It all started in March, 2013 when my daughter Rose requested I read the "penguin and the fish" story to her kindergarten class for their Thursday afternoon story time. It was a tale about a lost penguin and a fish that befriends him while helping him find his way home, and their fun adventures along the way. That Thursday in March, when I was done reading, I looked up and to my surprise I received a standing ovation, or at least I thought they were standing, it was after all a kindergarten class. But, there was no doubt, the kids and teachers loved it, and soon I was being asked for copies from parents. Long story short, I soon found an illustrator in my friend Liz Bannish and within a year Noodles & Albie was published by Small Batch Books. It soon became a bit of a local kids cult classic, finding its way into virtually every library, school, book and toy store in the Pioneer Valley and beyond, including NYC, NJ, Boston, Rhode Island, a couple of aquariums, and was even accepted by the Eric Carle Picture book Museum's gift shop and library.
Noodles & Albie
Noodles & Albie is the tale of a young penguin named Noodles on his very memorable first time at sea, and his adventures after a couple of wrong turns in the vast Southern Ocean. Since its release in 2014 this charming and fun story has received some wonderful reviews from print and on-line media, a Silver Mom's Choice Award. as well being beloved by teachers, librarians and of course kids. The book is set against a backdrop of 14 beautiful watercolor illustrations by Liz Bannish that help bring the story to life.
Here's What's Been Said About Noodles & Albie
"Noodles & Albie is a delightful book about penguins, friendship, and growing up that will be enjoyed by children of all ages. The charming illustrations bring the many adventures of Noodles to life. And, while following Noodles' escapades, children will also be learning about actual Emperor penguin biology and behavior. Two flippers up for Noodles & Albie!"
Dyan deNapoli – The Penguin Lady TED Talks Penguin expert and award-winning author of The Great Penguin Rescue
"Who doesn't love penguins? Kids of all ages will fall head over flippers for Noodles and his undersea adventure with his fishy friend Able! Charmingly illustrated with beautiful, detailed watercolors by Liz Bannish."
Michael Chesworth- Award winning illustrator and author or Alphboat & Archibald Frisby and Illustrator of Pippi Longstocking (Omnibus Edition)
"Liz Bannish's watercolor illustrations delight in Noodles & Albie's sheer cuteness. A sweet, fun story by Eric Bennett of penguins and friendship."
Gersh Kuntzman - New York Daily News
"Eric Bennett has written a very nice story about a young penguin growing but fearful about learning to swim. When he finally takes the plunge, he meets Albie who becomes a lifelong friend and confidant. I believe you will see friendship bloom and also the concept of overcoming one's fear of doing something.
Dad For Divas (A Top 500 Children's Book Reviewer)
"Children's books need story, information, humor, and illustrations. 'Noodles & Albie' puts all of those factors to good use. Kids and adults will appreciate the information about penguins that follows the story, as well as the humor and creativity displayed throughout. Tinky Weisblat - Greenfield Recorder
"Noodles & Albie - Beautiful story and great illustrations make this a wonderful children's book." Orchard Forsythia - Children's Book Reviewer & Blogger
"I love penguins, I love penguin books, and I love when I find a new, good penguin book. The penguin fan in me really loved that this book had the correct setting for penguins and included science about Antarctica. Then underneath it all, a friendship theme runs deep throughout. Overall, a fun picture book that would be a fantastic read aloud."
Unleashing Readers - Children's Book Review Blog
"When I was a young reader, I remember that as books became more complex, there weren’t any pictures on the page. This was always disappointing to me. I particularly like this book because I think it would make a great transitional text for young readers. There are a lot of words on each page, but the illustrations are filled with just as much fun and adventure as the passages of text. Kids will be inspired to learn more about penguins after reading this book."
Unleashing Readers - Ricki's Review
In 2016 Eric followed up with the further fun adventures of Noodles & Albie with Noodles' & Albie's Birthday Surprise.
The follow up to Noodles & Albie is the 2017 Mom's Choice - Gold Award Winner, Noodles' & Albie's Birthday Surprise with more penguins, more adventures, more jokes and beautiful illustrations. This charming story is set against a backdrop of 16 beautifully intricate illustrations that help bring this unique penguin tale to life. 32 pages. Hardcover 10" x 8". ( Ages 4 - 8 ) By Eric Bennett Illustrations by Milanka Reardon.
Noodles' & Albie's Birthday Surprise won a prestigious Gold Mom's Choice Award.
