Book Review: The Puffin Portal – Vashti Hardy

Author(s): Vashti Hardy (author), Natalie Smillie (illustrator)
Publisher: Barrington Stoke
Publication date: September 2021
About the publisher: Barrington Stoke is a small, independent and award-winning children’s publisher. For over 20 years we’ve been pioneering super-readable, dyslexia-friendly fiction to help every child become a reader. From our specially designed font to the colour of our paper, accessibility is at the heart of everything we do. (Taken from the Barrington Stoke website)


Grace’s family are wardens of the incredible Griffin Map, using its teleport technology to fight crime across Moreland. Right now it’s all systems go at Griffin HQ, where Grace, her mum and her brother have their hands full answering a huge number of calls for help. They could really do with another warden on the team – but Mum believes their important work should be kept inside the family.

Meanwhile, Grace is investigating a series of puzzling petty thefts. The clues lead her to a ramshackle castle on a lonely island, where the mystery only deepens. Will Grace be able to track down the thief?


I am so excited to review the next story in Vashti Hardy’s The Griffin Gate series – The Puffin Portal. We’re back with Grace and her trusty robo bird, Watson, in the town of Copperport. This time they’ve got a new mystery on their hands: a series of thefts and a… puffin?

As always, Hardy brings together a wonderful tale with a strong female lead and a STEM theme running throughout the book. Grace is independent, intelligent, and applies logic and quick thinking to get to the bottom of the mysterious puffin debacle. And along the way, she makes a new friend who just might be here to stay.

Although I have always found Hardy’s books entertaining but The Puffin Portal is funnier than any other. I don’t want to add any spoilers but if you’ve ever wondered what facing an army of puffins looks like then this book is for you.

As with all books from the publisher Barrington Stoke, The Puffin Portal is in a highly readable, accessible format. You can find out more information here. It is also full of wonderful illustrations by Natalie Smillie to bring the story to life.

As this is the second book in the series, if you have not read the first you can find my review here… and then you can buy both! Win-win.

Highly recommended.

Many thanks to Barrington Stoke for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Order now

You can support your local bookshop by buying The Puffin Portal through them directly, or via Bookshop.

Comment below

What do you think of The Puffin Portal? Will you be reading it? Let me know in the comments below.

Wishing you a wonderfully bookish week,


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