Special features

Ultimate guide to penguins gathers 15 years of intimate glimpses by photographer Tui De Roy

We publish roundups of new books about birds two times a year, in our June and December issues. In our December 2014 issue, we wrote about 13 titles, including the book featured here. Scroll down for links to our other reviews from the issue.
By Matt Mendenhall | Published: 11/2/2014

A search of Amazon’s birdwatching category for books about penguins turns up more than 200 titles, including Among Penguins by Noah Strycker, Penguin Planet by Kevin Schafer, and The Great Penguin Rescue by Dyan deNapoli, all of which we have recommended in our pages.

Penguins-300If you’re tempted to wonder if the world really needs another book about penguins, don’t. It does, especially when it comes from renowned photographer Tui De Roy and her collaborators Mark Jones and Julie Cornthwaite.

“We wanted to ensure that we would have ample time to become intimately acquainted with every one of the world’s penguin species, no matter how difficult to find,” writes De Roy. After over 15 years documenting all 18 species, they selected more than 400 stunning photos. Readers see a Galapagos Penguin chasing fish near the sea floor, Northern Rockhoppers on a boulder-covered slope, and Snares Penguins on a thick tree branch in a forest.

Woven throughout the first 145 pages of photos is De Roy’s engaging narrative of her encounters with the birds: listening at night to the “mournful, almost melancholic calls” of Galapagos Penguins; crawling on hands and knees in dense thickets to find Fiordland Penguins in New Zealand; and steering an inflatable boat while King Penguins swam alongside and jumped out of the water.

The book also includes insightful essays from 16 penguin researchers about recent discoveries and conservation work, two-page profiles of each species, and tips on where to see wild penguins. As advertised, it is truly the ultimate guide to the world’s penguins.

Penguins: The Ultimate Guide, by Tui De Roy, Mark Jones, and Julie Cornthwaite, Princeton University Press, 240 pages, hardcover, $35

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