The Puffin Keeper

The Puffin Keeper by Michael Morpurgo, illustrated by Benji Davies, is a beautifully illustrated historical novel about a young boy on a mission to find the man who saved his life. Allen Williams was five years old when the ship carrying him and his mother was wrecked off the coast of Cornwall in England. The local lighthouse keeper, Benjamin Postlethwaite, rescued them and thirty other people from the wreck, giving young Allen a memory of Ben’s courage that sustains him through years of hardship at boarding school. Years later, after writing Ben letters that go unanswered, the teenage Allen travels to Cornwall to find him again. Soon, the two team up to rescue a lost puffin and Allen learns the real, poignant reason that Ben never wrote back to him. Their days together are interrupted by the advent of World War II, but the focus of the story is on Ben and Allen’s relationship, and the bond they share over saving lives, both human and puffin. This is a lovely book, with a fascinating coda about the history of the real Allen Williams, founder of Penguin Books. (Chaper Books)