- Puffling Patrol
Using text, field sketches, and full-page watercolor illustrations, husband and wife team Ted and Betsy Lewin detail their visit to the island of Heimaey (off the coast of Iceland). They accompany two child members of the "Puffling Patrol" (who rescue newly hatched puffins that become disoriented and lost on their way to the sea) and observe as the children find, care for, and release the baby pufflings. Although the Lewins' narrative is somewhat dry, the clear writing and measured tone help make this exotic event accessible for children who have no prior knowledge of this locale or annual event. Kids will also appreciate the child-hero aspect of the tale, and animal lovers will particularly enjoy following the details of the puffling rescue and release process. Occasionally, stiffly posed human figures or garish coloring cause the otherwise effective full-page watercolor illustrations to stumble, but the field sketches (done in pen and ink and watercolor) are wonderfully vigorous and expressive with just a minimum of detail; the two different illustrative styles clash more than complement, but kids eager for the puffling details may not be bothered by the visual mismatch. The Lewins' outsider perspective gives this title a slightly different approach than McMillan's photo-illustrated Nights of the Pufflings (BCCB 3/95), which drops readers right into the action; while McMillan's is the more gripping account of the two, the Lewins' book is certainly a useful companion title. End matter includes additional facts about puffins and the island, a bibliography, and a helpful glossary and pronunciation guide.