Puffin Peter by Petr Horacek, published by Walker Books
A few weeks ago, our daughter rediscovered a small soft toy that had been sitting at the bottom of her toy box for many months. She'd not shown much interest in it previously, but it now takes pride of place in her bed alongside her favourite cuddly companions. The toy is a little puffin, and it owes its new found VIP status to a picturebook that is now also a firm favourite, Puffin Peter by Petr Horacek.
This is the second time Petr Horacek has featured on this site (also for Animal Opposites). His distinctive, colourful and full of life animals and birds are vivid wonders to behold. Here, his illustration is combined with a charming story of Peter, a small puffin, separated by a storm from his best friend - the noisy, funny and colourful puffin, Paul.
After the storm passes, Peter sets out to look for Paul with the help of a kind whale, but his descriptions of Peter's characteristics (in turn "noisy and funny", "black and white", "a colourful beak") lead him and the whale to some close-but-oh-so-far cases of mistaken identity.
Just as Peter starts to lose hope of finding his friend they see, in the distance, some tiny islands. Our toddler loves this page, excitedly pointing to the islands every time. And someone is getting closer and closer. Could it be Paul?
This is a sweeping and satisfying adventure, filled with vistas of bold colours, and a sweet, happy ending. It's a perfect depiction of the value of friendship and persistence, and, as with Animal Opposites, a great book to introduce young children to useful adjectives through scenes from nature.