Emperor penguins have a royal name, but not much of a royal lifestyle. They live in a neighborhood (Antarctica) where temperatures can drop to eighty degrees below zero, with terrible winds.  Zootles Penguinsfeatures the story of a dedicated father penguin determined to hatch and care for his young offspring, Chick, no matter what it costs him.

It costs him quite a bit! Emperor Dad has to balance the egg on his feet, protecting it with his brood pouch, for nine long weeks. During that time, he does not eat or drink, and he spends most of his time huddling with other Emperor dads, rotating their huddle so each penguin spends some time either warm in the middle of the huddle, or chilly on the outside edges.

Finally Chick hatches, and Emperor Dad manages to throw up just enough nourishment for him to keep Chick alive. Still later, Emperor Mom reappears, after hunting for months at sea, and takes over Chick’s care so Dad can go off to sea and hunt for himself. By this time he’s lost almost half his body weight. But Emperor Mom is well prepared, now, to make sure Chick gets all the nourishment he needs, and all goes well for Chick.

The story is a great reminder of how families work together to take care of each other–let us know if it inspires any acts of kindness at your house!