The Penguin Who Hated the Cold, by Barbara Brenner

            This is a silly little story about a penguin named Pablo who hated the cold.  He’ll do anything to find a warm place to live.  Follow him on his adventure from the cold Antarctic to the warm tropics.  This book is a great jumping board for teaching opposites.


  •             Night before, freeze small animal counters into cubes and blocks of ice.
  •             Hot water bottle
  •             2 large boxes of jello
  •             1 banana, 1 apple or pear, several strawberries, blueberries, grapes, and cherries
  •             Animal homes cards
  • Finger paint


  •             Chilly (always feeling cold)
  •             Hate (to really, really not like something)

Before Reading the Story

            Talk with the children about the weather outside (this story is best read in the winter or the summer).  Ask the children what kinds of things they like to do in the cold winter weather (make snowballs, sled, eat snow, dig) and then ask them what kinds of things they like to do in the hot summer weather (swim, ride bicycles, roll in grass, pick flowers).  Tell them that winter and summer are opposites.  Hot and cold are opposites.  Introduce the story by saying that today we are going to read a story about a penguin named Pablo.   Penguins live where it is always cold.  Pablo does not like the cold though, at all!  Pablo wants to go where it is warm.  Let’s find out if he gets there.

Approaches to Learning/Initiative & Curiosity; grows in eagerness to learn about and discuss a growing range of topics, ideas, and tasks.

Reading the Story

            Stop on each page where Pablo says goodbye to his friends.  Do you think that he will get to a place where it is always warm? 

Literacy/Book Knowledge & Appreciation; demonstrates progress in abilities to retell and dictate stories from books and experiences; to act out stories in dramatic play; and to predict what will happen next in a story.

After Reading the Story

            Make a graph and have the children mark if they like the cold weather or the hot weather better.  Count the total and write the numbers underneath.

Social & Emotional Development/Self-Concept; begins to develop and express awareness of self in terms of specific abilities, characteristics, and preferences. AND Mathematics/Number & Operations; demonstrates increasing interest and awareness of numbers and counting as a means for solving problems and determining quantity.


            Make float and sink jello.  Have the children help cut the fruits into bite sized pieces.  Make the jello according to the directions.  Let the children take turns dropping the fruit into the jello and predict if it will float or sink.  Let the jello cool and eat.

Science/Scientific Skills & Methods; begins to participate in simple investigations to test observations, discuss and draw conclusions, and form generalizations.

Music and Movement

            Fill the hot water bottle up with water and use it to play hot potato. Have the children sit in a circle. One child starts to pass the hot water bottle to the child beside him when the music starts. The children continue to pass the bottle until the music stops. When the music stops, the teacher asks the child holding the water bottle to name something that is either hot or cold.

Approaches to Learning/Reasoning & problem Solving; develops increasing ability to find more than one solution to a question, task, or problem.

            Show children how to use two blocks to pretend ice skate.  Put on music and slide around the carpet.

Physical Health & Development/Gross Motor Skills; shows increasing proficiency, control, and balance in walking, climbing, running, jumping, hopping, skipping, marching, and galloping.

            Sing the Opposite Song to the tune of Pop Goes the Weasel.

Everything I always say,

You always say the opposite.

When I say _________,

You say ___________!

Good opposites that go with this story are; cold-hot, forwards-backwards, up-down, outside-inside, on-off, float-sink

Creative Arts/Music; participates with increasing interest and enjoyment in a variety of music activities, including listening, singing, finger plays, games, and performances.


            Ask the children if they can make a house to keep Pablo warm.  If you have a stuffed penguin, this would be a good center to put it in.

Approaches to Learning/Engagement & Persistence; demonstrates increasing ability to set goals and develop follow through on plans.


            Put out finger paint.  Instead of using hands to paint, give the children ice cubes to move the paint about the paper.

Creative Arts/Art; gains ability in using different art media and materials in a variety of ways for creative expression and representation.

Sand and Water

            Put the animals in the frozen ice blocks into the table.  Ask the children to see if they can get the animals out. Allow them to experiment with objects from around the classroom.

Science/Scientific Skills & Methods; begins to participate in simple investigations to test observations, discuss and draw conclusions, and form generalizations.

Library and Writing

            Depending upon the season you are in (summer or winter), ask the children to tell you a sign of the season and draw a picture about.  With older children they may be able to draw and tell about an opposite season also.  (Summer; sunny, swim, flowers, shorts, sandals/Winter; snow, sled, no leaves, mittens, boots).

Literacy/Early Writing; begins to represent stories and experiences through pictures, dictation, and in play.

Dramatic Play

            Put out dress ups that are opposite the season you are experiencing.  For summer you could put out bathing suit, sunglasses, and towels.  For winter you could put out boots, mittens, and scarves.

Literacy/Early Writing; begins to represent stories and experiences through pictures, dictation, and in play.

Math and Manipulatives

            Make a set of animal homes cards and let the children see if they can put the animals in their proper home.

Science/Scientific Knowledge; expands knowledge of and abilities to observe, describe, and discuss the natural world, materials, living things, and natural processes.

Outdoor Play

            Roll in the grass or snow.

Physical Health & Development/Health Status & Practices; progresses in physical strength, stamina, and flexibility.


Call out one half of an opposite and see if the children can name back the other half to you. If you have opposite cards, these help children as many children do not have a strong grasp of what an opposite is.

Approaches to Learning/Initiative & Curiosity; chooses to participate in an increasing variety of tasks and activities.


ways to freeze objects into ice
About Kerry CI am an Early Childhood Educator who has seen daily the value of shared book readings with my preschoolers. I use the book theme in my centers and can daily touch upon a variety of Early Childhood Domains which makes assessing the children easy and individualized.