I recently reviewed Seagull by Danny Snell . Solo would make a good partner for this text. Here we follow a pair of emperor penguins and the arrival of their chick, Solo. It begins as a gentle story of survival in an extreme environment.
The tone of this story takes a severe downturn when the father penguin Fin, fails to return. He is bringing food for his partner Floe and baby Solo. Floe herself has made this journey over the previous months as Fin kept their egg warm.
Survival instincts kick in and Floe is forced to leave little Solo behind. "Solo tried to follow, but she couldn't keep up. She waited quietly for a while, but then she cried out from the cold." This scene and the following pages may break your heart. The ending is bitter sweet. Yes Solo finds her mother and is reunited with her father but the final image of the little family shows their will be ongoing struggles - human made struggles - for this intrepid family.
You can see a full list of wonderful books by Paul Geraghty here. You can see some terrific art inspired by this book. This book should be added to your study of the environment with a young class.