Written and Illustrated by Petr Horáček
Candlewick Press, 2011
This is Peter.
This is Paul.
Did You Know? Puffins shed their colorful bills after the spring breeding season.
Peter and Paul are best friend puffins who have a wonderful time together. One day, a storm comes up while they’re playing and the wind blows Peter far out to sea. He has no idea where he is or how to find Paul again. A blue whale volunteers to help him find Paul and asks for a description. Peter says he’s funny and noisy, so the whale takes him to an island with a flock of parrots. Peter agrees that they’re funny and noisy, but points out that Paul’s feathers are black and white. The whale then takes him to the home of some penguins. Peter points out that Paul’s beak is very colorful, so the whale takes him to meet a toucan. Peter is disappointed and missing his friend. After a few days of swimming around, the whale spies some tiny islands and swims toward them. He sees a funny, noisy puffin with black and white feathers and a colorful beak and Peter is overjoyed to see his friend. The whale says Peter should have told him that Paul was a puffin, just like him.
Author Petr Horáček has written lots of books and most of them are about animals, so I had lots to choose from for this month’s theme. I adore puffins, especially when I can watch them zip around underwater, where it looks like they’re flying. Peter and Paul appear to be Atlantic Puffins, which are the smallest of the species. This delightful story is really all about perception and knowledge, reminding readers to think about what you know and what others know and how easy it is to take for granted that others always have the same facts that you do. Of course, if Peter had pointed out that Paul was also a puffin right from the start, the outcome would have been very different. The mixed media illustrations are bold and colorful, with lots of expressiveness, and the text is simple, with some repetition in it that makes it a great choice for early readers.
And what did we learn? What I take away from this book is that sometimes the big picture can get lost in the little details.