In the frozen wastelands of Antarctica, a gold-breasted emperor penguin lays her egg and leaves it with her mate who will nestle the egg on top of his feet for the two months until it hatches. The mother emperor penguin swims through icy waters in search of food and just barely escapes an attack of a ferocious leopard seal. On land her mate endures a blizzard, and lucky for them both, the egg hatches into their healthy, new baby chick.
The adelie penguins aren't as fortunate as the emperors. They have buried their eggs in countless ground nests made from pebbles. But the terrifying, unfamiliar sounds of a helicopter landing nearby frightens them away just long enough to allow the predatory skua birds to feast on the unprotected eggs. The helicopters are then followed by ice-breaking ships, that smash their way through the icy waters. What do the visitors — these humans — aboard the helicopter and the ships want from this landscape? And will they prove to be the greatest danger that any of the native animals will face?
The struggle for life in such an extreme and brutal environment is clearly depicted in Helen Cowcher's words, yet her illustrations show that the Antarctic world is not without its own profound beauty. Its dawns are glorious yellow, and its birds and animals are marked with red and gold. It is a world of danger, true, and perhaps one that demands protection from human interference.