This forms an introductory article for a group of papers discussing the reconstruction of the pinna. It is a succinct yet adequately detailed article that all of us, at whatever stage of our careers should endeavour to read, as it revises the knowledge we know/knew and for those still learning, provides a helpful reference. Like any decent anatomical tome should, it starts with the embryology of the pinna – branchial clefts, pouches and hillocks of His and the time frames in which they all develop and fuse. Tables and text are complemented with superb diagrams aiding the reader to enhance their visuo-spatial understanding of this complex area. The resultant normal anatomy is then described, again with helpful colour diagrams of areas of innervation, blood supply, surface anatomy terminology, soft tissue variations of the pinna and extrinsic and intrinsic small muscles of the pinna. They conclude with some normal ranges for dimensions, e.g. pinna height (males and females), auricular projection, scaphoconchal angle and cephaloauricular angle. Overall, it is a well-written article to remind us of our knowledge so that predictable deformities can be recognised, and evaluations of the ear can be precise so that the selection of an onward reconstruction technique is appropriate, resulting in the best possible outcome for the patient.