Yippee! … maybe.
Puffin Post is back!
I have no memory of being a regular subscriber, though i would have said yes if you’d asked me whether i’d belonged to the Puffin Club and i think there was something like a membership badge. Or that may be a visual memory of the ads for ditto. But i do still own two Puffin Post annuals. And i’m not parting with them. (They’re going pretty slowly on eBay anyway.)
Just the sight of those podgy puffins and that squashed-up handwriting gives me the nostalgic shivers. They seem to be keeping the graphic style 80) though it can’t be the same artist. They’ve gone and used a font instead of that quirky hand-scribbled writing in the speech bubbles. I suppose they can’t be blamed for that.
Of course this time round they have a web presence too. My heart always sinks at that – especially when the raison d’être of a venture is to get (or keep) children into reading. It’s not that i worry very much about privacy. Logging in – as an adult, to find out what Puffin e-Post will be like – i read: ‘We Puffins are very private birds so you can be sure that we will keep your details safe and won’t share them with anyone else. Especially seals – you know how noisy they are.’ Well, that’s no more than i’d expect from a site aimed at children and provided by such a large, respectable company.
But my concern is that Tigger will spend more time on the games than looking at books or learning about the authors. (Naturally they’re going to be selling books as well.) On the tour of Puffin Island, even in Puffin Pavilion, the map location for author interviews, the first person you come across is Madonna. I know she has written a children’s book and is a lot more than a 2D pop star. But for the taster i would have hoped for someone like Michael Morpurgo, Jacqui Wilson or even Terry Pratchett. Because Puffin Pavilion comes before the Lost Library, Madonna turns up ahead of Roald Dahl (with a scene that never made it into the published version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) on the tour. Oh well.
It’s £38 yearly for the special offer, £45 normally (for six issues). That includes delivery of a ‘brilliantly readable book’ which you choose in each issue, but i can’t tell if that means it’s included in the subscription or if you buy it, which would make this a sneaky kind of book catalogue. Surely, for £7.50 per issue, the book must be free. Surely?
So i think i’ll stick to the website because of the price. And if no one else in this house appreciates it – after all, a lot of my wish to become a Very Important Puffineer now comes from my affection for the former Puffin Club – i can enjoy Puffin Post even if it’s all by myself! They haven’t dumbed down too much. The tone is still as i remember – i was afraid they’d have tried to make it ‘cool’ for ‘today’s child’.
Oops, no, you can’t explore Puffin Island without subscribing to the magazine. Not much to look at on the website without that. I’ll give the e newsletters a try… wonder whether there’ll be enough in them on their own. We’ll see.
So, a half-and-half reaction. Disappointment after initally thinking it really was the old Puffin Post reincarnated (silly me); then cynicism, just because i’m a cynic; but still a flutter of excitement. Can’t help it.