Sorry I haven’t been up to the mark for a long while – it’s been……well, you know how it is.
This lovely image was one of Jill’s ‘banner’ illustrations that appeared on the opening pages of Puffin Post.
The mysterious letter was one from Prince Philip (D of E) congratulating Puffineers for raising money to buy the length of coast that is still a Puffin Sanctuary.
For those of you with an enquiring mind into the history of Puffinalia, there are two new publications available which may be of interest. The first is the biography of Kaye Webb – ‘So Much To Tell‘ by Valerie Grove. The second is the previously mentioned ‘Puffin by Design: 70 Years of Imagination 1940 – 2010‘ by Phil Baines. I have, as yet, not read these books, so I am not in a position to recommend or criticise either of them.
I was very touched to be contacted by Thomas Thurman who had his poem published in Puffin Post all those years ago. Thomas has continued with poetry and he has kindly allowed me to publish an excerpt from a more recent poem. I know that my interest in poetry was sparked by Kaye Webb and her championing poetry for children. For some of us it has become something more:
Thank you so much for your Puffin Club blog. It was a joy to relive some of the best memories of my childhood through its pages. I’m glad that they’ve started it up again so that the happiness will continue for another generation.I don’t usually explain these things, but in my sonnet “Two poems“, the sestet is about a poem of mine that Puffin Post published when I was eleven or so:
…I wrote another poem, as a kid
another paper bought it for a prize.
Ten thousand pairs of eyes saw what I did.
I wonder if, from all those pairs of eyes,
still, somewhere on this planet, I might find
some reader with my poem in their mind.
A big thank you to Thomas for allowing me to share his thoughts and his poetry with you.
This isn’t just a wonderful piece of Puffinalia and history. It also gives another insight into the character of Kaye Webb. I was recently contacted by a former member of the Puffin staff with a plea for other colleagues to get in touch.
I’ve just come across your website and thought you might be interested in the photo I’m attaching! I used to work for Kaye Webb and one year (around 1975) she had these scarves made and given to everyone who worked in Puffins. (As far as I remember, there were around 11 scarves!) I’ve managed to keep – and wear on occasion – mine for all these years and I’d love to know if anyone else still has theirs! Would be grateful for any ideas about how to get in touch with them.
All the best,
Marilyn Foufouti (nee Taylor)
If any of you are out there reading the blog, I will be happy to put you all in touch.
A real opportunity for puffinophiles has cropped up! The Royal Academy of Music has put Yehudi Menuhin’s puffin badges on display for object of the month – they were chosen as the April (fools) object(s) of the month. This is the only opportunity that you will have to see the Presidents special ‘Gold’ badge.
It looks a deep orange/red version of the founders badge. As I mentioned in a previous posting, this was given by Kaye Webb to Menuhin on his acceptance of the role of President of the Puffin Club after the death of the previous President, Sir Allen Lane.
I would like to thank the Royal Academy of Music for contacting me regarding these rare items – it has given me the excuse to express my admiration for an extraordinary man whose world view was so enlightened. I will be posting a more expansive post on Menuhin and his involvement with the club shortly.
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!
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.
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.
I know that these pages are mostly dedicated to the golden age Puffin Club, but for those of you who have been holding off giving your younger reader (6+) a membership of Puffin Post – hesitate no longer. January sees the launch of Puffin Post for ‘Pufflings’.
I’ve only seen the launch info in the latest copy of Puffin Post, but this looks like the new incarnation of ‘The Egg’.
Incidentally, the latest issue of Puffin Post is the most art focused yet! Nice one Ptolemy!
A seriously overdue restoration – and a blinder! For those of you who don’t know the Happy Lion books (rather quirkily translated from the French), Jill’s artwork is a very faithfull copy of the style.
By this point, I think she had really got into the swing of the covers. The first time I saw this cover I thought it was enchanting – my kids have said the same.
A big apology for all of you who follow this blog – I have literally been working round the clock on other projects, and something had to give! I will do my best to bring you some new things soon.