When I first read Nothing Like a Puffin by Sue Soltis, I loved it so much that I immediately added it to a storytime I was planning. Bob Kolar’s bright, bold illustrations caught my attention right away, and I was constantly grinning at the funny text. At the beginning of the book, the narrator declares, “There is nothing like a puffin.” To prove her point, she compares a puffin to everyday objects that seem as if they would have nothing in common with the bird. However, she finds that nearly everything shares a characteristic with a puffin. A newspaper and a puffin are both black and white, a pair of blue jeans and a puffin both have two legs, and a helicopter and a puffin can both fly. Toward the end of the story, she compares a puffin to a penguin, pointing out all their similarities and one important difference that means puffins really are unique after all.
Nothing Like a Puffin provides opportunities for fun interactions between the reader and listeners. Readers may enjoy playing up the narrator’s increasingly grumpy attitude as she discovers that a puffin is not as unique as she thought. For example, in response to realizing that a snake and a puffin both hatch from eggs, the narrator sighs, “That figures.” Many of the pages preview the next object that will be compared. When I read this book in storytime, I used these illustrations to play a guessing game. I invited kids to speculate on whether each new object would have something in common with a puffin. In addition to providing a variety of facts about puffins, this book teaches the concept of comparing different items in order to identify similarities and differences. The funny text and bright colors in Nothing Like a Puffin make reading it a very entertaining learning experience. This book is most suitable for preschool and up, and is a great read-aloud to share one-on-one or with a group. The humor, which appeals to adults as well as children, will keep the story fresh over many rereadings.
Check the WRL catalog for Nothing Like a Puffin.