Penguin and Pinecone

by Salina Yoon

{published 2012, by Walker & Company, an imprint of Bloomsbury}

And! Penguin has a very cute blog!

I’ve been meaning to write about this book ever since I met Salina at an event in December. December!

2013 has been a time warp, but at least I’ve been surrounded by lots of great books.

I love that tiny Penguin and his dapper orange scarf Salina drew for me. (She’s just as adorable, too.) And this might be one of my favorite title pages of all time. The bed of pine needles, the heart…sweet, sweet foreshadowing.

Salina’s compositions are all striking, with a calming sense of space and subtle mood-building color palettes.


Remember the Rule of Thirds? Salina’s ground to sky ratio is a beautiful example of it. And I love that she chose the cool and crystal clear sky to be the dominant feature. It’s a wide open space, but Penguin still feels chilly and at home.

Every shivering pinecone needs an orange scarf right? Which is certainly a lovely thing to use as clothing for a penguin, but doesn’t it also magnify how freezing Penguin’s world is? It makes sense, but it also plunges the reader into that arctic blast.But since pinecones don’t live in the frigid air, Penguin sets off with his friend on a sled to return him home.And this spread. So pretty, and so sweet. There’s that bed of cozy needles from the title page, see? The contrast in worlds here is magnified by the color. Penguin’s home was cool and blue, and Pinecone’s neighborhood is warm with yellows, browns, and greens. Later, Penguin returns in search of his friend, and this left hand side of the most perfect spread is a mashup of their two worlds’ color. And I can’t show you the right. Cause, spoiler alert! But it’s spectacular and you just have to see for yourself. Trust me.

It’s easy to fall in love with Penguin and Pinecone, and since you probably already have, be on the lookout for two more of their adventures! Penguin on Vacation is coming in April, and Penguin in Love is coming before the end of the year. So dear, so perfect, so chilly.


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21 thoughts on “Penguin and Pinecone

  1. I <3 Salina Yoon! I think EVERYONE with kids has at least one of her books in their home. (I have several, I've lost count.) I have to get my hands on this one!

  2. Excellent post, Carter! Your breakdown of composition was an Aha! moment for this non-illustrative creative. In the pages you’ve shared with us, Salina does a magnificance job of showing the emotions tied into this friendship and fridgid temps of the artic! Look forward to reading this friendship story from cover-to-cover and Salina’s forthcoming Penguin books!!!

    Thanks for the share. :D

  3. I read this book last week and LOVED it. I didn’t notice the art rules that were followed in the illustrations, at least not consciously. But they did the trick – taking me into and through the story to the adorable ending.

  4. To create something so seamless, supurb and yet so simple requires immense talent and hard work. Carter your presentation of how and why this wonderful book works so well takes an equal amount of talent – thanks for sharing your talent with us.
    I wonder if that talent might rub off on me if I hug my computer screen?

  5. This book looks so sweet and I really want to read it. I must go out and find a copy. thanks for your art lesson. Those are things that I don’t know anything about and don’t notice. But I guess that’s the beauty of good design.

  6. Pingback: Pinwheel « Design of the Picture Book

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