Puffin Picture Books

Puffin Picture Books -my newest enthusiasm. I love illustrated children's books, particularly those I remember from my childhood. But also earlier ones from the 40s and 50s. I have a great love for the art and design of this period. Wartime posters are a particular passion. Something for a future post perhaps.

I had to have this book . I was hoping it would have lots of pictures of books I remembered from my childhood. It has some but not as many as I hoped. It covers 70 years after all, including contemporary books such as this....

about which the less said the better. My daughter loves the Wimpy Kid unfortunately. Still, at least she's given up reading books that are covered in glitter. 
What caught my attention were the first ever Puffin books -the Puffin Picture books. These were published between 1940 and the early 1960s. They were mostly non-fiction and covered a huge variety of subjects. They were illustrated by some of the leading illustrators of the day and are well written, well designed and educational. None of which can be said for the Wimpy Kid.

And there are still plenty of copies available, second hand of course. Some are rare and expensive. Wild Animals in Britain (with the red squirrel) for instance is well out of my price range, but many are to be had for £5 or less. Amazon is my shop of choice for second hand books but there are others such as Abe Books. Here are my recent purchases.

This one is my favourite. I love the detailed drawings of the British countryside as it used to be. The cover shows one scene but it is Summer on the front and Autumn on the back.

It reminds me of the kind of drawings I used to do as a child, though rather more garishly, I did like my felt pens.

Such detail. I could look at these pictures forever.

This is from Building a House. How a sash window works may not thrill you but I love this illustration for its clarity and elegance.

What no safety helmets?



  1. I've never come across these books,but my husband would love that Sailing one - I shall have to look out for a copy!

  2. I love your Wimpy Kid vitriol (and am with you 100%)!

    I got the Penguin by Design book out of the library and it provided a lovely nostalgic browse.

  3. Oh my gosh - only just saw that Sailing book last weekend when I was searching through the second-hand books at Baddesley Clinton.
    I'm gonna keep my eyes open for you Sue the next time I'm in the charity shop or second-hand bookshop.
    I'm a big lover of children's books too. I managed to find another Dougal book from the 1970's. I'm only missing 2 now. They're really hard to find. I think I'm passing on my passion to Violet, who says everytime we go into a bookshop "where's the Dougals books?".
    Jill x

  4. Have you seen the big box of Puffin postcards?http://www.amazon.co.uk/Postcards-Puffin-100-Book-Covers/dp/0141333375/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1287672787&sr=8-1

  5. I have Mary, they're on my wishlist ;o)

  6. Hello there

    OOh this post is right up my street! I loved all those kinds of books when I was young too, and the pictures are amazing!! I love the nostalgia they create when you look at them; there really doesn't seem to be anything quite like them these days does there, despite lots of well illustrated books on the market - I think it was a lovely period of book design and I shall be on the lookout for some of those old favourites myself now I know where to look!

    Much love
    Julia x x x

  7. What a gorgeous trip down memory lane, I too love books and have a passion for anything from the 40's and 50's. I think thisbook may very well go on my christmas list xox

  8. Gosh, they're fabulous. I just must have the farm crops and village & town editions. What beautiful illustrations. Thanks Sue - oohh I feel a new purchase coming on!


  9. What fantastic books, I particularly like the farming one especially all those dry stone walls.

  10. Lovely post. I remember reading/seeing those books as a child. I saw some in a local 2nd hand store and in a couple yard sales in the past 2 years. I had no idea they would be worth anything or I would have snatched them up.

  11. I also love books, must say I have not had the pleasure of any of these, unfortunatly. I so love the old ways and the old days. Everything today is too rushed, too much plastic and sharp lines, if you know what I mean.
    Hugs Sandi x

  12. I love that you love old books and care enough to find them, buy them, and look after them. I feel the same way. Recently our primary school library was going to throw away some old books (I couldn't believe it - they were just going to dump them!) and I "rescued" all these wonderful novels by Australian authors - books for older children/young teens that I remember reading when I was at school. I couldn't let them be dumped. Someone has to look after these lovely books so everyone else can enjoy them again one day. :-) Good on you.
    Caz :)

  13. What a lovely book. I have now put that and the puffin postcards on my ever increasing amazon wishlist...

  14. lovely books, lovely pictures, I love those old fashioned type of illustrations. One of the first pictures I can remember loving as a child is the one inside the front of the Noddy books, that picture of Toytown, loved it!

  15. Thanks for another great recommendation. I hadn't see your other book posts before and am amazed by the books we have in common, but I must admit I didn't know about those Puffin Picture Books. You were very lucky to find Shopping with Mother in a charity shop. I've been looking for that for ages. We had a proper High Street and I remember being very bored in the old style Sainsbury's where you had to queue repeatedly at each counter to be served.

  16. Amazing illustrations, thanks for sharing. Recently my Mum dug out a pile of my old childrens book that had been tucked away in a cupboard for years. It was an incredible feeling to see stories and pictures which I had completely forgotten about, but then to remember so vividly upon seeing them again! :) Sarah

  17. Hi Sue. I adore Puffin Picture Books, and although I probably have half a dozen, I have to be very careful not to start collecting them or it will turn into yet another coffer-draining obsession. I must maintain focus! Now where were those Ladybird books?.....


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