If You Give the Puffin a Muffin
Little Puffin’s patience is again being tested in this rambunctious follow-up picture book to The Angry Little Puffin by Timothy Young. Kids are going to giggle and chortle all the way through, If You Give the Puffin a Muffin.
On par with Young’s previous picture books, it is fun and clever with references to the author’s other titles, as well as other children’s classics. The adults in the room will grin when they spy the book Puffin is holding in the first few pages: So Long, a Thanks for All the Fish by Douglas Adams. This reviewer won’t give away the rest of the punny book titles, but readers beware—it may be a challenge to name them all!
Like Young’s other titles, this book invites the reader to participate in the reading adventure. Similar in style to Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! by Mo Willems, kids will anticipate the mayhem as it grows. Some children won’t be able to stay seated as the story progresses. Instead, they will want to stand up and cheer on Puffin as he passionately tries to convince the narrator he does not eat, nor does he even like, muffins. Of course this makes Puffin “go on a bit of a rant.” And thus the story revs up.
The book’s palette is reminiscent of every energetic crayon in the box, while the narrator’s white-colored text draws us further into the story. Puffin’s anti-muffin-esque dialog is represented in a suitable shade of agitated blue. The last few pages offer the reader a surprise twist.
A word about the “puffin” in the room. Anger. It escalates at the end into a scene when Puffin throws the muffin at “someone’s” head. A parent or teacher may wonder if there might have been some other way to creatively depict Puffin’s anger rather than hurl an object at a person, even if the person is the one responsible for the mayhem. But perhaps it cracks the door open to a discussion about feelings and “acting out” our anger. And it might open up the discussion to what other options we have at our disposal when we feel anger building inside. If so, it’s brilliant.
A picture book’s endpapers often offer some added fun. Puffin may not like muffins, but the endpaper sections sure do! They might even become a fun count-the-muffins game. Yum.