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Puffin Books

December 28, 2010 1 comment

Following on from my previous posts on Pelicans and Penguins, I felt it was time for one on Puffins, the junior member of the publishing family, but this time as something more than just a simple gallery.

I recently got Phil Baines’s “Puffin by Design” an excellent illustrated history of the publishing company, and sister volume to his previous (and also excellent) “Penguin by Design”.

I like both of these books very much, as they are very well researched and offer a comprehensive and balanced overview of the titles and design styles which made both editions justly recognised the world over. There is in my view however, an obvious omission from Puffin by Design, which surprises me and has prompted this post.

As a child growing up in the 1970’s, my siblings and I were bought many Puffin titles, and as these books formed such a large part of my childhood reading, have always held a special place in my memories.

I was slightly disappointed then, when reading through Puffin by Design, to find that most of the nearly 60 titles that we still have, were not mentioned in Mr Baines’s book. A large number of these books were collections of short stories or poetry which we got as part of Boxed Sets, and to which I can find no reference in Phil Baines’s book.

The Box sets that we have generally date from the early to mid 1970’s and contain a variety of titles, all of which were previously available separately and most for the princely sum of 20p!

Three of my favourites are shown to the right: The Puffin Box of Bears, The Puffin Storytime Box and Ten Minute Tales.

Ten Minute Tales contained 6 books, all of which have been read many times over (especially the Ted Hughes one) and all of which have beautifully illustrated covers by artists including Prudence Seward, Shirley Hughes and George Adamson, who also provide black and white line drawings within the book itself.

So whilst I accept that with a company as prolific as Puffin, and with an audience as nit-picky as me, it was always going to be difficult to cover every aspect of the Puffin legacy, I do think it’s a shame that very little reference is made to the period in the early to mid Seventies which I remember so fondly, and which to me epitomises Puffin Books.

Some of my other favourite Puffin covers can be found here

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