The Plight of the Penguin
NZ Post New Zealand Children's Book of the Year Award
NZ Post New Zealand Children's Best Nonfiction Book Award
The New Zealand Children's Book of the Year for 2002, this is a book as notable for its colourful language as for its many colourful photographs. Aimed at teenagers and above, the book has been praised for the way Lloyd Spencer Davis makes science engaging and fun – sexy, even.
Each chapter begins with relevant lines from well known rock songs. There are cartoons. There are coloured boxes containing eclectic stories. This is not another boring science book.
ReviewsThis book is excellent, everything it should be: a scampering read, fast and funny; excellent natural history, observed first hand; and all underpinned by the deep ideas of modern biology
This book inspires learning, celebrates knowledge and celebrates the author’s wide-ranging, rich knowledge and love of his subject…it reads so well…you can open it at any page and hear the author’s wit and whimsy
Lloyd Spencer Davis – he’s not only a world authority on penguins, he’s also a dab hand with the pen. He’s funny and entertaining, scientific and informative all at once
Penguin: a season in the life of the Adélie Penguin
PEN (NZ) Best First Book Award for Nonfiction
This tells a story of Antarctica as seen through the eyes of an Adelie Penguin.
As a book intended for an adult readership, it is unusual because of Lloyd Spencer Davis’ use of an animal narrator to tell the story from its point of view. While such a perspective is a device often used in children's books, it is seldom used in books for a mature audience – in part, at least, because of the difficulty of making such a device convincing. And, while such an approach has sometimes been executed well in novels like Watership Down, it is even rarer for it to be attempted and pulled off successfully with a nonfiction book.
Published by Pavilion in the UK and Harcourt Brace in the USA, the book is also distinguished by the accompanying photographs: all taken by the author.
Reviews…not only striking but even audacious…Davis has risked sentimental failure and even derision…by letting a penguin tell the story himself…Davis imbues his dramatic device with total conviction so that his reader accepts the conceit as audiences accept the impossibilities of well-performed opera or ballet.
The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
American Bookseller “Pick of the Lists”
The lyrical text tells an emotional tale without sacrificing accuracy. While there is an abundance of information included, the strength of this book lies in [Davis’] ability to make the whole greater than the sum of all the facts
School Library Journal