Timed to coincide with the 200th anniversary of Lear’s birth, this collection gathers several of Lear’s poems, including “The Jumblies,” “The Duck and the Kangaroo,” and “Calico Pie.” Ingpen contributes lush paintings throughout—broccoli-haired Jumblies float in a sieve in the pale sea, and a nude old man runs for cover after animals devour his pork chop trousers and pancake coat in “The New Vestments.” By the time readers reach the final poem, they’ll be in agreement with its sentiment: “ ‘How pleasant to know Mr. Lear!’/ Who has written such volumes of stuff!/ Some think him ill-tempered and queer,/ But a few think him pleasant enough.” Ages 7–9. (Oct.)
From the Publisher
"By the time readers reach the final poem, they’ll be in agreement with its sentiment: ‘How pleasant to know Mr. Lear!'/ Who has written such volumes of stuff!/ Some think him ill-tempered and queer,/ But a few think him pleasant enough.” —Publishers Weekly
"Those looking for an excuse to introduce Edward Lear to a child need look no farther than this handsome edition." —The Wall Street Journal
"The imaginative, meticulously detailed drawings of Robert Ingpen breathe new life into the bong trees and pilly-wigs." -Edmonton's Child
"Serving as a nice introduction to Lear for young readers, this thin volume has a fanciful feel that matches the works of the poet it honors." — School Library Journal
School Library Journal
K-Gr 5—Celebrating Edward Lear's 200th birthday, this collection features seven of his poems, including "The Owl and the Pussycat," "The Jumblies," and "The Dong with a Luminous Nose." Haunting spot art and spreads feature intriguing settings and spritely creatures, bringing out new dimensions of these beloved tales. Ingpen even devotes a couple of pages to a field guide of Bong-tree Land. The selections flow naturally from one to the next and appropriately conclude with "How Pleasant to Know Mr. Lear!" For readers who want to immerse themselves in the writer's world, there is some biographical information as well as some reproductions of his paintings and a letter. Finally, there's a recipe for Bong-fruit Chutney. Serving as a nice introduction to Lear for young readers, this thin volume has a fanciful feel that matches the works of the poet it honors.—Julie Roach, Cambridge Public Library, MA
Horn Book Magazine
Lear's pea-green boat sails again, this time with the inimitable James Marshall at the helm. Envisioned as the S.S. Dorabella, this cruise ship will escort the Owl and his fianc‚e, the profoundly clothes-conscious Pussycat, from Pier 23, laden with suitcases marked for ports of call around the world. On calm seas, tuxedoed Owl serenades the flapper-inspired Pussycat seated in her deck chair; in rougher waters, Owl braves the weather to photograph his windblown beloved. Owl and Pussycat join the legion of goofy original Marshall creations: in their grass skirts and leis, the exaggerated portly twosome (he with his signature wide-owl eyes; she with coy looks and rouge-dotted cheeks) highstep it by the light of the moon. At his wacky best, watercolorist Marshall limns a huge priestly turkey, all seriousness with his pince-nez glasses and preposterous wattle; outfitted with a regal purple headdress and matching scarf, the extravagant turkey marries the dapper couple. Lear's famous poem, here calligraphed in white and black crayon, receives an irreverent, gently playful rendition. In a deeply personal afterword, dear friend Maurice Sendak pays homage to Marshall, who shared with him the "sketches" that became Marshall's final largess to his devoted following. Sendak is exactly right when he pronounces that, with this last book, Marshall's "charming slap-happiness [is] now wed to an odd poignancy that conjure[s] a sweet new essence."
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Hague gives free rein to dark whimsy in this eclectic sampling of Lear's verse, which includes such favorites as the title poem as well as "The Courtship of the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo," "The Cummerbund" and a host of limericks. Lear's menagerie of odd creatures and peculiar persons (e.g., the "Young Lady whose eyes/ Were unique as to color and size") provide rich material for Hague to work with, and he exploits it with robust comic grotesqueries. Saturated earth tones mix with fiery flashes of red and orange in a combination that's instantly identifiable as pure Hague, as is the profusion of detail. Ending, tongue firmly in cheek, with the limerick "There Was an Old Man of the Hague," the artist includes what just might be a sly self-portrait. Ages 5-8. (Nov.)
Illustrated in full color, this poetry collection includes 18 examples of nonsense verse by two masters of the form, Lewis Carroll and Edward Lear. Carroll's poems include selections from "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass", such as "Jabberwocky," "The Walrus and the Carpenter," and "The Mock Turtle's Song," while Lear's famous Quangle Wangle, Jumblies, Dong, and Pobble make their expected appearances, along with the owl and the pussycat and some less familiar characters. The combination of writers works very well, though the illustrations won't please everyone. Aside from the vexing question of whether these poems should be illustrated at all--the artist's vision of the Jabberwock "will" preempt the child's imagining his or her own Jabberwock--the superreal, occasionally surrealistic, mannered style of Palin's full-color artwork, however deftly drawn, tends to overwhelm the verse. Larger libraries may want this on hand for those who like their nonsense illustrated and their illustrations polished.
Hague offers an assortment of selections from Edward Lear's immortal compendium of nonsense, still as absurd and extravagant as ever. Among the poems are "The Courtship of the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo," "Calico Pie," and "The Duck and the Kangaroo," as well as a generous sampling of limericks. The task of illustrating Lear's poems would be daunting for any artist thanks to Lear's own inimitable sketches, but Hague's quaintly antiquated style fills the bill, and his trademark use of lavishly dark and murky colors, which can easily overwhelm certain subjects, is well matched to the words here. Hague plays off the sensual and grotesque elements of the poetry and uses rich texture and imagination to extend the text's foolishness. This is a worthy collection, as zany today as it was when Victorian critic John Ruskin first included it in his list of the best hundred books ever written.