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Science Books and Films
"It is seldom that the scenic Antarctic peninsula and its specialized bird species are portrayed so clearly and inexpensively."
"Because the photographs are presented with great clarity, it seems as though the viewer is seeing actual birds in the Antarctic spring."
"All in all, this is an outstanding book that is sure to be reread many times. Readers would do well to look for the other books by this author-photographer."
August 1, 1993
"Good scientific detail... Crisp, appealing photos"
McMillan, Bruce. PENGUINS AT HOME: Gentoos of Antarctica
Photos by the author
Houghton Mifflin (32 pp.) $15.95 Sep. 1993
A close look at the Southern Gentoos, largest of the penguins on the Antarctic peninsula. Each page gives a color photo, a one-word heading, and a brief text detailing some aspect of the penguins' life - from arrival at the nesting area in the summer, when the temperature is a "scorchingly hot" 45 degrees, till the maturing chicks join their parents in the icy waters off the bottom of the world. Good scientific detail: the author describes how penguins flap their flippers to reduce overheating, how the glacial cliffs "look like they've been sprayed with pink paint" due to microscopic pink algae growing on penguin droppings, and how countershading keeps the penguins safe from predators. Crisp, appealing photos help tell the story. Map; brief biography, index. (Nonfiction. 5-12)
This copyrighted © review originally appeared in Kirkus Reviews and appears here with permission.
November 15, 1993
"This attractive photo-essay has been designed with admirable care and intelligence. Each page is devoted to a discrete aspect of Gentoo physiology or behavior and then organized to follow the mating cycle of the colony."
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School Library Journal
"This wonderful look at Penguins at Home will have wide appeal."
McMillan, Bruce. Penguins at Home: Gentoos of Antarctica. photos by author. 32p. map. bibliog. index. CIP. Houghton. 1993. Tr $15.95. ISBN 0-395-66560-4. LC 92-34769.
Gr 3-6 - Once again, McMillan successfully draws readers into the world of the creatures he studies. This time he explores the Southern Gentoos of the Antarctic Peninsula. He combines brief one to two-word headings like he utilized in Going on a Whale Watch (Scholastic, 1992) and detailed descriptions like those he employed in A Beach for the Birds (Houghton, 1993) with his trademark, high-quality photographs. The full-color shots are beautiful, but not glamorized or sensationalized. While Gentoos are examined within the context of the Brush-tail penguins to which they belong, this is essentially a book about the single species. A helpful synopsis of Brush-tail traits is appended. Information about physical characteristics, feeding, locomotion, and breeding practices are well covered. Parents are said to "protect their chicks with 'umbrellas' - their own warm, waterproof bodies." Hungry chicks peck at the doors of their "baby food 'cabinets' - their parents' bills." Later, "'they put on their new snowsuits' - grow their new waterproof feathers." While these cute terms minimize the wonder of nature and detract from the book's scientific credibility, it is still a highly accurate account. Aside from this minor flaw, this wonderful look at Penguins at Home will have wide appeal.- Lisa Wu Stowe, Great Neck Library, NY
This copyrighted © review originally appeared in School Library Journal and appears here with permission. www.slj.com
San Diego Union-Tribune
January 2, 1994
"A well-defined portrait of how penguins survive... Color photographs are exceptional."