The Angry Little Puffin by Timothy Young
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
This was the first time I had ever received a children's picture book to review, so I read it with my resident expert - my 3.5 year old daughter, Piper. Puffin lives in a zoo, and he is not having a good day. He is housed with the penguins, and everyone thinks he is a penguin - they don't even bother to read his plaque explaining what kind of puffin he is and where he come from. He grits his teeth at first, but when the 'strange penguin' and 'cute penguin' and 'kooky penguin' comments keep coming, he loses his temper - in a spectacular fashion. I wanted to read this book with Piper, because as with many kids her age, she has anger issues. I know where they stem from; she's a smart kid, has a great vocabulary - but even with that - she is three, and most three year olds can't explain their emotions when they are in the throes of them.
I liked this book because the illustrations were simple - Piper was quick to point out the physical differences between the penguins and puffins. When Puffin was ranting on all the geographic differences between penguins and puffins, it was easy for a small child to understand the distance and difference. Puffin's emotions, from annoyance to anger to pleasure and acceptance, are all very evident on his face, so Piper was easily able to tell me how Puffin was feeling on different pages in the book. And I love that children are learning facts about puffins (and most importantly how they differ from penguins!) all throughout Puffin's rant. My one gripe with the book is all the different fonts the characters use - I found it distracting and young readers might get mixed up by it.
I asked Piper afterward what she thought of Puffin, and this was her response: "I like his colors. He's a puffin-bird and he comes from the top of the planet and penguins come from the bottom." For a three year old to pick three solid facts about puffins and penguins in a 10 minute read through a picture book? I'm happy.
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