cover image Puffling


Margaret Wild, , illus. by Julie Vivas. . Feiwel and Friends, $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-312-56570-1

Vivas's meticulously drafted pastels distinguish this coming-of-age story by the team behind Our Granny . Big Stripy Beak and Long Black Feather, a pair of loving puffin parents, prepare Puffling for his launch into the wide world, where scary gulls wait just outside the opening of his burrow, and the sea, teeming with puffins, beckons beyond. The roundness of the birds' bellies is sculpted with hundreds of evenly stroked white lines, while glowing sea-green linework makes nocturnal scenes come alive. As Puffling grows, his parents feed him, coach him on what's to come (“When you are strong enough and tall enough and brave enough, you'll leave the burrow all by yourself”), and reassure him that all is going according to plan (“Am I brave enough?” Puffling asks. “Almost,” his parents reply). If some younger readers are disturbed by the parents flying away and leaving Puffling to brave the world on his own, most will identify with his nascent sense of independence and adventure—and the confidence Puffling demonstrates when he successfully makes the big plunge. Up to age 5. (Nov.)