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Yippee! … maybe.

Friday 19 September 2008

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.

Tigger has an email account with KidSafeMail so once i let on to him that this exists, i expect he’ll want to be on the mailing list in his own right.

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.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Monday 29 September 2008 10.55 am

    Hey Kirsty! {waves} I bet you used to get ‘Look and Learn’ too!

    Tigger too manages to be both a reader and a computist (me too tbh). It’s not necessarily either/or.

    These days *i* feel special if i get a letter in the post – so much is now done online that the stamp-collecting charities must be feeling the difference. I still write by hand though, often.

  2. Monday 29 September 2008 9.34 am

    Hey, I remember Puffin Post too. I definitely had the badge. I was an avid reader who lived in the countryside, was never taken to the library and had to buy my own books ( Puffins) with my pocket money (when I did get out to the shops). It’s a different era now. Websites can be fun but getting something (other than a letter from your granny) was always top excitement. It made me feel very important and even a bit grown up too.
    My son is an avid reader, however still manages to be an avid PC user too. Recently he has been reading the Skulduggery Pleasant series by Derek Landy. Yes there is a web site (I haven’t been on it but my son has.) There are probably games but what is of interest to him is that there is a skin that he has been able to use to personalise his Bebo page. The graphics are very appealing. So using the internet in this way is publicity for the writer’s books and a very obvious brand image for his character. The bottom line is it seems to be working as my son has ploughed through the series. I think he has now changed his skin on his Bebo account to his current reading though… or actually it is now to Spore his current PC game that is providing the whole family with stress as it is crashing the computer regularly. Now a book never caused so much chaos in a household.

  3. Saturday 20 September 2008 2.04 pm

    First time one of my posts has had a comment from its own subject!

    Glad to see that the book is included with each issue – i did think it must be for the price but it was ambiguous – and i hadn’t noticed (or it doesn’t say) that Puffineers will be able to submit their own work via Puffin Island, so that makes a bit more sense.

    I have boys who need encouraging into reading, rather than encouragement to lift their noses out of books, so the mag will have to be *very* good to be worth it for us (as well as boys, i have no money, lol). But i will email for a sample.

    The website is inevitable, i know. But yes, you have managed to keep the spirit of it from what i have seen so far. Keep it up. 80)

  4. Saturday 20 September 2008 10.58 am

    Hi Mand

    It’s great you remember Puffin Post, I’ve met quite a few people who have and it is always lovely to hear their memories.

    £38 includes a really fab membership pack, 6 issues of the magazine and from each magazine they will be able to choose a free book from a selection that will cover different ages and tastes. £38 is the total amount for all of this, nothing is hidden!

    Included in their membership is access to Puffin Island, where they will be able to find out more about their favourite authors, submit their stories, poems and artwork to Puffin Post (as well as by post), read other features (including stories and interviews) and lots more. That is why only Puffineers will be able to access Puffin Island, it is part of their community.

    There have been some changes from the old Puffin Post, including creating a website, but we have kept elements of the old too including the Secret Code and the spirit of it. We are hoping a new generation of children will love it as much as the old members did, and enjoy being a Puffineer.

    We have produced a sample copy of Puffin Post and I would love to send you one so you can see what it will be like. If you email me your address I will send one onto you.


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