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.
  • Several trays of plain ice cubes
  • Hot water bottle
  • 2 large boxes of jello
  • 1 banana, 1 apple or pear, several strawberries, blueberries, grapes, and cherries
  • Animal homes cards


  • Chilly (always feeling cold, colder than cool but not as cold as frozen)
  • 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.

Language Development/Speaking & Communicating; progresses in abilities to respond appropriately abin conversations and discussions with peers and adults.

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? If not, what do you think will happen?

Literacy/Book Knowledge & Appreciation; demonstrates 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 express awareness o fself in terms of specific abilities, characteristics, and preferences. AND Mathematics/Number & Operations; begins to associate number concepts, vocabulary, quantities, and written numerals in meaningful ways.


            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. AND Physical Health & Development/Health Status & Practices; shows growing independence in hygiene, nutrition, and personal care when eating, dressing, washing hands, brushing teeth , and toileting.

Music and Movement

            Fill the hot water bottle up with water and use it to play hot potato. (Pass the hot water bottle around until the music stops. The child holding the water bottle must name something that you do either in the hot or the cold weather.

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 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

Approaches to Learning/Reasoning & Problem Solving; develops increasing abilities to classify, compare and contrast objects, events, and experiences. AND Language Development/Listening & Understanding; understands an increasingly complex and varied vocabulary.


            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; shows growing capacity to maintain concentration over time on a task, question, set of directions or intersections, despite distractions or interruptions. AND Physical Health & Development/Fine Motor Skills; grows in hand-eye coordination in building with blocks, putting together puzzles, reproducing shapes and patterns, stringing beads, and using scissors.


            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 in 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. (warm water with spoons works as does using blocks for a hammer effect)

Approaches to Learning/Reasoning & Problem Solving; grows in recognizing and solving problems through active exploration, including trial and error, and interactions and discussions with peers and adults.

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. AND Science/Scientific Knowledge; develops growing awareness of ideas and language related to attributes of time and temperature.

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; participates actively in games, outdoor play, and other forms of exercise that enhance physical fitness.


Ask children to say or show you opposite of a word that you give.

Approaches to Learning/Reasoning & Problem Solving; develops increasing abilities to classify, compare and contrast objects, events, and experiences.


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.