Monday, December 30, 2019

These Birds Would Get a Speeding Ticket on City Routes

Puffins Take Flight: Iceland: The Puffin Explorers Series Book I

Author and Photographer: Ra Anderson
Publisher: My Favorite Books Publishing Company, Kingston, GA, 2019


My wife and I recently came back from a fantastic two-week plus trip to Alaska – inland first plus down the coast with our own lovely verandah cabin. One of her favorite sights was all the Puffins we saw, albeit the Pacific variety. She was thrilled with their antics and could watch them for hours. So, it was a no brainer when I was offered this book to review. And given the fact that we still had two young grandchildren (age two and five), I set aside my rule of almost always preferring non-fiction to fiction and agreed to read this wonderful book.
(A picture I took recently in Alaska.)

Ra Anderson, a professional photographer agreed to help work on her son’s destination wedding – to Iceland of all places.  On the ‘advance’ trip to finalize all the arrangements she fell in love with Iceland’s puffins and her camera went into full operation. Add to that her love for nature, her love of children (she has three), and her desire “to intrigue and engage children on multiple levels and topics, with books that will leave them wanting more and challenge them to look further, dig deeper, for more information in the future”, and this first book of a series was the result.
The book is beautifully attractively illustrated, bright colors, a great ‘story’ of two pufflins (young ones, aka chicks), coupled with a slew of fun ‘facts’. It’s a great combination that keeps the reader intrigued, wanting to continue the story but also wanting to understand why the story is the way it is (based on actual knowledge about puffins) at each step of the way. For example, I learned that puffins can fly at speeds up to 55 mph and could win Olympic diving medals if they were allowed to compete. And there are other facts about their life, love, and responsibilities.
The author tells a story and teaches at the same time in a most acceptable way. She, like most writers today, makes one or two references to the damage that climate change is causing, although she does it gingerly and not enough to offend those that may not agree with her.
Anderson has me hooked and I’m prepared to set my ‘reading only non-fiction’ rules aside when Book II comes out.
There’s also a great glossary section at the back of the book which helps both child and adult learn. As a very minimum, Anderson will entice you to visit the great land of Iceland, which I found out was originally named Snow Land.  That name brought too many tourists and the name was changed to what it is today to scare some of them off.  Of course, now tourism in Iceland exceeds the estimated population and is most welcomed. The book contains many more facts about puffins and Iceland.
Highly recommended for young children who can’t yet read but love to have adults read to them, or for older ones who can read.
Ken B. Godevenos, President, Accord Resolutions Services Inc., Toronto, Ontario, December 30, 2019, www.accordconsulting.com

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