In his glorious picture book debut, Peter Yarrow and Leonard Lipton's legendary dragon returns to introduce a new generation of children to his magical world. With striking illustrations by Eric Puybaret, this handsome story sends readers to Honalee, where -- as the song goes -- Jackie Paper visits Puff until he grows too old to stay with his friend (thankfully, Jackie brings his daughter to play with Puff at the book's close). If this ode to the popular song isn't enough, an exclusive CD included with the book features Yarrow, his daughter Bethany, and cellist Rufus Cappadocia performing "Puff" and several other songs. A true publishing event that is a heartwarming addition to any bookshelf.
…the song's slightly depressing overtones didn't stop me from playing it for my own son, now 18 years old, who as it turned out was not as interested in Puff as I was. This might have been a generational hiccup, since kids rarely show interest in what their parents like, but if this new book version of "Puff, the Magic Dragon," beautifully illustrated by Eric Puybaret and smartly designed by Lauren Rille and Scott Piehl, had been available when my son was small, we might have better experienced the song together. More than 40 years after "Puff," composed by Peter Yarrow and Lenny Lipton, was released, this volume (with a CD that includes two versions of "Puff" performed by Yarrow; his daughter, Bethany; and Rufus Cappadocia) brings the land of Honalee to new life…The pastel-colored paintings that fill these spreads are replete with elegantly rendered details of the Honalee landscape, including mountains and palm trees, towers and fantastical small animals and pixies.
The New York Times
This handsome volume offers a charming interpretation of the 1960s folk song, written by Yarrow and Lipton and famously recorded by Peter, Paul and Mary. Featuring a soothing palette highlighted by greens and blues, Puybaret's graceful acrylic on linen paintings are intermittently misty and sunny. Echoing the gentle cadence of the song, the sweeping landscapes and seascapes reveal Honalee to be a magical place indeed, with faces appearing on trees, flowers and rocks. Other whimsical flourishes include the book's affable ancillary characters, including diminutive winged fairies and red-and-white striped dolphin-like critters that wear graduation caps. There is, of course, the inevitable somber moment when "One gray night it happened, Jackie Paper came no more,/ And Puff, that mighty dragon, he ceased his fearless roar"; the dragon gazes wistfully upon the departing boy and then slips sadly into his cave. But at the creative hand of Puybaret, a French illustrator who here makes his American publishing debut, the song's potentially sad denouement takes an uplifting turn. As the chorus is repeated one final time, the delighted Puff spies a girl approaching-ostensibly Jackie's daughter-a new friend to frolic with in the autumn mist. Youngsters concerned about the fate of Puff's first playmate will be comforted to see a smiling, grown-up Jackie looking on. Adding to the appeal of the book is a CD presenting a new recording of the song (and two others), sung by Yarrow and his daughter Bethany, accompanied by cellist Rufus Cappadocia. An impressive performance all around. Ages 3-7. (Aug.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
A lovely-and indeed magical-shift and the beloved anthem becomes quite a satisfying read-aloud for children (and adults). Co-author Lipton says he had no idea that there was a Hanalei Bay with a lava cave just the right size for a dragon, but that's where Puff lives in Honalee. And though Jackie Paper grows up too much to stay with Puff, in the final images he brings his daughter to frolic with the dragon. Puybaret's acrylic-on-linen paintings have smooth edges, elongated shapes and rich matte colors as well as Bosch-ian touches: On Honalee there are peopleflies instead of dragonflies; the dolphins sport mortarboards and gondolier T-shirts; the deeply non-ferocious pirate captain has a hook and an eye patch all the same. A CD with four songs, two of them versions of "Puff," makes a very nice package indeed, especially since Yarrow sings with his daughter. (Picture book and CD. 4-8)
Praise for the picture-book version of Puff, the Magic Dragon:
[B]eautifully illustrated… brings the land of Honalee to new life.”--the New York Times
“Puff is pure magic.”--USA Today
“[L]ush, stylized artwork…The full spreads feature sweeping panoramas set against the blues and greens of ocean and island with small details revealed throughout.”--School Library Journal
“[S]tunningly beautiful.”--Chicago Sun-Times
“An impressive performance all around."--Publishers Weekly, starred review