“The worst has happened, but evacuated children are going to need books more than ever.”

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Phil Baines new book, Puffin by Design, charts over 70 years of design history at Puffin Picture Books.

PPB, the serendipitous joint venture of natural history publisher Noel Carrington and Penguin founder, Allen Lane, was born out of a desire to provide salient and instructive information for British youth during WWII. Puffin Books strove to present practical material to children in an undiluted form so as to “turn children into readers” (e.g., Richard Leacroft’s 1949 Building a House, which is “so technically detailed and precise it almost feels suitable for a class of trainee building-control officers or engineers”).

Along the way, J.R.R. Tolkien was rejected for a lack of “lasting worth,” CS Lewis got mad at an illustrator for drawing a lion poorly and many a Puffin logo were cleverly hidden in many a Puffin cover design.

(via @roundmyskull)


Daniel Gumbiner is a student at UC Berkeley. He has lived in Chile and Argentina. He blogs with his brother, David, at smartwool.tumblr.com More from this author →