The Absent Minded Fellow

The Absent Minded Fellow

by Marshak, Marc Rosenthal
     
 

"Leaping into a shirt and thrusting his arms into his pant legs, the Absentminded Fellow dashes out into the London streets, frantically hails a cab, rushes through the train station and right into an abandoned car. Three days later, to his surprise, he's still in London...This droll character portrait will quickly have listeners chiming in on the chorus."-Kirkus

Overview

"Leaping into a shirt and thrusting his arms into his pant legs, the Absentminded Fellow dashes out into the London streets, frantically hails a cab, rushes through the train station and right into an abandoned car. Three days later, to his surprise, he's still in London...This droll character portrait will quickly have listeners chiming in on the chorus."-Kirkus Reviews

Editorial Reviews

Horn Book Magazine
Fifty years after its first publication in the Soviet Union by a popular Russian writer and publisher for children and now translated by a respected translator of Gogol and Dostoevsky, here is a nonsense verse about a character whose comically exaggerated behavior invokes the proverbial absent-minded professor. This particular fellow lives in London's Portobello Road (one can't help wondering whether the setting has been changed in translation), where he dresses himself in ludicrous disarray: "He was in such a flurry / As he reached for his hat / That he put on his landlady's / Angora cat. Oh, that absentminded fellow from Portobello Road!" Somehow, he gets his clothes right end up and sets out for Birmingham. But he never gets there. After failing to buy a ticket at either the flower shop or the caf,, he sleeps in an abandoned railway car on a siding until, he surmises, he must have returned from his destination. As in Rosenthal's pictures for First, Second by Daniil Kharms (rev. 9/96), the silly events are much extended by retro, cartoon- style illustrations recalling Orphan Annie and the Katzenjammer Kids, among others. Defying gravity and exuding antic glee, Rosenthal's figures hurl themselves across pages rendered in a style bold enough to engage a group yet with plenty of entertaining details to discover on closer examination. A fine blend of text and illustration, funny and childlike.
Children's Literature - Susan Hepler
This international effort features text by the founder of the first Russian publishing house for children, conversion to English by a French translator of Dostoyevsky and Gogol, and illustrations by an American who leans heavily on the cartoon traditions of "Mutt and Jeff" and "The Katzenjammer Kids". The absentminded, comb-mustached man puts his trousers on his head, ties his shoes to each other, garbles directions to a taxi driver, mistakes a sidelined train car for one going to London, and spends the night in it convincing himself that he's made a round trip to Birmingham. In most picture a chorus echoes the refrain of "Oh, that absentminded fellow from Portobello Road" after each quatrain. Stylish cartoon illustrations tinted in oranges, greens, ochres, and browns give the story an antique look but readers raised on Amelia Bedelia stories or used to the crisp verse of Seuss, Silverstein, or Prelutsky will find the humor pedestrian and the rhymed text lurching. The absentminded fellow, however, has been a celebrated character in Russian children's literature for over seventy years and those libraries with large Slavic populations will welcome especially this visually appealing nonsense story. 1999 (orig. l928,
School Library Journal
K-Gr 4-This humorous story will leave readers chuckling. An absentminded fellow who lives on Portobello Road in London wakes up one morning, sticks his arms through the legs of his trousers, pushes his feet through his shirt sleeves, ties his shoe strings to one another, and dons an angora cat in place of a hat. In garbled nonsense language, he instructs a taxi driver to take him to the train station where, after attempting to purchase a ticket to Birmingham in a flower shop and caf , he boards an abandoned train car. After falling asleep and waking three times in London instead of Birmingham, he concludes, "I was going to Birmingham,/But I came back instead!" As the man fumbles through his day, various characters call out in dialogue balloons, "Oh, that absentminded fellow from Portobello Road!" Listeners will naturally join in on the chant, making this an excellent participation story. The stylized, dapper artwork perfectly complements the bouncy, rhyming text. Rosenthal's illustrations and restrained color scheme recall the 1930s, and his characters would feel right at home in Popeye's world. Observant readers and listeners will discover subtle humorous touches throughout the book. Introduce this gleefully silly book to Edward Lear fans.-Shawn Brommer, Southern Tier Library System, Painted Post, NY
Kirkus Reviews
Translated from the Russian into rollicking verse, this droll character portrait will quickly have listeners chiming in on the chorus: "Oh, that absentminded fellow from Portobello Road!" Leaping into a shirt and thrusting his arms into his pant legs, the Absentminded Fellow dashes out into the London streets, frantically hails a cab ("Driver, stake me to the drain! Striver, brake me to the strain!"), rushes through the train station and right into an abandoned car. Three days later, to his surprise, he's still in London. Rosenthal's rubbery, Katzenjammer-Kids-style illustrations, replete with plewds, briffits, and amused onlookers, add a suitably madcap air to this wild, zany ride. (Picture book. 6-8) .

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780374300135
Publisher:
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date:
04/05/1999
Edition description:
1 ED
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
9.33(w) x 10.34(h) x 0.48(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

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