Review of Puffin

by Martin Jenkins; illus. by Jenni Desmond
Primary     Candlewick    32 pp.     g
10/22     978-1-5362-2850-2     $17.99

Jenkins (Bird Builds a Nest, rev. 1/18; Beware of the Crocodile, rev. 3/19) again offers readers solid science in an entertaining package. The cover illustration of an Atlantic Puffin, beak overflowing with sand eels and standing somewhat pigeon-toed, creates a slightly comical but altogether appealing sight, encouraging youngsters to open the book to see what this bird is all about. Readers will find an engaging, accessible narrative describing a puffin’s life cycle, initially revealing, through text and sweeping full-bleed illustrations, that flocks of puffins populate a favored breeding site in the spring. Spot art complements short sentences relating subsequent action: former mates find each other, birds reclaim their burrows and repair their nests, and eventually males and females take turns sitting on a solitary egg and foraging for food. When the egg hatches, parents continue to swap tasks. One night, about six weeks after birth, the chick (or puffling) exits the burrow and flies away to make a life of its own. Puffins are at their most colorful in the spring, and Desmond’s lively mixed-media art accentuates this quality by often displaying the black-and-white birds with their deep orange, blue, and yellow beaks against a bright blue sky (or ocean), creating a cheerful setting for their annual ritual. Further information appears on several pages in sentences set apart from the main text and in a concluding author’s note. An index and suggested websites are appended.

From the November/December 2022 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Betty Carter
Betty Carter, an independent consultant, is professor emerita of children’s and young adult literature at Texas Woman’s University.

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