Puffin the Architect
32pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99
Puffin the architect has designed some stunning homes for some fastidious clients, having to take into account their particular needs. For instance, Platypus the baker’s riverbank home needed “lots of clever cupboards full of flour, salt and yeast” while Giraffe the gardener needed “a rolling outdoor tub on wheels for soaking aching necks”.
But her new clients are the most discerning and needy of all, for they are her own children and all they want is a puffin cottage. Can she deliver?
This is an intriguing, engaging and very clever book on as many levels as there are in Puffin’s designs.
Firstly, all the illustrations of the different homes are presented as cross-sections, a technique which not only allows a peek inside to show all the details but which also appeals enormously to young readers who feel as though they are inside the house and can search for all the things in the text. The text itself is also very clever as it builds through the story. Each successive client wants what the previous clients have had – clever cupboards; furniture that folds away; a tunnel system; a pulley-operated rack; a skylight;, a rolling, outdoor paddling pool… but also something extra specific to their needs. And so the text builds over each spread with each device then being customised to fit the client’s particular demands. And if that is not enough, it is all in rhyme making for an absorbing read that holds the reader’s attention. What more could the pufflings actually want that their mother hasn’t already included in other designs?
With so much interest in designing and making and appraising the results as we encourage our students to be creative and think laterally, this is a book that could be used in so many ways within the curriculum. Children could be encouraged to choose another creature and consider their needs so they could then design a home for them; they could investigate the purpose and construction of cross-sections and how to draw and label them; or they could explore other books where the text is cumulative.
Different, distinctive and a valuable addition to your collection.