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!
Despite the lack of a fifth (let alone a fourth) birthday celebration for the new Puffin Post, this is the photo-montage for the celebratory issue of Puffin Post by Jill McDonald. Something of a return to her previous use of photos and other material in conjunction with her unique and idiosyncratic artwork.
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.
We all find it hard to work to a timetable – it restricts us and binds us, but this is a lovely one that was given away to Puffineers courtesy of the pen of Jill McDonald. Its only downside is that I would have hated to write on it and ruin its beautiful proportions and balance.
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
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.
|Founders card with badge attached
Here’s the Founder card, purchased at great expense! Most of these were crumpled up, lost or just thrown away!
As regular visitors to the blog will know, I was pipped to the post by the author of ‘Puffin by Design’ for one of these a while ago, and it took a fair bit of searching, waiting, and just plain luck to get hold of this.
This one needed a fair bit of restoring to its current minty fresh look.
It’s a great example of Jill’s lovely calligraphy and a great way to see both styles of her graphic design work.
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.
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.
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.