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My Penguin Osbert
Elizabeth Cody Kimmel
Illustrated by H. B. Lewis
Picture Book
Ages 4 t0 6
Candlewick, 2004, 07631699-0
  The little boy has been very careful this year. In the past he wasn't specific enough when he told Santa what he wanted and he ended up getting something that wasn't quite what he had in mind. This year the boy makes sure that he describes what he wants in perfect detail. He even includes a picture to make sure that Santa knows that what he wants is a real, live, black and white, Antarctic penguin called Osbert.
  This time Santa gets it right and the boy has exactly what he wants. There is a small problem though. Of course the boy is delighted to have a pet penguin but he also has to accept a few penguin peculiarities that are not that easy to live with. For example when he would like to be eating chocolate chip waffles with heated syrup, his new pet wants cold creamed herring. Being a good pet owner and little boy agrees to have what Osbert wants. The boy also has to play outdoors long after he is feeling chilled to the bone and has to play in the bathtub long after the water has become icy and his fingers have shrivelled. Clearly sacrifices have to be made if you have a pet penguin.
  Soon enough the boy realizes that perhaps he asked for the wrong present after all. Perhaps a pet penguin is just not suited to living in a house with a little boy. Now the little boy has to make a very difficult decision.
  This funny and slightly bittersweet story brings to life the joy of having a wish come true but it also shows us that there is always another side to everything that we wish for - there are always downsides even when we get what we want. The little boy deals with the situation very well and we can be proud of his determination to do the right thing by Osbert and his understanding that he has perhaps bitten off more than he can chew. Best of all, the little boy asks for help when he finds himself in trouble - and he asks the best person possible too!

My penguin Osbert


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