Putnam & Pennyroyal by Patrick Jennings. il Jon J. Muth.
Scholastic Press: NY, 1999.

If you are looking for science connections in literature, this is a good choice. Much of the story is about two grebes who have blundered into an underwater cave area. There are many grebes there; none apparently know how to get back out, but they have made the best of it. Pennyroyal, a different sort of grebe, isn't content to stay. She doesn't like the food, she's adventurous, and she likes to communicate, while the rest keep to themselves.

The tale of Putnam & Pennyroyal is told by Cora Lee's Uncle Frank while she visits him during the summer. It is one of the most realistic animal stories I've read. The personalities of the grebes may move beyond realism, but they seem to fit the nature of the grebes. It also becomes apparent as the story is told that Pennyroyal is a bit like Cora Lee and Putnam is like Uncle Frank. In a vague way, acceptance of differences is discussed, too.

I must have picked up the book, because I was searching for books illustrated by Jon Muth. The pictures are small sketches. A few good ones, but mostly unimportant. The story is different, with much anticipation. A good selection for younger readers, especially if the reader is an animal lover.

related-grebes, birds, storytelling, uncles, family, acceptance, identity, animals

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