Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Review: Where the Heart Is by Irma Gold

 Palm trees and penguins? Today's review hits cool thoughts under the hot summer sun. But then, penguins are always sweet no matter what time of year it is. This book packs heart, a few, tiny facts about penguins, and the meaning of home and family. And more amazingly, it's based on a true story.

I'm ready for some cooling thoughts on these hot days, so off we go!

by Irma Gold
Illustrated by Susannah Crispe
EK Books
Picture Book
32 pages
ages 4 to 8

In 2011, Dindim the Magellanic penguin, washed up on an island beach near Rio de Janeiro. He was rescued by a man called Joao, who nursed him back to health, and created a lifelong bond. Since then, Dindim has spent most of every year with Joao, leaving only to travel 8000 miles to the Patagonia coasts of Argentina and Chile. Where the Heart Is was inspired by this extraordinary true story.

With beautiful prose and stunning illustrations, Dindim’s story will capture the hearts of young readers and adults alike. His journey across the ocean highlights both the little penguin’s intrepid nature and the variety of wildlife he meets along the way. From whales to albatross, children will discover the kaleidoscope of life that exists in the ocean.

Where the Heart Is also offers a window into discussing big issues with young readers, such as the oil spill that almost killed Dindim, and the effects of climate change on animal habitats. Magellanic penguins are a near threatened species, and it is vitally important to increase our awareness of the dangers faced by these beautiful birds.

Poignant, moving, funny and heartfelt, Dindim and Joao’s story is a celebration of friendship and nature. It explores the deep bond that can form between humans and animals, and encourages children to think more about the incredible animals who share our world.



Family and home are at the heart of this touching tale, which is inspired from a true story.

Dindim, a small penguin, was found washed up on an island beach near Rio de Janeiro by a man, who nursed him to health. After a time, the man released Dindim back into the ocean, and the little penguin...with some adventure...makes it back to its waddle. Dindim doesn't forget the man, though, and travels back to meet him.

This is a lovely story, and that it's inspired by a true life occurrence, makes it amazing. The story is told in a well flowing way, just right as a read aloud. The vocabulary is well set for the intended age group, and listeners will have no trouble following Dindim's adventures. It's hard not to like the small penguin and warmth engulfs the heart with every turn of the page.

But it's not only a wonderful tale...and this would have been enough. Dindim meets several sea creatures along the way, offering listeners a glimpse at some of the sea life. The illustrations bring each scene to life and carry enough details to make each creature identifiable The book also addresses some of the issues facing penguin's survival (oil spills, etc), but none of these every take more than a small space on Dindim's journey. It's the penguin and the touching bond with the man, which stay as the main theme.

If there was anything missing, it was a bit more information at the end. This book ends with the tale, which is wonderful, but a little more information and facts concerning the creatures, the issues, and even the penguins would have really been nice, since this book is definitely an opener for several discussion topics.

It's definitely worth a read and works not only well for groups but is even one for homeschoolers and penguin lovers, in general.

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