PCS Logo

Penguin Collectors Society


Back to FAQs

I have some Puffin/Pelican/other Bird Name books, are these published by Penguin?


The quick answer:
Generally anything with the word Penguin, Puffin or Pelican is a book published by Penguin; there are several different series within each of these brands. In addition the names Porpoise, Ptarmigan and Peregrine are also published by Penguin.

The slow answer:
Penguin books have published under many different banners, some of which were developed in-house and some which were bought, like the 2002 purchase of the Rough Guide books. The in-house developed series tend to keep the bird theme and while there is much to be applauded in the more recent publications, the Society’s interest naturally tends towards the early series and the early to mid twentieth-century book design.

In the first 30 years of Penguin books, there were 80 different series, and as well as official Penguin publications there is a large amount of ephemera connected to both Penguin Books and the Lane brothers. This is, therefore, not an exhaustive list of these early Penguin Series, but it does contain the best known series and is a good place to start in order to begin to understand the wide-ranging focus of Penguin publications and find out if the books you own are published by Penguin. The letter codes used here are those developed and used by Penguin for the different series they published.

Series Code Series Names Information
  Main Series Fiction: the first 10 books were published on 30 July 1935. The covers were colour coded by genre.
A Pelican Books Non-Fiction: the first Pelican was published in 1937.
AB Pelican Shakespeare  
AC Pelican Classics  
ACO English Language Book Society  
AL Allen Lane the Penguin Press  
AP Penguin African Library  
AU Australian Editions  
B Penguin Shakespeare Drama: 37 volumes published between 1937 and 1959 containing the complete works of Shakespeare.
BE Buildings of England  
BP Baby Puffins Children: 9 books published for very young children between 1943 and 1948.
C Penguin Illustrated Classics  
CAF Contemporary American Fiction  
D Penguin Poets  
E (1) The Things We See  
E (2) Planning Design and Art Books  
EL Penguin English Library  
F Editions Pingouin  
FR Penguin Film Review  
G Penguin Guides  
H (1) Penguin Hansard  
H (2) Horwitz editions  
Hxxx Library Editions  
J Porpoise Books Children: 4 hardback books published in 1948.
K/KP King Penguin Books Non-Fiction: 76 colour illustrated hardback books published between 1939 and 1959.
L Penguin Classics  
MM Penguin Music Magazine  
MP Penguin Modern Painters  
N New Observer's Books  
NB New Biology  
NP Penguin Modern Playwrights  
NS New Penguin Shakespeare  
P Pelican Books USA  
PA Topolski Prints  
PC Puffin Cut-Out Books Children: a small number of cut-out model-making books published between 1947 and 1953. Unusual to find 'uncut'.
PD Penguin Parade  
PE Puffin Explorers  
PH Penguin Handbooks  
PK Peacock Books  
PL Penguin Plays  
PMC Penguin Modern Classics  
PNW Penguin New Writing  
PP Puffin Picture Books Children: Penguin’s first children’s series, 120 larger-format titles published between 1940 and 1965.
PR Penguin Prints  
PS Puffin Story Books Children Fiction: Penguin’s main series for children first published in 1941.
PT Ptarmigan Books Children: a series of 9 books containing games, quizzes and puzzles published between 1945 and 1947.
PX Picture Puffins  
PZ Pelican History of Art paperbacks  
Q Miscellaneous Non-Fiction: a mix of books that did not belong anywhere else, first published in 1942.
R Penguin Reference Books  
S Penguin and Pelican Specials  
SC Penguin Scores  
SE Services Editions  
SH Penguin History of Britain  
SL/PSL Penguin Shakespeare Library  
SN Science News  
T Transatlantic  
V Editions Penguin  
WA Penguin West African Series/African Series  
X Penguin Education  
Y Peregrine Books Education: academic books, published between 1962 and 1989.
Z Pelican History of Art Non-Fiction: originally large, hardbacks with dustwrappers and, initially, cardboard slip-cases; later reissued in paperback; first published in 1953.