Has Anyone Seen Puff?: A Billy and Jake Adventure

Sheri Wolfinger

Publisher: Trafford Pages: 14 Price: (paperback) $11.59 ISBN: 9781466913776 Reviewed: May, 2012 Author Website: Visit »

Sheri Wolfinger’s new picture book Has Anyone Seen Puff? follows the adventures of two mischievous puppies named Billy and Jake. The pups live with their mother, Tippy, on a farm owned by Mr. and Mrs. Kokomo. Tippy lived a rough life as a stray before the Kokomos found her, and she tries to instill in her sons a sense of how lucky they are.

The story focuses on one disastrous day when Jake, motivated by jealousy, decides to keep Puff, the farm’s cat, from stealing a sip of milk. The ensuing mayhem results in not only a spilled bucket of milk, but a smashed basket of eggs, a ruined blueberry pie and a very angry Tippy. The story concludes with a gentle lesson about the danger of jealousy and the importance of listening to one’s parents. Printed at the bottom of each page is a simplified version of events for younger children to read themselves.

Though generally strong, the book suffers from minor copyediting errors. (Wolfinger refers a few times to “the Kokomo’s,” incorrectly using an apostrophe to indicate a plural. This recurring mistake might confuse children just beginning to read.) Also, a digression of a few sentences about a previous adventure when Jake chased a skunk into the Kokomos’ house disrupts the story’s flow, as does the occasional awkward and/or passive sentence construction. (“Trouble continued to happen around Jake.”)

These concerns aside, readers will find that Wolfinger writes with a bouncy rhythm suited to reading aloud. The story’s moral is more subtle and realistic than those often featured in similar children’s books: rather than learning his lesson all at once, Jake begins “to listen to his mother’s talks” as he matures; this acknowledgement that positive changes take time is refreshing. Brandi Wolfinger’s soft, vibrantly colored illustrations, reminiscent of the work of Georg Hallensleben, add much appeal to the text.

Author's Current Residence
Reamstown, Pennsylvania
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