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Adelie penguins, Antarctica. Photographed by LSD

Penguin: a season in the life of an Adélie penguin

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PEN (NZ) Best First Book Award for Nonfiction
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This tells a story of Antarctica as seen through the eyes of an Adelie Penguin.

As a book intended for an adult readership, it is unusual because of LSD's use of an animal narrator to tell the story from its point of view. While such a perspective is a device often used in children's books, it is seldom used in books for a mature audience – in part, at least, because of the difficulty of making such a device convincing. And, while such an approach has sometimes been executed well in novels like Watership Down, it is even rarer for it to be attempted and pulled off successfully with a nonfiction book.

Published by Pavilion in the UK and Harcourt Brace in the USA, the book is also distinguished by the accompanying photographs: all taken by the author.

Reviews


…not only striking but even audacious…Davis has risked sentimental failure and even derision…by letting a penguin tell the story himself…Davis imbues his dramatic device with total conviction so that his reader accepts the conceit as audiences accept the impossibilities of well-performed opera or ballet.
The Globe and Mail (Toronto)

The spirit and soul of Penguin is entwined with the factual information in this first-person account so that it is rather like reading a novel or an autobiography
American Bookseller “Pick of the Lists”

The lyrical text tells an emotional tale without sacrificing accuracy. While there is an abundance of information included, the strength of this book lies in [Davis’] ability to make the whole greater than the sum of all the facts
School Library Journal

Even those allergic to animal narrators will be won over: far from cutesy-pie sentimentality…this is as informative as it is handsome
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