I am surprised and pleased to report that the BBC Radio 4 series, Great Lives, is honouring Kaye Webb.
I’m surprised as I would have thought that she would have been the subject long ago, but equally pleased that this is being rectified.
Kaye was nominated by old Puffineer Janet Ellis, the former Blue Peter presenter and author. Janet isn’t the only BBC R4 presenter to be an old Puffineer – Presenter and Comedian, Sue Perkins revealed that she too was a member during one of her last appearances on Radio 4’s ‘Just a Minute’ before she became the new host.
I was approached by the series producer to fill in some gaps about Kaye and the Puffin Club, although the biography ‘So much to tell’ by Valerie Grove has been of great help. So far, I don’t know if or who else is being brought in as part of the programme. As Great Lives is one of the few BBC radio series that don’t disappear from the BBC website after being broadcast, I will add a permanent link along with the Desert Island Discs programme that Kaye recorded – which is still available.
After a seriously long break, here is a copy of the first issue of Puffin Post. Creating an online version has always been the aim of this site:
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 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.
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.
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.
Slightly out of season, but fun none-the-less.
Featuring a short story by Leon Garfield, and in depth guide on how a book is published by Felicity Trotman, a centre spread on mask making, a profile of author Dorothy Crayder, a charming piece by Violet Bibby on finding Treasure (stories) from the past and photos from two forthcoming adaptations – Southern TV’s ‘The Ravelled Thread’ and BBC TV’s ‘The Enchanted Castle’.
Not a bad little collection!
Another amazing Quentin Blake cover – you will probably have seen this one as part of the publicity for the new club. It’s certainly a vivid piece of work, and again, one of my favourites.
Slightly drier content in this one! A historical story by Barbara Willard entitled ‘Save England!’, a story ‘The Siege of Trapp’s Mill’ by Annabel Farjeon, A piece about the author John Masefield (The Midnight Folk etc.), and a more adventurous tale by Peter Dickinson -‘Up and Beyond’.
Jill McDonald has two nice scale pieces – Part 6 of Odways ‘Tales of the Golden Fleas’ and a short-lived character ‘McDonald McDonald’ – the arch detector of useless (but fascinating) information.