I confess to being a “penguin person.” While teaching, I loved listening to first graders tell me dozens of penguin facts they had learned during their January lessons and I love to watch the antics of penguins at the zoo. I also loved How the Penguins Saved Veronica by Hazel Prior. In this time of depressing news stories and limited contact with friends and relatives, this book was a breath of fresh air!
Veronica McCreedy is a wealthy 85 year old woman whose memory has occasional ‘blips.’ She seems to enjoy living alone, with only a housekeeper and a gardener – she has no relatives or friends and is rather crotchety in her old age. Her only joy is to watch a documentary, ‘Earth Matters,’ on her tv. Veronica is dismayed when the program ends its run and is replaced by ‘The Plight of Penguins.’ Surprisingly, she is drawn to the charming varieties of penguins, especially the Adele penguins of Antarctica. As Veronica’s interest in penguins grows, she decides to leave her substantial estate to penguin research – but only after visiting Antarctica first to investigate the project . . . In alternating chapters, Prior also introduces us to Patrick, an unemployed young man who is depressed from a breakup. He enters Veronica’s life as she discovers he is the grandson she never knew she had. He is not particularly likeable at the beginning of the novel, but he is affected by Veronica (Granny V) as the story goes along. The story of how Veronica lost touch with her family is also revealed a bit at a time.
I loved the character of Veronica and also loved the character, Terry, who is one of three penguin researchers. Through the penguins, all of the characters begin to bond and reveal their personalities, fears and backstories. How the Penguins Saved Veronica is a book that made me smile and touched my heart – I am so glad that I picked it up to read!!!
If you are like Veronica and want to learn more about penguins, try this link: