Penguin's Christmas Wish

Book review by
Regan McMahon, Common Sense Media
Penguin's Christmas Wish Book Poster Image
Penguin learns meaning of holiday in warm, snowy romp.

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The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Shows the effect of snow on trees in a forest. Shows how the sun can melt snow on trees. 

Positive Messages

As Grandpa says, "Christmas is not about decorations and presents. It's about being with the ones you love." You can make gifts out of things you find in nature, like drumsticks, knitting needles, and fishing rods out of sticks.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Penguin is kind and wants to help his friends and family have a lovely Christmas. Grandpa helps bring the kids and presents into the forest, decorate the tress, and catch fish for dinner. He also explains that Christmas isn't just about presents and decorations. 

Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Penguin's Christmas Wish is the sixth book in the popular Penguin series by author-illustrator Salina Yoon. Here, the loveable Penguin and his family go into the forest and decorate a Christmas tree, but when they wake up the next morning, they find a blizzard has dumped snow on all the trees and their decorations and presents appear to have vanished. How they make do and have a lovely Christmas anyway is a gentle story filled with the key message that Christmas isn't just about presents and decorations. And a fun, fresh twist guarantees that Penguin gets his wish to "share Christmas with the whole forest" after all.

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What's the story?

In PENGUIN'S CHRISTMAS WISH, Penguin's brother Pumpkin wishes they could celebrate the holiday with a "real Christmas tree." So Penguin leads him, his sister, Bootsy, and Grandpa into the forest with bring their presents and decorations. They trim a tree and then go to sleep. But when they wake up on Christmas, they discover a blizzard has covered all the trees with snow and their decorations and presents appear to be gone. Grandpa comforts Penguin and tells the kids Christmas isn't about decorations and presents, but about being with the ones you love. Penguin then makes gifts for his family out of sticks he finds in the forest, and they all have a great day. Then sun comes out, melting the snow to reveal the decorations still there underneath. And thanks to the blizzard, decorations were blown onto every tree. By nightfall, "the magic of Christmas lit up the forest," drawing friends old and new to join them. Penguin's Christmas wish -- "to share Christmas with the whole forest" -- had come true.

Is it any good?

This sweet holiday tale has the main character learning that Christmas isn't just about presents and decorations, with a fun twist of snow obscuring and then sun revealing the trimmings he's put up. Penguin is cute and kind and thoughtful, and really nice to his siblings. Author-illustrator Salina Yoon's art is adorable, accessible, and defined by thick black outlines. She brings warmth and color to the wintry white landscape and loads of holiday cheer. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Christmas. What does it mean in your family? Is it about more than presents and decorations? 

  • Have your ever given a Christmas gift that wasn't bought at a store? What you could find in nature to create a gift for your brother of sister or friend? 

  • Have you read other books starring Penguin? How does this one compare? What do you like about him?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love holidays

Themes & Topics

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