Monday, 5 March 2012

Puffin Peter

A new book  by Petr Horacek is always going to catch my eye. He's a beautiful illustrator and his board books for babies rank amongst the best. Not least because they're actually designed as board books for babies and not simply scaled down, thickened up books for older children repackaged for pushy parents.

'Puffin Peter' is not a board book but it does feature puffins, penguins, and toucans which are respectively Bill, my, and Eddie's favourite birds. And it has the happiest shade of yellow cover. I leapt upon it in the library and brought it home for us all to enjoy a little sunshine yellow in a weekend of constant rain.

It's a simple story and frankly probably an overly familiar one told better by Julia Donaldson in 'Monkey Puzzle'. Best puffin friends Peter and Paul become separated during a storm. Peter is helped by a passing friendly whale who takes him on a journey across the seas to try and reunite him with his pal. But Peter's description of Paul leaves room for misinterpretation and a few wrong turns along the way before their reunion can be effected. (note- take a Proper History first before taking your passenger all the way to the Antarctic coastline and then the Tropics. tsk tsk, eyes cast to the sky...)

I forgive completely the too well trammeled path of the prose however because it's just. so. pretty to look at. He does that trick I remember from primary school of painting over paper that's been rubbed with a wax crayon. Really effective for conveying the oily, glossy sheen of a seabird's plumage.

A very smiley book to put into the hands of any two/three year old you know, (or older if they just happen to be a toucan fetishist too.) And don't miss his board books if compiling a baby's first library.


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