Category Archives: Kaye Webb

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!

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

Puffin Publications…

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.

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.

Puffin Post no.1 pages 7 and 8

Here is the correspondents page – well, letters to Kaye that became the first letters to Puffin Post. The comments could have been made yesterday! (Apart from the lack of reference to the internet, mobile phones and JK Rowling!). The facing page is the first of three pages to tease and test the avid reader of 1966. Can you identify who the first three are?

I’m pleased to say that I scored rather well, as did my daughters.

Image from the collection of Ruth – Founder member 1487 – Restored S. Hassan Nov 2008

Puffin Post no.1 pages 5 and 6

It’s only been a couple of days, but this one was very easy to prepare. Here is the very first author ‘profile’ article. This is a lot of fun for a tiny piece.

I remember the days when Harry Potter didn’t grace our shelves – the only books of magic that made the ‘hot list’ were by the likes of Alan Garner, Susan Cooper (Dark is Rising Sequence) and Tolkien.

As a little aside, it seems strange today to know that Kaye Webb’s predecessor, Eleanor Graham, rejected The Hobbit as she thought children wouldn’t be interested! It was probably a sign that it was time for someone new to take the reins! Kaye spotted Stig of the Dump, which had been rejected by the other publishing houses (and it’s still in print!).

Image from the collection of Ruth – Founder member 1487 – Restored S. Hassan Nov 2008

Puffin Post no.1 pages 3 and 4

Slightly earlier than planned – here are pages 3 and 4! Of course, now that we have digital presses and (almost) everything is computerised, things have changed slightly. It’s funny to have a Puffin Post without the presence of Jill McDonald on every page – but important none the less.

For those who are interested, the first Puffin Post was only 10.5cm x 7cm – the same size as the old membership books!

Image from the collection of Ruth – Founder member 1487 – Restored S. Hassan Nov 2008

Puffin Post no.1 pages 1 and 2

Here are the promised first pages of Puffin Post number 1 (in fact I don’t think it can really be said to have a number, but I have to call it something). It’s wonderful to read Kaye’s words in the light of the rebirth of the club. It’s very poignant considering the upcoming 70th anniversary of Puffin books.

Image from the collection of Ruth – Founder member 1487 – Restored S. Hassan Oct 2008

How rare is this?

Very rare! This is the cover of the very first Puffin Post – pre Puffin Club – which was circulated in selected books in 1966. We are very lucky that Ruth saved this amazing piece of history. As you would expect, it hasn’t escaped some wear and tear, but it has been kept very well and restoring this has proved less eye-crossing than most.

To view the ENTIRE contents of this slice of Puffinalia, return to this blog in the weeks leading up to Christmas and I will endeavour to get it posted fairly regularly.

Thanks again Ruth!

Image from the collection of Ruth – Founder member 1487 – Restored S. Hassan Oct 2008