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Little Puffins First Flight

by London, Jonathan

Kirkus A horned puffin hatches, grows and flies for the first time on the Alaskan coast.London's characteristically lyrical, clipped free verse describes the meeting of two puffins, followed by nesting, tending their single egg and the hatching of their "hungry gray fuzz-ball." Taking turns to guard the chick and hunt, Mother and Father Puffin raise Little Puffin to fledging. One night, spectacularly foregrounded against the rising moon by Van Zyle in three successive spreads, Little Puffin makes his way to the edge of the cliff and then jumps, first falling and then flyingto find his own mate four years later. With the exception of naming his puffin family, London largely avoids anthropomorphizing his subjects even as he uses figurative language his preschool audience will understand: "Dressed in her life jacket / of carefully fluffed feathers, / Mother Puffin bobs like a cork / in the icy cold ocean." Scientific facts (puffins have heavy bones; their predators include gulls) are woven neatly into the brief, just-dramatic-enough narrative. Van Zyle keeps his palette realistically limited to cold grays and blues except for that tremendous yellow moon and the puffins' beaks, relying on shifts in perspective and scale to maintain visual interest. In one humorous image, three herrings droop comically from Father Puffin's beak. A two-page author's note provides further information. A bracing nature adventure for animal-loving preschoolers. (Informational picture book. 2-6) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Horn Book Little Puffin is born on a cliffside and cared for by his parents until the time comes for him to strike out on his own. In a lyrical text, London traces the life cycle of a horned puffin, from mating to nesting to first flight; Van Zyle's somewhat fuzzy paintings alternate close-up views of the birds with sweeping landscapes. An author's note provides more information. (c) Copyright 2015. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal PreS-Gr 3-After 42 days of caring for their egg in the nest, mother and father puffin are about to meet their "hungry, gray fuzzball"of a chick as he taps his way out. It is spring on the coast of Alaska and the baby puffin is hungry. The parents take turns bringing fish back to the rocky ledge where little puffin waits. It isn't always easy, as there are many predators (gulls, eagles, falcons) trying to grab the puffins for themselves. For six weeks the adult puffins care for the baby. One night, when little puffin's wing feathers have grown in, he leaps into the air and tumbles over the cliff. "Just as he's about to crash into the sea, Little Puffin spreads his wings and takes off!" At four years old, Little Puffin will choose a mate for himself, and they will raise a chick of their own. London's captivating prose appears at various places on the page and utilizes size changes and text shaping to add drama to the fact-infused narrative. Van Zyle's beautiful, full-bleed paintings use a palette of mostly blacks, blues, and grays, while a bright yellow moon illuminates Little Puffin's first flight. An author's note provides more information. VERDICT A recommended purchase for most collections.-Sara-Jo Lupo Sites, George F. Johnson Memorial Library, Endicott, NY Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.