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Vernon the Penguin by Natashia Curtin

Title: Vernon the Penguin

Author: Natashia Curtin

Genre: Fiction

Publisher: Scholastic Australia

Published: February 2021

Format: Hardback

Pages: 32

Price: $17.99

Synopsis: 3+

  • ·  Funny, engaging, and adorable, with a twist
  • ·  Excellent for encouraging visual literacy
  • ·  From exciting new author/illustrator Natashia Curtin
  • ·  Themes include perseverance, chasing dreams, learning to love limits and creative problem solving

From the moment he hatched,

Vernon knew he wanted to fly.

Every night he dreams of riding the wild west wind, curling and twirling, swooshing and swirling …

When Vernon tries to make his dreams come true, he discovers that what you truly want,
and who you truly are, might just surprise you. Prepare for lift off . . . and laughter!

Vernon is a penguin with a dream and a mission, and he is determined to fly, no matter how often he fails or how many naysayers insist that “penguins can’t fly”. This hilarious and endearing tale introduces a new character to love, and is the debut from a very exciting new talent.


Vernon is a penguin with big dreams of flight. He longs to fly, and does everything he can to work out how to fly. His family and the other penguins keep telling him he can’t fly, he has to fish. But Vernon doesn’t want to fish – he wants to be different! As he chases his dreams, and pushes beyond the limits, Vernon starts to learn that sometimes, there are limits to what you can do, and sometimes the best thing to do is to work with what you have.

This is a story about finding yourself, and finding out what your talents are, whilst persevering with what your dreams are. Vernon, like other children, must learn limits – what they can do at certain times, and what they can’t do. What they’re good at, and what they need to work at as well as learning to love what they can do and working out how to solve problems. As Vernon tries to find a way to fly, this shows children their potential to solve problems in a safe and creative way that speaks to all readers.

It won’t just be children who can relate to this, though it is a good tool to help them work out how to solve problems and love what they can do, but to also accept the surprises that life throws at you. Vernon is an adorable character, creating an accessible world for younger children, and even older children who might be after a safe and comforting story to let them know everything will eventually work out, even if it is in different ways than we expected or wanted.

Picture books like this are beautifully put together and magical, and evoke a sense of childlike innocence, and that mum can always be there to help with some comforting words of encouragement.

This is a delightful book that everyone can learn something from, and would be wonderful to read to children testing the waters of their talents and what they like, and to reassure them when things don’t work out, and to keep trying. An excellent read for all ages.

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