Title: Puffin the Architect
Written and illustrated by Kimberly Andrews
Published by Penguin Random House
RRP: $24.99 (AUD, hbk)

Puffin the architect has a big job ahead of her. She is to design a house to suit two young puffins. Not just any two puffins, these puffins are very fussy. So Puffin shows them many types of designs, from different types of animals. There is Platypus the baker, Otter’s fishing boat, a toolshed for Pig and even a backyard shed for Giraffe. But nothing suits and Puffin is about to give up, until she finally has the ultimate idea and the perfect plan.

The verbal text of this large format picture book is in well-worked rhyme. As each animal’s home is introduced, an extra feature is added to the list. These include clever cupboards, fold away furniture, tunnel systems, and other ingenious features. Young listeners will enjoy the repetitiveness of this text while learning how these features change for each animal. The design of the double page spreads encourages the viewer to be part of the narrative with the pages unframed, with the exception of the verbal text. This is framed as a planning document, with Puffin’s Puffin Design logo, client’s and project name, design sketches and design features, the latter making up the verbal text. This is then placed as part of the illustrative text, ensuring there is a seamless collaboration between visual and verbal texts.

Puffin is such a persistent architect, and she needs to be! This is such a perfect book for young ones for so many reasons. It will join the ever-growing group of books about makers and designers, offering ideas and solutions. The read aloud qualities are many. The large format size will enable an audience to participate as the rhyming text flows beautifully. There is a lot of detail in the visuals, which will be studied by inquisitive readers again and again.

This is an exciting new publication. An absolute must for school and public libraries, and for private collections.

Activity Suggestions

  • Before reading, research puffins. Find out what they eat, where they live, shelter and life cycle. List what you might include if designing a home for them.
  • After reading, discuss the many features of the various animals’ homes. Brainstorm as a class other fun features you might include in a home.
  • Have each child design a part of a home just for them, or an entire home, using features from the previous point.
  • Invite an architect to visit the class to talk about their job.
  • Using small boxes, have the children make a 3D model of their home. They then choose one aspect to add to their home for a specific purpose, such as a flying fox to the backyard or a pulley system for food from the kitchen. They then design their new addition.

Download the Puffin Activity Pack here.

Many thanks to Penguin Random House for supplying this book for review.