Figures of Speech

Overview

The eccentric talent of the legendary Mervyn Peake figures prominently in FIGURES OF SPEECH, a playful series of drawings that challenge the reader to guess what familiar saying each picture portrays.


"We give no table of contents here, for to do so would spoil your pleasure," wrote author-illustrator Mervyn Peake when this quirky book was first published in 1939. "Each drawing represents a particular Figure...

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Overview

The eccentric talent of the legendary Mervyn Peake figures prominently in FIGURES OF SPEECH, a playful series of drawings that challenge the reader to guess what familiar saying each picture portrays.


"We give no table of contents here, for to do so would spoil your pleasure," wrote author-illustrator Mervyn Peake when this quirky book was first published in 1939. "Each drawing represents a particular Figure of Speech." Following were twenty-nine drawings, identified only by number: a couple with their noses on fire; a gentleman cutting pages from a book; a tropical explorer resting his heels inside water glasses. Revealed in a key at the end were the "figures of speech" the drawings portrayed (in this case, "burning their bridges," "cutting a long story short," and, of course, "cooling his heels").

Now this idiosyncratic volume has been lovingly reissued, its original black-and-white drawings set against colorful panels. Whether enjoyed simply for its witty, intriguing, and masterly pictures or used as a game book with family or friends, Figures of Speech will delight devoted followers of Mervyn Peake and everyone else who loves visual puns.

Uses cartoon-like drawings to represent such sayings as "Burning their bridges," "Sitting pretty," "To cut a long story short," and "I could just kick myself."

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In another clever book of visual humor, Figures of Speech (1954) by Mervyn Peake, each spread features a drawing that represents a well-known turn of phrase (perhaps best suited to adults). A smiling gent carrying a bear on his back represents "grin and bear it" and a man submerging his heels in two water glasses is "cooling his heels." Colorful panels have been added to the original b&w original drawings. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
A wildly elongated figure bends double to hammer three tacks into the floor. What figure of speech does this drawing suggest? (Getting down to brass tacks.) Some of the examples are this easy to figure out and some are very tricky indeed. Peake (1911-1968), author and illustrator of a number of books including his Gormenghast trilogy, conceived this clever volume in 1953 at his home in Surrey. The publishers have now re-originated his 29 witty drawings with a bit of color added so kids and adults can play the game singly or with friends and family. Players could, as suggested, offer a prize for the person who guesses the highest number of correct answers from the odd and amusing clues. Such a game is most appropriate for the language sophisticated or for adults, since some of the proverbs and expressions may be completely unfamiliar to younger readers. What, for example, would you make of two mature people pictured striding along with flames sprouting from the upper ends of their noses? If you can't imagine, there is a key at the end of this light-hearted, eccentric little volume. Enjoy! 2003 (orig. 1954), Candlewick, Ages 10 up.
— Barbara L. Talcroft
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763621766
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 8/15/2003
  • Edition description: First
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 30
  • Age range: 1 - 3 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 8.51 (h) x 0.55 (d)

Meet the Author

Mervyn Peake (1911-1968) wrote poetry and plays, practiced as a painter and illustrator, and designed theatrical costumes. In the years since his death he has achieved something of a cult following, especially among adult fantasy readers, and is best known for his Gormenghast trilogy of
novels comprising TITUS GROAN (1946), GORMENGHAST (1950), and TITUS ALONE (1959). Mervyn Peake’s illustrated works include CAPTAIN SLAUGHTERBOARD DROPS ANCHOR, which was recently republished by Candlewick Press. He also illustrated memorable editions of classics such as THE RIME OF THE ANCIENT MARINER, DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE, ALICE'S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND, and THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS.

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