Category Archives: Jill McDonald

Calling all ex Puffineers!

I am looking for your stories and, if you have them, pictures about your time as members of the Puffin Club from it’s launch in 1967 through to its end in the early 1980’s.

I’m currently pulling everything together for a book to celebrate the Puffin Club in all its glory while us old birds can still remember it all. This is my thank you to the club as 2017 will see its fiftieth anniversary!

It’s been a long time….

I have been away doing lots of other things, feeling safe in the knowledge that a Puffin Post/Puffin Club thing was out there for those that wanted it.

Sadly, I have just received the early Christmas card from the fab team at The Book People, who have been running and publishing the Puffin Post Club, and the news is that they will no longer be running it after Christmas.

Whether this means that it is going to disappear completely, or that Pearson (who own the Puffin brand) will take it on in-house, is not clear.

Despite the challenges of a book club for children in an age when they are increasingly print illiterate, I hope that it can still survive.

In the meantime, here is the first episode of the wonderful Odway strip by Jill McDonald.

More later……..

Joy unbounded…..

This picture was forwarded to me by Nick Campbell who used one of my restorations on a great article on Kaye Webbs biography.  His blog is well worth visiting and is very well written.

This is one of the pictures that have been placed online by the guys at Seven Stories.

This is a picture from the Kaye Webb Archive, and it is evidently a picture of a small part of the body of work that Jill MacDonald created in her time at Puffin.

I know that times are tough, but I would urge support of the work that is done at Seven Stories. The care of literature for children is so important.

Due to requests and comments –  here is a link to Kaye’s page at the Seven Stories website

Four year member card

I received my Four year members badge attached to one of these, but it was so badly crumpled and torn by the badge that it eventually disintegrated. This is a nicely reconstructed one. Like the founders card, it’s about A6 in size. The badge, as regular visitors to the site will know, is black! And yes, I still proudly wear mine….pinned to my battered bush hat.

I love the treatment of the ‘4’! It’s something that Jill seemed to do without any effort.

I don’t know if the new club intends on doing the same thing. From what I’ve seen, it looks like the new badge changes colour each year. 

The BIG 70th Anniversary!!

As I have blathered on many occasions, the 70th anniversary of Puffin books is rapidly looming!

As part of the up-coming attractions Puffin Post is planning a Jill McDonald cover and Puffin Books are having NATIONAL PUFFIN SHARE-A-STORY DAY on 8 May – You can download the party pack from here. There is also a lovely little music video of the old Puffin song (how many of you remember it?).

I will of course post any more news as I get it. I will also list any special reprints of Puffin classics that should be snaffled up for kids and grandkids.

Ooh, I’ve gone all sentimental!

Long time – no blog!

Dear Old Puffineers,

It has been a fairly long time since I’ve had the time to put finger to keyboard and give any news, let alone any pretty pictures.

So, from the top….

I recently spotted a lovely example of a founders badge on ebay (I know I already have one!) but this was still mounted on its presentation card!! Suffice it to say that my budget outstripped my (only) fellow bidder. It is reassuring to know that it has gone to a safe and worthy home – Phil Baines, the author of the upcoming ‘Art of Puffin’ who has kindly allowed me to put a link in to his Flickr page. Thanks Phil!

I have also been contacted by the hard working people at Seven Stories in Newcastle. They are the custodians of the Kaye Webb collection which is due to get an overdue airing as part of the Puffin anniversary celebrations. If you are in the area, or have any love for children’s literature, I would urge you to visit and support them as they are a vital and under celebrated resource for the nation.

As I have said on previous posts, I have been fairly busy of late. I have not been idle though. I have a few choice items to share with you shortly. As you know I have a love of the ‘throw-away’ items, and I have landed a truly marvelous piece of graphic design. I also have a little project under my hat that may (or may not) see the light of this website.

Finally….I was recently contacted by Jill McDonalds daughter who now lives in New Zealand. It was very touching to receive such a lovely email from her – again, it makes it all worth while. I now know who created the Puffin Club code – it was never noted down in sources that I read (unless I missed it):

“I worked at Puffin Books for a couple of years not long after the establishment of the Puffin Club. My job was to answer children’s letters, judge competitions, sign up new members, go on Puffin Club trips and I also had a couple of pages where I published articles, jokes, recipes, etc. I think it was called Glen’s swap page. I also designed the Puffin Club secret code. I was 18 or 19 and new to London.”

Many thanks the Glen, Phil and the many ex puffineers who have contacted me over the past few months. I promise to answer as many of the questions and queries (particularly the one about the mysterious code that appeared to have no published key!) as I can over the next weeks and also give you all some new items to share and enjoy.

Just a bookmark!

A lovely little acquisition – from a very enthusiastic ex-puffineer clearing the decks on eBay. But a beautiful example of Jill McDonalds work. So many of the best pieces of her work are throw-away items like this. A real pleasure to restore.

The back of the original has a list of reading favorites written on it. It’s fascinating to see what someone else saw as vital reading before we had the interweb and cable telly.