Little Puffin's First Flight
Written by Jonathan London; Illustrated by Jon Van Zyle
Alaska Northwest Books, 2015, Ages 4-8
This fiction story is about a two puffins who meet at sea and then decide that they want to have a baby. The story follows the little family consisting of Father Puffin, Mother Puffin and Little Puffin and shows a brief life cycle that a puffin goes through. In the story there are three puffins and a gull. There is not a lot of internal conflict with any of the characters but there is some external conflict in this book. There are some adventures that characters go on such as finding food and how it can be hard sometimes and there is also learning how to fly. This book shows the life of the puffin family have a chick, raise it and then watch it learn to fly. This book is fiction, but the actions of the puffins are all actual actions the puffins would do in real life.
The author, Jonathan London, has his own unique writing style that sets him apart from others. In this book he uses a lot of onomatopoeia which helps give the book more character and makes it more fun to read for little kids. An example of this is, “Finally, in the cliff-top nest, there’s a tap! tap! tap!”. Additionally, something that stands out is whenever he uses onomatopoeia, he makes those words look different from the rest. For instance, sometimes he will change the font of the words, he will make them bold, or he will make them go in different directions.
The Illustrations in this book are wonderfully done and are painted by Jon Van Zyle. He tends to stick to earth tone colors such as blues, browns, greens, blacks and yellows. All of the paintings are very realistically done and are appealing to the eye. I think that the painting that is most effective in developing the story is near the end of the book where it shows Little Puffin jumping off the cliff for the first time. I think that it is a powerful part of the book because it represents the independence of getting older and learning to do things on your own for the first time.
I think that this is a good book and both parents and kids would enjoy it. Kids are able to relate to this book because it shows a puffin being born and growing up. Kids are at the point where they are learning to do things on their own but still need their parents help and this book shows that process with the puffin. Adults, and even kids, like to feel independent and like they can do things on their own so I think that no matter who is reading it, they can relate to the puffins. Parents also may like this book and can relate to this book because it shows the parents taking care of Little Puffin and they can relate because they take care of their kids every day. Additionally, this book does a good job at not only telling a story but showing the life of a puffin and giving indirect facts as well. All of the facts about this book check out so kids are not only reading a story but learning about a species of birds as well. Overall, this is a good book and would be a good book to have on a bookshelf both at school and at home.
Reviewed by Kelly Vantrease