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Where the Heart Is

Where the Heart Is, is a most unusual Picture Book. Irma Gold was inspired by the true story of Joao and the Magellanic penguin who developed an amazing bond with each other. She has recognised the issues which brought the unlikely pair together, interweaving them into the story; an oil spill was the cause of the fisherman and the penguin meeting.

Joao first found the penguin in 2011 when it was washed up on the beach of his small island. The penguin was exhausted and covered in oil from an oil spill. The fisherman took the penguin home and gently bathed him and fed him fish. Gradually, the penguin regained his strength until Joao felt he was strong enough to return to the sea. Sadly, he rowed the little visitor out to sea and put him in the ocean. When Joao returned home there was the penguin that he had named Dindim waiting for him.

Dindim stayed for almost a year and then the call of the sea became too great. Joao’s “heart trembled”, as he watched his friend swim away, all the way to Patagonia 8,000 miles away. There is a happy ending to the story.

Irma Gold chose Susannah Crispe to illustrate this book as the artist had been to the very island where this miracle happened. Her marvellous use of watercolours and digital collage create a gentleness and images of a great bond between human and animal. Issues of conservation and care of the environment are eloquently shown, and the end papers introduce humour and leave the reader with a smile. Where the Heart Is, is truly heart-warming and inspirational.

Author Irma Gold. Illustrations Susannah Crispe.
Publisher Exisle Publishing/EK Books
ISBN 9781925820874
Distributor EK Books
Released July 2021