Flipper and Finnegan: The True Story of How Tiny Jumpers Saved Little Penguins; Sophie Cunningham, illustrated by Anil Tortop
Sometimes help comes in the most surprising forms and it was the power of knitting needles that would come to the rescue after a disaster at sea threatened the livelihood of little penguins.
Nestled in the sand dunes on a beautiful island is a cosy burrow that is home to two little penguins, Flipper and Finnegan. Early in the morning they hunt for fish and play together in the clear blue ocean waters. At sunset, they, along with all of their friends, return to their homes - much to the delight of the crowd of people that gather to watch the ‘penguin parade’. Life is good. Then one day the ocean was darker than usual, something was blocking out the light. Going up for air, Flipper finds herself covered in something sticky and when she looks around for Finnegan, he is gone…
Encased in beautiful knitting-themed end-papers and with wonderful illustrations throughout, Flipper and Finnegan is a gorgeous story that stars two adorable penguins and centres around a 2001 oil spill that affected thousands of Little Penguins living on Phillip Island, Victoria.
Oil spills have devastating consequences and the story of Flipper, Finnegan and friends is full of facts that help children to understand why oil spills are so terrible; the greasy substance not only pollutes the water but it clogs up the penguins’ feathers (all 10,000 of them) and prevents them from swimming properly, oily feathers don’t provide much needed warmth, oil is almost impossible for the penguins to remove and even if they are able to, the swallowing of it will make them sick.
The penguins are in a right old sticky pickle but luckily there is a happy outcome for our feathered friends thanks to wildlife rescue rangers and a global knitting campaign. An influx of tiny penguin-shaped jumpers stopped the penguins from trying to clean their oily feathers and kept them warm whilst they were waiting to be cleaned, thus giving kind and caring wildlife rescuers the opportunity to save the injured and distressed birds and nurse them back to health.
A fabulous educational story with a feel good ending that raises environmental issues, the challenges wildlife faces when disaster strikes and the difference we can all make - often in the most surprising of ways.
With huge thanks to Allen & Unwin and Albert Street for the copy I received in exchange for an honest review.
Recommended for 4+.