• NZ Booklovers

Where the Heart Is by Irma Gold and Susannah Crispe

Your heart will melt when you meet Dindim, a little penguin lost in the waves who ends up on the coast of Brazil. Dindim is very sick and covered in oil. Luckily for him, he finds his way to Joao, an old man who nurses him back to health and feeds him sardine sandwiches. Soon, they become the best of friends. Joao becomes attached and doesn’t want to say goodbye to this little penguin as he gets better – only to find, that Dindim doesn’t want to say goodbye either! And when Dindim reunites with his penguin family in Patagonia, he will make an epic journey back to his friend across the sea…

This sweet children’s picture book is based on a real-life story about Dindim the Magellanic penguin that began in 2011. Every year, Dindim travels 8000 kilometres from Patagonia through the dangerous ocean to be with his friend Joao, something that scientists say is unprecedented.

Children will find much to love about this book, not only in the story. This is a lovely hardback book (which makes for easy bedtime reading) replete with colourful illustrations. A page at the beginning of the book with a note about the real life Dindim and a colourful map of South America with the penguin’s yearly journey marked out is a nice touch that will allow young readers to engage more in the story.

Irma Golde has won awards for her writing. Her other children’s books include Megumi and the Bear and Seree’s Story, which encourage children to engage with the lives of young animals, both bears and elephants, so Where the Heart Is and its penguin protagonist is an appropriate addition.

Illustrator Susannah Crispe has studied Art History as well as Zoology and Wildlife Ecology, making this book a perfect collaboration.

Reviewer: Susannah Whaley

EK Books, RRP 24.99