Several essential facts about puffins emerge from this engaging, cheerful and astonishingly simple taxonomic exercise, filled with humor and a dynamic conversational style both visual and textual.
Soltis’ relaxed, forthright words and sentences build a momentum of anticipation and discovery—first an initial and then repeated assertion that there is “nothing like a puffin,” followed by a series of comparative observations in which it turns out that a particular animal or item actually is in some way (two legs, hatches from eggs, swims) perhaps a little like a puffin. Kolar’s eye-catching, full page, digitally created cartoons feature a merry-looking puffin in every opening, interacting with the objects or bright-eyed creatures of comparison: a newspaper, a pair of jeans, a goldfish, a snake, a shovel, a helicopter, a penguin. The colors on the puffin’s bill are repeated in the figures and vivid backgrounds throughout. Young listeners won’t know everything about puffins after a reading or two of this lively discourse, but they will have an idea about how to relate new information to something already known.
What makes two things alike and what makes them different—what, indeed, confers individuality and the quality of being uniquely amazing—is exuberantly celebrated in a puffin-affectionate package. (Picture book. 2-5)