Here's What They're Saying About Noodles' & Albie's Birthday Surprise
When a penguin receives a compass for his birthday, he gets the chance to help a lost Kris Kringle.
It’s midsummer in the Antarctic, December 24, and Noodles’ first birthday. Noodles the penguin enjoys playing in the snow and sliding on the ice with his friends. One pal, Albie (a fish), gives Noodles two perfect gifts: a compass and a trip to Polar Kingdom, the underwater amusement park. They have a wonderful time, though Noodles almost loses his compass on the Octowhirl, and return home to find a “plump tourist” in a sled filled with boxes, accompanied by some strange animals. Introducing himself as Kris Kringle, the tourist explains he’s lost. Noodles generously offers his new compass, and Kris flies north with his reindeer. The next morning, Noodles gets his compass back, nicely wrapped up, with a thank-you note saying, “You saved Christmas!” Though Bennett’s follow-up to Noodles & Albie: A Penguin Journey (2014) is set during Christmas, Albie has no reply when Noodles asks, “What the heck is Christmas anyway?” so parents may need to answer that one for themselves. The enchanting prospect of birthday, undersea amusement park, and helping Santa has great appeal, even when Noodles must (temporarily) give away his compass. Reardon’s soft pastel illustrations are charming, capturing the playful, dynamic spirit of the characters.
Beautiful illustrations, plus birthday and Christmas together—fun.
This is a cute story of penguins, friendship, and a dash of magic, which is sure to warm even the most frozen mood.
Noodles the penguin and his fish friend, Albie, get a chance to save Christmas in this humorous follow-up to Noodles and Albie (never mind that neither animal has heard of the holiday). Bennett’s story primarily revolves around another celebration: Noodles birthday, which falls on December 24. Albie gives him a compass as a present, and Noodles quickly re-gifts it after they run into a “chubby tourist” dressed in red, stranded with his reindeer on an Antarctic ice floe. Bennett and Reardon both get in some good jokes: Santa describes how his new GPS system’s incessant instructions led him to go off-course, and during a visit to an underwater amusement park, Albie and Noodles take a spin on the Octowhirl ride, an actual octopus. Readers will get a kick out of the animals’ obliviousness to all things Christmas. A lighthearted Q&A with Albie—featuring questions about the Antarctic, how compasses work, and more—rounds out this warm friendship story. Ages 4–8. (BookLife)
GERSH KUNTZMAN, NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
This second Noodles & Albie is another sweet, fun story of penguins and
friendship for the holidays, birthdays and everyday.
Noodles’ and Albie’s Birthday Surprise takes readers on a wonderful adventure with a
delightful cameo the reader doesn’t see coming.
Mom's Choice Awards
“We are happy to award deserving books like 'Noodles' And Albie's Birthday Surprise'. Our panel of judges really felt this heartwarming book merited a place on our list of the best in family-friendly products that parents and educators can feel confident in using.” -Dawn Matheson, CEO, Mom’s Choice Awards.
Here's What Teacher's and Librarians Are Saying About Noodles & Albie
"As a teacher, I think that this book is incredible! Set under the sea, this tale about friendship is great to read with a classroom full of children. There are plenty of characters (all different species of underwater animals), so it is easy to keep a lot of kid's attention with the use of different voices. There aren't any scenes that are truly scary, and there are several lessons to be learned, such as bravery, learning, trust, and friendship. There are so many activities to do with children that go along with/expand upon the story. I was able to write a lesson plan that fully encompassed all eight different intelligence's, and all four different types of learners. BUY THESE BOOKS! Give them to friends, family, or teachers! Everyone is sure to love them!"
Erica Sanders - Teacher, Worchester Massachusetts
"This is a wonderful story about last friendship and growing up. The illustrations are a perfect compliment to the storyline and the illustrator's talent shines on every page."
