August 11, 2017

The Puffin Problem

Written and illustrated by Lori Doody
Running the Goat Books & Broadsides
44 pp.
Ages 3-8
July 2017

Puffins! They're everywhere!  They're on the roofs and on the street.  They're on doorsteps and at store fronts. They're at the museum and art gallery and at the playgrounds.  They may be cute, but they have become The Puffin Problem.

Though there has never been a puffin problem to date, Lori Doody creates a scenario in St. John's whereby the city is overrun with puffins.  It is a quaint problem, though with puffins sidling up to people wherever and whenever, not everyone thinks they're all that cute.  Apparently all the puffins are affecting the people of St. John's as well as their pets and other birds.
From The Puffin Problem by Lori Doody
Birders, of course, love the opportunity to take in the plethora of puffins (actually a collection of puffins is called an improbability, a parliament or a circus) but most people feel otherwise.  The idea of shipping them off to Iceland doesn't fare very well.  However, a child's proposal of luring the puffins with food–with all manner of fish coming from Mudder's Fish Cakes, Ise The By, Me Ole Trout Fish Shop, Fish Out of Water Street, Anyfin Goes and Taiyō Sushi–finally gets the birds out to sea, at least for this year.
From The Puffin Problem by Lori Doody
Only in Newfoundland could this story be had.  And Lori Doody ensures that the reader recognizes the streets and landscapes of St. John's, from their colourful buildings, rocky cliffs and St. John's Harbour to The Rooms and the whimsical store names (like The Picture Plant and The Chocolate Lab).  As in her recently released Capelin Weather, also from Running the Goat Books & Broadsides, the art is fundamental to the story, providing a folksy flavour.  The colours are bold and the lines and shapes are rugged, reflective of the culture of Newfoundland.  The flattened perspective is typical of folk art and Lori Doody produces that feature with strength and distinct design.  The puffin problem may be identified as that by the residents of Lori Doody's story but for readers it's a charming tale of what can happen when cuteness overtakes everyday life.
From The Puffin Problem by Lori Doody

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