I love Penguin and Pinecone by Salina Yoon for language lessons because of its simplicity in storyline and illustrations which leaves a lot to talk about that is implied. Penguin discovers “something curious,” a little pine cone in the snow. He couldn’t figure out what it was but felt that it was cold so got busy knitting a little scarf, just like his, for his new friend. He went sledding, swimming and played catch with Pinecone but got no reaction. Wise Grandpa recognized that Pinecone belongs in the forest, not on the cold ice. Penguin packed his sled, braved the cold and arrived at the forest. After making a cozy nest of pine needles, Penguin placed Pinecone in the hot forest and returned home. He couldn’t stop thinking about how his friend was faring. Penguin returned to the forest to a grand surprise, a stately pine tree with a familiar orange scarf wrapped around it! So many clever details provide added commentary to the story. Kids have actually seen things that I haven’t. I’ve used this book to talk about comparisons, describe the tender illustrations, predict what will happen to Pinecone and compare the circumstances around the initial little pinecone with the tall pine tree standing at the end of the story. Language lessons on friendship invite discussion about what we would do for and with a friend, linking the book to life experiences.
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