Harris, a lonely puffin surrounded by couples, sets out to find adventure and a possible mate. On his journey he comes across a lost baby seal, and willingly helps to pull the little creature back to his island. Harris is helped along the way by various aquatic creatures, all very inventive and capable. It’s heartwarming story with a romantic theme running through as in the end Harris fins a mate on the island and sets up home with her.
There’s variety in the illustrations with different angles and points of view depicting the birds well, particularly the puffin. It’s evident there has been much observation of the real thing. The animals are charming and the pathos of the baby seal gives quite an emotional tug. A light airy touch with colour allows the sense of space and fresh sea breezes through.
Stories told in rhyme present two problems. One is that co-editions are difficult because of translation and the other is that sometimes the rhyme leads the story, rather than the other way round. This book is a case of the latter. The rhymes are somewhat sophisticated for the age group who will enjoy this story. And the pink cheeks of the female puffin wife are reminiscent of a kind of Disney coyness that feels dated. However, the inventiveness of the sea creatures in pulling along the seal is appealing.