Tag Archives: Puffin

Kensy and Max #7: Take Down – Jacqueline Harvey


Penguin Australia

March 2 2021

  • ISBN: 9781760898533
  • Imprint: Puffin
  • RRP: $16.99

The countdown to Take Down is on! The kiddos are going to be wild with excitement to read this new adventure with the spies-in-training, as they set off for the World STEM championships in exotic Singapore. The team from the Central London Free School are thrilled to be in the finals for the world’s most prestigious STEM competition but when their grandmother, Dame Cordelia Spencer, falls victim to a poison attack, Kensy and Max are not so keen on going ahead with the trip. However, they are persuaded by their parents and friends that not only will they be safer in Singapore but that their obligation to the team is more important than sitting around in a hospital waiting room. Naturally, that proves dead wrong as the twins and their friends become embroiled with an illegal animal smuggling operation, the very dangerous villain who has been pursuing their family and the mystery surrounding their friend Autumn’s missing parents.

Once again Jacqueline Harvey has hit on a winning combination, combining the growing concerns around the illegal trade in exotic species and STEM, which is arguably the hottest topic in education at present, not to mention the reference to the dangerous nerve drug which was the subject of a recent (and huge) political attack. Kensy and Max prove themselves to be increasingly resourceful and creative and the growing emphasis on their friends’ skills and aptitudes, and their developing teamwork, will provide fans with more rich fodder for discussion and engagement. This underlining of family and friends being vital to our overall safety, success and achievements (no matter how talented we may be as individuals) is a valuable point of reflection for readers.

For those who have not had the pleasure of visiting Singapore it is a thoroughly delightful vicarious tourist experience, highlighting the best of the iconic sights and experiences to be found in this amazing city/country. Though the Kid has spent a week there, I’ve only had the brief encounter with a stop-over in the airport, sadly, and would love to see more of this vibrant and beautiful place – maybe one day!

There is never any need to ‘sell’ Jacqueline’s books, but this comes with my highest recommendation for your readers from around Year 4 upwards as the series gets edgier, more exciting and more in-depth with each new volume. Available for pre-order now, so don’t miss out – your kids will be waiting very impatiently for it to hit your shelves!!

Puffin’s 80th Anniversary!


Generations of children have grown up with Puffin Books and I am one of those. I was a voracious reader from the age of three but my first memory of Puffins is around my 7th birthday when I received my copy of Alice in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass. I still have it, albeit, as you can see from the photo, it’s a little worse for wear, after many repeated readings. In the (many) ensuing years there have been many Puffins read and quite a number of those have remained firmly on my shelves.

You can well imagine my pleasure when in primary school our reading program consisted of a steady diet of Puffin books with the accompanying ‘comprehension’ activities. I didn’t need to be encouraged – I just ‘ate’ my way steadily through them all and was especially delighted with titles that I didn’t have on my home bookshelf.

Now the iconic ‘children’s branch’ of Allen Lane’s vision for books for all is turning 80 and the celebrations are happening worldwide. Read Dot Tonkin’s article about the history and the future of Puffin here.

There will be several posts around the anniversary on this blog but the first is for this gorgeous omnibus of stories from leading authors, illustrators and poets.

The Puffin Book of Big Dreams

Penguin Australia

  • September 2020
  • ISBN: 9780241438206
  • Imprint: Puffin
  • RRP: $32.99

Showcasing the work of such stellar talents as Jacqueline Wilson, Malorie Blackman, Anne Fine, Jamie Littler, Jeremy Strong, Tom Fletcher, Sam Copeland, Ed Vere, Nadia Shireen along with such firm family favourites as Eric Carle, Beatrix Potter, Allan Ahlberg, Michael Morpurgo, Julia Donaldson and Roald Dahl this is a kaleidoscope of creativity. But it’s not just about the stories, poems and illustrations as it includes quotes and anecdotes from leading scientists, actors and world leaders outlining their own dreams.

The absolutely glorious dust-jacket sparkles with all the pizzazz one would expect from such a momentous ‘party’ book and it would undoubtedly be a coveted gift either for a special little reader – or frankly, yourself!

This will be a volume into which children will dip again and again, re-visiting their favourites and one which will become a treasured memory of their childhood reading – just as my Puffin memories are :-).

With Christmas fast approaching this will make a very welcome stocking stuffer for any lucky reader. I urge you to pick up a copy and take delight in the beautiful wealth within.

Here are some personal Puffin favourites from my long-distant primary school days – but there are just so many from which to choose! As well – another still on my shelves the Laura Ingalls Wilder collection which my dear mum bought me as part of my 21st birthday gift – proving indeed that you never outgrow Puffins!

Let’s Celebrate Books 2019


A few weeks ago my beautiful friends at Penguin Random House sent me the loveliest box of goodies – some gorgeous Puffin books both new and classic from board book to YA – along with a whole pile of delicious things to share like activities and stickers. Did you know that Puffin books, the children’s imprint of Penguin, has been in existence since 1940? Many many of my childhood reads came from the Puffin nest and I retain fond memories of them all.

It was pretty exciting to open such a treasure trove of books and other items and immediately I knew I would use them, for the most part, to celebrate International Children’s Book Day, which I had already earmarked in my calendar of weekly library themes for this term.

Of course there is also World Book Day and the Penguin website has many marvellous ideas to celebrate this but traditionally I have chosen to celebrate ICBD which is usually recognised on or around the birth date of Hans Christian Andersen on 2nd April.

In previous years I have screened the gorgeous Danny Kaye movie of Andersen’s life with lots of accompanying activities. This year, as well as the  Puffin activities, we will be cross stitching bookmarks as part of my craft/Clever Fingers program (available from Baker Ross) which I bought last year in one of their super sales.  I will also share tips and information with parents and teachers such as that from the Penguin site and continue sharing my passion for kids’ reading.

I’d love to hear about any events or activities that you are planning for your young readers.

Meanwhile, happy reading!!