Tag Archives: Thomas Docherty

Polly and the Puffin – The Happy Christmas

Much as I adored Jenny Colgan’s first books about Polly and her puffin, this Christmas story beats them. Illustrated by Thomas Docherty, both have caught the spirit of Polly and her Christmas wishes exactly.

There will – of course – be a Christmas baby. Every good seasonal story needs one.

Jenny Colgan and Thomas Docherty, The Happy Christmas

But before that, Polly just can’t wait. Her poor mum isn’t ready for Christmas quite as early as Polly and Neil are. The two of them make lists. But when mum finally takes Polly to see Father Christmas at the big shop in Edinburgh, she’s not allowed to take Neil.

(Anyway, he’s got a ‘pregnant’ wife to be with.)

Unfortunately, what Polly does take – apart from Wrong Puffin – is the wrong list. She’s got Neil’s list, and ends up having to ask Father Christmas for fish and things. Very embarrassing, and so upsetting.

But all’s well that ends well.

This is so lovely.

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Polly and the Puffin

Jenny Colgan’s Polly and the Puffin, and the second book, The Stormy Day, both illustrated by Thomas Docherty, are nice little books, just the way I like them. Small in size, which makes holding them easy, and with lots of pictures, and not all that much text, making them suitable to be a child’s first chapter book.

Jenny Colgan and Thomas Docherty, Polly and the Puffin

In the first book Polly, who lives in one of those perfect, attractive small villages with a harbour and a lighthouse, and rough weather, that you encounter in fiction (maybe even in real life), finds an injured puffin, whom she names Neil. They do everything together, until the day Neil is ready to fly away to be with other puffins.

Polly misses him, and Neil seems to miss her too.

In The Stormy Day Polly is waiting for her seaman father to come home, and also for Neil to return after he flies off, somewhere.

Jenny Colgan and Thomas Docherty, The Stormy Day

There is not much happening in either of the stories, which I found quite restful. Good for young readers, or anyone reading to a child (with prompts for hugging), and lots of truly orange illustrations, that go very well with the sheer puffin-ness of the little fishing village.

At the back of the books you get jokes and recipes and colouring-in, making them even more fun.

Picking picture books

I have a nice and varied pile of picture books here. I’ll start with Nick Sharratt’s Fancy Dress Farmyard, which is precisely what it sounds like. Pig and Donkey and the others dress up and cover their faces with masks. And then they have a party. Lovely illustrations as ever.

Picture books

And – in no particular order – we have The Snorgh and the Sailor by Will Buckingham and Thomas Docherty. The illustrations will appeal to the adults who end up reading this to their little ones. It’s about putting up with new ideas and not being a stick-in-the-mud, and to look for friendship in unlikely places.

The magic word pops up in Never say NO to a Princess, by Tracey Corderoy and Kate Leake. The princess takes a while, but she gets it in the end, with the help of her friend the dragon.

Ben Blathwayt tells a lovely tale in Minnow and the Bear. Minnow may be small, but he can do things, too. He ‘grows up’ and he makes a new friend and he saves the day. Eventually.

Arthur has a dream in Polly Dunbar’s Arthur’s Dream Boat, but no one will listen. So he has to insist on telling them what happened. Lovely Dunbar-ish illustrations as you’d expect.

Finally, we have Jez Alborough’s Six Little Chicks, because it’s almost Easter. There is a most disturbing picture of the innocent little chicks and a great big fox peering in at them. How will it end?

Yes, how will it end? Not necessarily as you’d expect.

Chirp.