If You Give the Puffin a Muffin, by Timothy Young, (Sept. 2018, Schiffer Publishing), $16.99, ISBN: 9780764355523
If you enjoyed Timothy Young’s The Angry Little Puffin (2014), you’re going to laugh out loud at this sequel, which takes aim at some of our favorite kids’ books. With text that starts like another popular series out there – “If you give the puffin a muffin…”, the book is a vehicle for the Puffin’s dilemma. He doesn’t want a muffin; he doesn’t eat muffins; and he certainly hasn’t agreed to be the star of another book! He turns to another familiar character in the Timothy Young universe for some advice: the boy who starred in I Hate Picture Books, and Do Not Open This Box!, who suggests a magic crayon. We get laugh-out-loud visual jokes, including some suspiciously familiar children’s book icons, including penguins dressed as mice, pigs, and moose; crayons that run away; a magic door opening into a forest, where a surprised little girl drops her red crayon, and a mysterious little boy peeking out of a purple-shaded door that seems to have come from… well, nowhere. Timothy Young turns the joke on himself as the Puffin meets his author, and gives him a piece of his mind. And a muffin.
If You Give the Puffin a Muffin is funny, witty, and just plain smart. The visual jokes make the book, and the curmudgeonly Puffin is too much fun to read and follow. The endpapers – naturally, all different types of muffins – let readers in on the joke early on. This one’s a good storytime book, and offers a fun chance to have readers spot characters and moments they recognize from other books. A fun add!
Do Not Open the Box, by Timothy Young (Dec. 2015, Schiffer Books), $16.99, ISBN: 9780764350436
Recommended for ages 3-6
A little boy named Benny sees a box with a sign taped to it that says, “DO NOT OPEN”. Well, that just sends Benny’s imagination into overdrive: what could be in the box? Could it be something cool, like the robot he’s wanted? Or could it be something scary, like a monster? Maybe his sister put something in there to scare him!
The cartoony artwork is printed against a background made to look like corrugated cardboard, making the story look like it’s been written and drawn on a cardboard box. Sentences are simple and short, written in a rounded font and in blue to stand out against the brown cardboard background. Each spread has Benny wondering what could be in the box, and a rendering of his imagination. Kids will have loads of fun with this book: especially with the end reveal.
Bring out your own box for storytime, and have kids guess what could be in it! They can draw what they think, or they can call it out, but it’ll get their minds working and they’ll learn more about how guessing can lead us to the answers, if you provide hints and information as you go along. I could hide a teddy bear in a box and tell the kids that something furry is in the box; using trial and error, they can figure it out.
I read this book with my 3 year-old, and he loved it. He had a fun time guessing what was really going to be in the box, because nothing was too outlandish for us! “Could there be an OCTOPUS in the box? How about a REAL DINOSAUR?” Have fun with a read-aloud!
Timothy Young also wrote The Angry Little Puffin, which is an adorable book that G-man (my little guy) LOVES. Now that I’m remembering that, I need to order that for my library, too; that’s a great storytime book, and so is Do Not Open the Box. Give your readers’ imaginations a workout and add this one to your collection.
Am I Big Enough?: A Fun Little Book on Manners, by Julia Pinckney/Illustrated by Timothy Young (Jan. 2016, Schiffer Publishing), $16.99, ISBN: 9780764350535
Recommended for ages 3-6
A little boy named Finn watches his family as they go about their daily activities and wonders if he is big enough to do the same things. Finn knows his hands are smaller than his daddy’s, but they are big enough to do lots of things on their own – and he invites other kids to see how big they are, too!
Each spread poses one of Finn’s questions: Am I big enough to say please? Am I big enough to be quiet in the library? On the right hand side of the page is a handprint where children can place their hands to see if, like Finn, they are big enough to handle the task at hand. Bold fonts and colors exclaim, “I AM BIG ENOUGH!” With every spread, both Finn and the readers gain confidence because they’re big enough to do a lot more than they may think.
For toddlers and preschoolers that may be hearing about all the things they aren’t allowed to do because they’re too little, a book like Am I Big Enough? shows them all the things they are big enough to do; they’re big enough to share, big enough to shake hands, and big enough to show everyone around them how fantastic they are. It’s an empowering book for little ones that could work in a smaller story time, where each child gets a chance to find out if he or she is big enough. I read this with my 3 year-old and he LOVED it. It’s gone into our daily storytime rotation, and now he’s got no problem letting our family know that he’s big enough to do “LOTS OF THINGS”.
A good addition to collections for a toddler and preschool population, and a good recommendation for anyone who needs empowering books for their little ones.
Have a look at more pages from Am I Big Enough?
The Angry Little Puffin, by Timothy Young (Sept. 2014, Schiffer Publishing), $16.99, ISBN: 978-0-7643-4387
Recommended for ages 5-8
“Oh, look at that cute little penguin!” This little puffin has had it up to HERE with being mistaken for a penguin, and he’s going to let everyone know the differences between puffins and penguins – RIGHT NOW.
What follows is an adorably illustrated lesson on puffins: where they live, what they eat, different types of puffins, and their ability to fly (versus flightless penguins). The puffin’s rant isn’t fruitless; he discovers that there’s at least one little girl out there who understands the difference between penguins and puffins, something that hopefully tides him over for the next round of onlookers ready to see the “happy little penguin”.
What a great way to conduct a nature lesson! I’d love to use this book in an animal storytime, and I’d love to see teachers using this book in their Kindergarten and first grade classes. The illustrations are adorable, eye-catching, and use bright colors (especially on the puffin’s beak!). Fonts are large, in word balloons to denote dialogue, and bolded for easy reading. The puffin has character, with facial expressions and body gestures that teachers can use for emphasis during a read-aloud, and that kids will immediately recognize, whether it’s frustration or happiness.
The Angry Little Puffin just published on September 28, so ask your bookstore to order a copy, or buy it on Amazon.com.