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PUFFLING by Margaret Wild


by Margaret Wild and illustrated by Julie Vivas

Age Range: 2 - 5

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-312-56570-1
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

When a baby puffin wonders when he can leave the burrow to explore the ocean, his parents Big Stripy Beak and Long Black Feather say that he must be “strong enough and tall enough and brave enough.” Gulls circle outside, waiting for a baby who isn’t quite ready for the dash to the sea. Every day Puffling asks his caregivers to assess his progress, which will ring true with young readers eager themselves to finally be strong, tall and brave enough. Vivas’s pastel-and–watercolor pencil illustrations in rusts, oranges, blacks and blues evoke the cozy shelter of the burrow, the comforting canopy of night and the security of family. The parent puffins’ jovial expressions and the baby’s adorable, wobbly stances make these odd little birds feel familiar. This simple story finds originality and strength by refusing to assign gender roles, or even gender, to the puffling’s caregivers. Big Stripy Beak and Long Black Feather, in their quiet neutrality, allow readers to see exactly what parents of any age, gender or configuration do—feed, love and prepare their baby for that great race to the surf. (note on puffins) (Picture book. 2-5)