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Penguin tale nets literary prize

The "whimsical" adventures of a lost penguin that began as a father's bedtime stories for his three daughters have won a prestigious literary prize.

Rob Biddulph's picture book Penguin Blue won the £5,000 Waterstones Children's Book Prize at a ceremony in central London.

The Londoner, who works as a journalist, started his career answering letters for Just Seventeen and first came up with the stories about a penguin blown away to an exotic land on a kite for his children.

Melissa Cox, head of children's buying for Waterstones, said: " The test of a good picture book is not how good it is on first reading, but how enjoyable it is on its 50th. Blown Away more than delivers - its whimsical, madcap plot engages immediately and its rhythmic text drives the story along while the illustrations charm and thrill on every page. It is truly wonderful, and a very worthy winner."

The book will also be heavily promoted in Waterstones 276 shops across the UK.

Managing director James Daunt said: "This year we have another wonderfully inspiring Prize that is testament to the extraordinary vibrancy and creativity in children's publishing."

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