The Puffin Keeper
Five year old Allen Williams is on a ship from New York bound for Liverpool when it is shipwrecked near to a lighthouse on the Isles of Scilly. Benjamin Postlethwaite, the lighthouse keeper, rescues the passengers in his small boat, saving them from the icy sea. When he leaves to stay with his family in Devon, Benjamin gives Allen a painting of a boat on a piece of driftwood and sends him on his way.
As he grows up, Allen writes letters to Benjamin, intrigued with the silent lighthouse keeper, but never receives a reply. Finally, Allen decides to go back to visit Benjamin, and finds him still at the lighthouse – having not replied to Allen’s letters because he can’t read or write. Allen decides to stay and help look after a young puffin with a broken wing and the days turn into months. Yet, when his call up papers come for the war that has been threatened for a long time, Allen must brave the sea again and face more adventures.
Michael Morpurgo’s story of Allen Lane, the founder of Puffin Books and the man who would become his father-in-law, is a wonderful tale of survival, love, loneliness and friendship, beautifully illustrated by Benji Davies. Sometimes, fate seems to bring us to certain places and people, and this heart-warming story of a lost puffin, a lonely artist and a life-changing friendship is a real testament to Morpurgo’s talent for capturing those pivotal moments in people’s lives where everything changes. It's a short read too, perfect for younger and older readers, with the feel of a classic tale.