Puffin Books The Best Loved Children’s Publisher In The World
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Puffin Books the Best Loved Children’s Publisher In the World

Puffin Books is the children’s book division of Penguin Books one of the most influential publishers in the world today.

Puffin Books was founded in 1940 in the United Kingdom and is the largest British publisher of children’s books. They also publish books from other English speaking countries.

Their distinctive imprint the Puffin was chosen because it related to the existing Penguin and Pelican book imprints.

Puffin books were above all paperback publishers.

In 1941, the story of Worzel Gummidge written in 1936 by Euphan Todd became the first story book under the Puffin imprint.

Puffin books have had two talented editors who grew their list of children’s books during the 1940’s to the end of the 1960’s

Eleanor Graham was the first Puffin editor. She had to deal with post-war Britain and the paper rationing.

The author’s and titles she published were:

  • The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe – C.S. Lewis
  • Charlotte’s Webb – E.B.White
  • The Family from One End Street – Eve Garnet
  • Professor Branestorm Books by Norman Hunter
  • Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfield
  • Carbonel: The King of the Cats
  • The Silver Sword by Ian Serraillier

Other fiction and non-fiction genres were added to the growing list under her direction.

Eleanor Graham would not publish Enid Blyton or J.R.R Tolkien because she did not think their work was good enough for Puffin!

During the 1960’s, there was a huge growth in the number of children’s books published.

Kaye Webb became the second editor (1961 to 1979) and she grew the Puffin List from 151 titles to over 1213.

Puffin gained the rights to publish many hardcover titles into paperback books.

They were able to publish all time classics such as Mary Poppins, Dr Dolittle, The Hobbit, and Stig of the Dump.

Best-selling authors included Philippa Pearce, Rosemary Sutcliff, William Mayne and Alan Garner.

Kaye Webb also introduced the Puffin Club. Thousands of children joined it. At one stage, it had 200 000 members. There were 12000 members in Australia. Eventually, it became too costly to continue the Club and it evolved into a schools only club.

The Puffin Post Magazine appeared quarterly for many years and has been published again from January 2009.

Roald Dahl’s titles such as Charlie and the Chocolate factory and Watership Down by Richard Adams added to the success of Puffin Books during the 1970’s.

Puffin Books also published picture stories for younger children under the imprint Picture Puffins.

Best-selling titles included

  • The very Hungry Caterpillar – Eric Carle
  • Each Peach Pear Plum- Janet and Allan Ahlberg
  • Spot the Dog- Eric Hill
  • Meg and Mog – Meg Pienkowski

The above titles are still in print and loved by each new generation of children.

Puffin Books also formed links with Disney and other production companies to produce other products.

Australia also had Puffin titles published. Bob Sessions was in charge. He set out to acquire the paperback rights to a number of Australian children’s books,

The Magic Pudding by Norman Lindsay was one of his acquisitions.

Puffin Books Australia published:

  • The Bunyip of Berkeley’s Creek by Jenny Wagner with Ron Brooks as the illustrator.
  • John brown Rose and the Midnight Cat: Jenny Wagner and Ron Brooks

These two books were original titles (never been published) and were best sellers.

Julie Watts was an editor who saw the value of the work of Paul Jennings, Robin Klein and Marlina Marchetta and Ruth Park all authors with an Australian outlook.

Puffin Australia has done much to support Australian children’s literature development.

Puffin Books continue to publish outstanding books for children and long may they continue.


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