‘Noodles & Albie’ children’s tales informative, yet fun

  • “Noodles & Albie’s Mermaid Parade”

  • WEISBLAT

For the Recorder
Published: 2/6/2019 3:58:33 PM

A few years back I reviewed Eric Bennett’s first children’s book, “Noodles & Albie.” This story of Noodles, an emperor penguin who learns how to swim, and his friend Albie, a brightly colored fish, charmed me with information and humor that appealed to children and adults alike.

Bennett, who lives in Northampton, recently wrote his third “Noodles & Albie” book. In “Noodles & Albie’s Mermaid Parade,” the pair travel from their native Antarctica to New York. They view the Statue of Liberty and take part in Coney Island’s annual Mermaid Parade.

They are accompanied on their journey by a pair of penguin scientists. Along the way, the group stops at the Falkland Islands. Noodles and Albie expand their knowledge by meeting two new and different types of penguin. Colorful Henry is a king penguin, and tufted Rocko is a rockhopper penguin.

Both of the new friends have personalities to match their names. Henry displays a lot of regal flair, and Rocko has more than his (or anyone’s) share of attitude.

Before they get to New York, the three penguins and the little fish manage to save an oil tanker from crashing into rocks and causing an environmental disaster. And when they reach Coney Island, they are, of course, the hit of the Mermaid Parade.

Bennett’s story is a lot of fun, throwing in bits of information without being obviously educational. Paige Monte’s bright illustrations echo the humor, color and joy of the text.

In a brief appendix to the book, questions and answers (the latter apparently provided by Albie the fish) augment the information in the story. Apparently, Coney Island does hold a real mermaid parade every year.

The parade in 2019 will take place on Saturday, June 22. It involves artists, community members and a lot of dressing up in costumes.

Albie also answers questions about the history of Coney Island, the Falkland Islands, the many species of penguins that live in those islands, and the dangers of oil spills to penguins. Like the rest of the book, the question-and-answer section gives the young (or old!) reader knowledge in an informal, light-hearted manner.

Eric Bennett will read his book on Saturday, Feb. 16, at 10 a.m. in the children’s room of the Greenfield Public Library. Copies of the book will be available for sale. (It is also available at area book and toy stores, including World Eye Bookshop.)

Penguin treats will be served, and a drawing will take place for a 10-inch penguin plush animal. Bennett calls the event a “penguin party.”

Tinky Weisblat is the author of “The Pudding Hollow Cookbook,” “Pulling Taffy,” and “Love, Laughter, and Rhubarb.” Visit her website, TinkyCooks.com.




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