It all started in 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. I had been telling and re-telling this story to both my daughters for a few years, and with each re-telling the story got a little bigger. At my daughters request, for the upcoming class reading I actually wrote the story down, and while writing, the tale got even more detailed. I re-named the characters Noodles & Albie, snd I even sketched out a few pictures. That Thursday when I was done reading, to my surprise I received a standing ovation, or at least I thought they were standing, it was a kindergarten class. But, there was no doubt, the kids and teachers loved it, and soon I was being asked for copies from parents. Thus, the snowball began rolling. Shortly after, a friend and local artist (Liz Bannish) read it, loved the story and offered to illustrate. A couple of other friends then introduced me to a local publisher who also enjoyed it, and offered to work with us. Within a year Noodles & Albie was published and available via Small Batch Books, quickly becoming one of the more popular kids picture books in the Pioneer Valley. It soon found its way into virtually every book and toy store in the area and beyond, including NYC, Boston, Rhode Island, the Long Island NY and Long Beach, CA 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 Noodles makes a wrong turn. Since its release in 2014 the charming and fun story has received nothing but great reviews from print and on-line media, as well as teachers, librarians and of course kids. The book is set against a backdrop of 14 beautifully intricate watercolor illustrations by Liz Bannish that help bring the story to life.
Here's What They're Saying 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.
More penguins, more adventures, more beautiful illustrations and more fun, and with a holiday cameo surprise thrown in! The story takes place on Noodles 1st birthday (that's age 7 in people years), Noodles b-day party is followed by Noodles & Albie's adventurous day at Polar Kingdom (the world's greatest undersea amusement park), and then most importantly, their surprise encounter with a lost "tourist" on the ice. This charming and imaginative story is set against a backdrop of 16 beautifully intricate watercolor illustrations that help bring this penguin tale to life. 32 pages. Hardcover 10" x 8". ( Ages 4 - 8 ) By Eric Bennett Illustrations by Milanka Reardon.
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’s 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.
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 intelligences, 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
Noodles & Albie School Readings With Eric
Eric presenting Noodles & Albie to the Four Corners School, Greenfield, Mass
Eric with Noodles & Albie fans at the Sowans Elementary School in Barrington, RI
Eric with the 2nd Grade at New Hingham School in Chesterfield, Mass
Eric's School Visit Reviews
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
Deerfield Elementary School
What's A Noodles & Albie School Visit Like?
I wrote these books as a bridge between picture books and chapter books for kids that like to read. Plus, chapter books usually don't have all these great illustrations. Noodles & Albie books are about 1200 words, with 14 full color illustrations. 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 them. it's just a perfect size story for young readers.
My school readings usually take between a half hour to an hour (depending on the age and venue). With a greeting, a fun background presentation of the book, penguins and Antarctica, and about 15 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 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 two separate readings as I'll have different program for grades K and 1 than I will for 2 and 3. The readings are followed by a q & a about penguins and the book. I usually bring along some penguin stickers or figurines to give out at the end. I've also had readings to upper grades to discuss the process about writing and editing. If some of the kids have ordered a book, 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 the school prior to my visit.
Noodles And Albie featured at The 2017 Meltdown.