All good books should take you somewhere – a review of RA Anderson’s Puffin trilogy

Review by Michele Magnuson - Mom, Reader, Writer, Academic Coach; in that order

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Puffins Take Flight
Author RA Anderson
Publisher: My Favorite Books Publishing Company, LLC
Release Date: November 20, 2019
ISBN-10: 1950590062
ISBN-13: 978-1950590063

Puffins Off The Beaten Path
Author RA Anderson
Publisher: My Favorite Books Publishing Company, LLC
Release Date: December 12, 2019
ISBN-10: 1950590089
ISBN-13: 978-1950590087

Puffins Encounter Fire & Ice
Author RA Anderson
Publisher: My Favorite Books Publishing Company, LLC
Release Date: December 12, 2019
ISBN-10: 1950590100
ISBN-13: 978-1950590100

When asked if I wanted to read/review a series of children’s books about puffins in Iceland, I didn’t even get all the way through the email before I was shouting, “yes!” 

Anyone who knows me knows I am completely obsessed with all things Iceland. My paternal heritage is Icelandic and I am fortunate enough to still have family there that my daughter and I get to visit occasionally (but still not often enough). It is my absolute dream to actually see puffins in person (from a safe distance so as to not disturb their natural habitat and behaviors).

RA Anderson’s books–Puffins Take Flight, Puffins Off the Beaten Path, and Puffins Encounter Fire & Ice–follow pufflings Árni and Birta as they wander the land before migrating to the sea. The narrative is told through inventive and engaging rhymes, while also staying true to the landscape of Iceland. RA includes many Icelandic words with pronunciation and translation so readers are actually immersed and learning a bit of the language as they go. Even cooler than the use of narrative, at least for me, are the facts about puffins, other animals native to Iceland, and even Iceland itself found on almost every page. 

While the books are certainly geared toward a younger audience, it is composed in a way that is interesting, and even exciting, for all ages. I handed book 1 to a 9th grade student this morning when she was finished with the rest of her work and she immediately began telling me all the cool things she had read and asked if I’d have them available all the time. That, to me, speaks more to the success of the book than whether my Icelandic-obsessed brain found enough Iceland on the pages. And for those who are interested in stretching their learning, Anderson includes a short history of the Icelandic language, and a glossary at the end of each book. 

Finally, there are the pictures. Wow! As someone who leaves her basic DSLR camera on “auto,” I cannot even pretend to say anything specific about Anderson’s pictures, other than that I keep flipping through the books just to look at them.

If you have any interest in animal and landscape photography, and/or Icelandic culture (which everyone should, in my humble opinion) then these books are a great choice. I would recommend these for every elementary classroom, and even some junior high and high school classrooms for some interesting choice reading material.

If you’d like to know more about the author check out her website at ra-anderson.com, or visit her on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.


Have you read the book? What are your thoughts? Want to talk to me about this show? Feel free to chat with me on Twitter or Instagram, or leave a comment below!

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