send and email to Renee(at)MotherDaughterBookReviews(dot)com.