Jude McGowan - Head Children's Librarian, Forbes Library
I was very excited to learn that Eric was writing a second story of these two charming and unusual friends. This book is a beautiful story of friendship. The illustrations are captivating. I love reading this story to my kindergarten children. They are a melting pot of many different cultures who bring lively discussions about similarities and differences, and how we are all friends regardless of our backgrounds. I highly recommend this book and look forward to #3. Sandy Nathan - P.S. 31 Queens NY
We read Noodles & Albie - the kids could totally relate - as we talked about who takes swim lessons, and who could swim like Noodles. We liked the question / answer section at the back. It helped with our facts about penguins. Bonnie Sucart - Beth Yeshurun Teacher, Houston, TX
Noodles & Albie School Readings With Eric
Eric with the 2nd Grade at New Hingham School in Chesterfield, Mass
Eric's School Visit Reviews
Dear Eric -
Thank you for spending your day here with our K through grade 4 classrooms during our annual Read Across America Celebration. I heard back from teachers at each grade level that your presentation was spot-on for their students. The kids loved hearing how the characters of Noodles and Albie came to be and how the books were written and created. We especially enjoyed our sneak peak at your next book, Noodles and Albie at the Mermaid Parade, and it was a wonderful experience for our students to see that part of the creative process!
-Sherri Smith, Second Grade Teacher,
Auburn Village School, Auburn NH
Primrose School, Barrington, Rhode Island
"Eric Bennett provides an enthralling and educational view on the life of penguins. He is both gracious and entertaining during his author visits and aptly captures the hearts and imaginations of his young audiences. His Noodles & Albie stories provide timeless messages which are highlighted by charmingly detailed illustrations." Lynn Dutsar -- Librarian - Deerfield Elementary School, Deerfield Mass
Mittineague School was fortunate enough to host Eric Bennett and have
him share his Noodles and Albie stories with staff and students. Mr. Bennett read his stories and regaled the students with penguin facts and tales, as well as sharing with us the process that he uses to come up with his stories and write his books. They loved the stories and related to the themes of trust and friendship and bravery that were exemplified in Noodles and Albie's adventures. The illustrations were eye-catching and enchanting. (Lisa Fonte - Librarian - Mittineague Elementary School, West Springfield, Mass)
Eric, thank you for a wonderful Noodles & Albie event today. (and so close to Noodles birthday). The kids loved learning about penguins and listening to your books. It was great to see such a lovely turnout.
Sarah Johnson (Head Children's Librarian, Forbes Library - Northampton, Mass)
It was a delight to have Eric Bennett read his children’s book “Noddles & Albie” to our first to third grade class here at MSN where he read his fun story about a friendship that endures the challenges of difference…and it’s about penguins, too. From the get go Eric had the kids enraptured with what was not only was a great tale about an unlikely friendship between a penguin and a fish, but also informed the children about what life is like for young penguins. In fact there were many great facts about penguins tucked into the story that generated a great Q & A period between the kids and Eric that lasted close to an hour! Sure, penguins are fun animals that make children curious. But the great discussion that followed the reading is a testament to how good of a storyteller Eric is and how well he relates to kids. (Chris Scanlon (Montessori School, Northampton, Mass)
Deerfield Elementary School
What's A Noodles & Albie School Visit Like?
I wrote these books as a fun bridge between picture books and chapter books for kids that like to read and have a good time doing so. But, chapter books usually don't have all these great illustrations. Noodles & Albie books are about 1300 words, with 14 -16 full color illustrations, which I display in a slide show while I'm reading. I believe kids in K - 3rd grade should have fun, nuanced stories, as well as fab illustrations, and that's what I think is so cool about Noodles & Albie, and it's what reviewers, kids, parents, teachers and librarians love about these books.. it's just a perfect size story, that's fun, with some science, and lots of life lessons about friendship, sharing and trust for young readers.
My school readings usually take between a half hour to an hour (depending on the age and venue). My introduction varies according to the grade or age of my audience, and after a fun background presentation of the origins of the book, penguins and Antarctica, there is a 15 - 20 minute reading (for each book), and accompanying slide show of the illustrations. If there is no smart-board or projection available, I'll have an extra book or two and ask a teacher or student to show the illustrations while I read. I can read one or both books, and I'm fine with separate readings as I'll have different program for grades K and 1 than I will for grades 2 and 3. The readings are followed by a q & a about penguins and the book. I usually have some penguin props (puppets or plush) to illustrate the various traits that make penguins (and Noodles) so unique and special. I've also had readings to upper grades to discuss the process about writing, story telling and editing. If any of the kids have ordered a book(s), I will sign and personalize each book, and always donate a book to the schools library.
I do not charge a fee to come to your school or event to read, but I do ask that the students are given the option to order my books, and of course I sign and personalize each one.
Interested contact Eric at [email protected] or 413-584-5432
This is the fun Noodles & Albie flyer to put up around your school prior to my visit.
Eric, Noodles & Albie featured at The 2017 Meltdown.