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The first Puffin Picture Books appeared in 1940, and the series quickly established a reputation for presenting children's non-fiction in a unique blend of editing and design. Puffin Story Books soon followed with the publication of Worzel Gummidge in 1941 and, as with the original Penguin paperbacks, these story books appeared in the three horizontal stripe design, and became an integral part of growing up.

The vital role of illustrators and designers in the production of some of the world's best-loved children's books has created and defined the identity of the Puffin list from the very first picture book through to the modern day. In 2010, Puffin Books, the No. 1 household brand for children's books, celebrated its seventieth anniversary. The Puffin Art Department is currently directed by Anna Billson.