Short Story | ‘The Penguin Who Loved to Crunch Ice’ by Stacy D. Poole, Illustration by James Brown
In an igloo way down at the South Pole a penguin named Peter sat on a rock happily crunching an ice cube. “CRUNCH, CRUNCH, CRUNCH.” Peter was kind of strange because he really liked to crunch on ice; all of the other penguins used ice to build their igloos or for sliding races.
Some penguins even went ice skating, ice-fishing, or chiseled beautiful ice sculptures with their bright orange beaks; but none of the other penguins CRUNCHED on ice. It was just not the thing to do. After all, fish were for eating – not ice chunks!
Some of the penguins made fun of Peter for crunching ice. Some could not stand the noise that it made and would run away from him. And no one ever invited him into their igloos for dinner. Even Peter’s mother was upset with him; she told him that crunching ice would ruin the edges of his beak. Peter did not care about the noise, the missed dinner parties or even the edges of his beak. Peter Penguin just loved to crunch ice. “CRUNCH, CRUNCH, CRUNCH”.
Each day Peter would break off a chunk of ice from his igloo and “CRUNCH, CRUNCH, CRUNCH”. Soon, his igloo had no roof because he had crunched away all the ice that was on the top. Peter did not care; it did not rain much at the South Pole and it was nice to look up at the stars while he crunched his ice. “CRUNCH, CRUNCH, CRUNCH”.
Pretty soon Peter had no igloo left at all. He had CRUNCHED away the roof, and CRUNCHED away all the ice blocks of his igloo wall. This made the other penguins happy. Surely Peter would stop crunching ice now that he had no igloo left to crunch.
Much to their surprise, Peter waddled by, “CRUNCH, CRUNCH, CRUNCH”. Peter had taken a big chunk of ice right out of the side of the iceberg! “CRUNCH, CRUNCH, CRUNCH”.
Peter was not choosy about what kind of ice he CRUNCHED. Igloo ice, iceberg ice – he liked it all the same, “CRUNCH, CRUNCH, CRUNCH”. The penguins were very worried that Peter would crunch them out of house and home! Peter might crunch their corner of the iceberg right off and they would end up endlessly floating around in the ocean. If that happened, then Peter would want to crunch up their igloos!
The penguins had to find something that Peter could crunch besides their ice! They tried giving him sea weed. When Peter chewed the stringy, mushy, green sea weed it did not go “CRUNCH, CRUNCH, CRUNCH”. It went “SQUISH, SQUISH, SQUISH”. Peter did not like that at all. So the penguins all took turns. They brought him small sea plants, little fish, big fish, and even some bugs! None of them went “CRUNCH, CRUNCH, CRUNCH” like the ice. They all went “SQUISH, SQUISH, SQUISH”. Peter definitely did not like food that didn’t “CRUNCH, CRUNCH, CRUNCH”. Peter decided to keep eating ice,”CRUNCH, CRUNCH, CRUNCH”.
Then, Peter’s mother remembered something Peter liked to eat when he was a baby – FROZEN FISH! She immediately went ice-fishing. She caught three enormous fish and packed them deep in the snow. The next morning she called all the penguins together to help her carry all three huge fish to Peter.
When his mother called him, Peter was sitting on the iceberg doing his usual ice crunching, “CRUNCH, CRUNCH, CRUNCH”. Peter’s mother traded him the first frozen fish for his half eaten chunk of iceberg. He ate it and it did not go “SQUISH”. It went “CRUNCH”. His mother gave him the second fish and it did not go “SQUISH” either. It went “CRUNCH, CRUNCH”. Peter was amazed that fish could “CRUNCH”. He ate the third one, the biggest one of them all. It went “CRUNCH, CRUNCH, CRUNCH”!
Peter loved the “CRUNCH, CRUNCH, CRUNCH” sound the frozen fish made when he ate them. So the penguins taught Peter how to ice-fish and how to freeze the fish in the snow. All of thepenguins were happy to find something that went “CRUNCH, CRUNCH, CRUNCH” for Peter to eat. So from that day on, Peter agreed to eat the frozen fish instead of CRUNCHING away all of the icebergs and igloos in the South Pole. “CRUNCH, CRUNCH, CRUNCH”.
Illustration by: James Brown