The Puffins Are Back!

Book: The Puffins Are Back!
Author and Illustrator: Gail Gibbons
Publisher: HarperCollins, 1991
ISBN-13: 978-0060216030
ISBN-10: 0060216034
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Reading level: Ages 8 – 10
Rating: ***** 5 stars (EXCELLENT)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
Disclosure: Any books donated for review purposes are in turn donated to a library. No other compensation has been received for the reviews posted on Home School Book Review.
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Gibbons, Gail. The Puffins Are Back! (published in 1991 by HarperCollins). Do you know what a puffin is? Puffins are seabirds, and every year, in the spring, after months of living on the open sea, far away from land, these colorful birds return to the rocky coast of Maine for only a short time, to mate and to raise their young. Not too long ago, the arrival of spring brought fewer and fewer puffins back to Maine. So many birds had been hunted for their meat and feathers that the puffin was in danger of dying out. In 1969, scientists from the National Audubon Society worked out a plan they hoped would insure the survival of Maine’s puffin population. No one was certain if it would work. It would involve many people and many puffins, and it would be years before anyone could say for sure if the project had been successful. However, today it seems clear that the plan has worked very well. Every year more and more puffins return to Maine in the spring. There’s great excitement in the air when the call goes out. The puffins are back!

We checked this book, which was one of the Outstanding Science Trade Books for Children in 1991, out of the library when our older son Mark was in second grade to accompany his homeschool science studies which included a unit on different kinds of birds. It has a direct and simple writing style that points out the uniqueness of these seabirds. The bright, watercolor illustrations highlight their yellow beaks during breeding season; the burrows that serve as nests for single eggs; and the annual return to their birthplaces to hatch new chicks, reflecting island topography and surrounding seascapes. Gail Gibbons, who has been called “a master of children’s non-fiction” by the ALA Booklist, has created over one hundred entertaining, eye-catching books that explain how things work, including Beacons of Light: Lighthouse and Penguins!

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