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The Owl and the Pussycat


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Date- 2013-08-06 John Vernon Lord is an award-winning author-illustrator who has been working for nearly 50 years. He has illustrated many classic texts by Aesop, Lewis Carroll and Edward Lear, as well as his own stories, and he was also a distinguished lecturer and teacher of illustration for 45 years until his recent retirement. Edward Lear (1812-1888) was an illustrator, natural history artist, and writer, though he is best known for his nonsense poems. His collection of poetry, A Book of Nonsense,was published in 1846 and helped to popularize the limerick, a humorous form of verse. His most famous poem, The Owl and the Pussycat,has been made into many picture books.


K-Gr 4-With this collection of 24 limericks and poems, Hague joins scores of other illustrators who have interpreted the poet's comic vision. Unfortunately, his busy and carefully autographed paintings, whose dark tones and stylized people and landscapes echo the styles of illustrators like N. C. Wyeth and Arthur Rackham, seem too ponderous for Lear's dancing rhymes. The illustration for "There Was a Young Lady whose Eyes" is more grotesque than funny; the image of a young boy wrapped in a turban that accompanies "The Cummerbund" evokes racial stereotypes. These poems and limericks cry for the light touch of someone like Fred Marcellino (The Pelican Chorus and Other Nonsense [HarperCollins, 1995]).æKathleen Whalin, Greenwich Country Day School, CT

Lear's narrative poem has been popular for over 100 years, with good reason. The wonderful rhythm and nonsensical wordsruncible spoon, Piggy-wig, Bongtreemake this verse a joy for both the adult reading the book and the young listener. The owl and the pussycat ``sailed away for a year and a day,'' declared their love for each other, decided to marry, landed on an island and, after the ceremony, ``dined on mince and slices of quince,'' then ``danced by the light of the moon.'' Cauley has illustrated many nursery tales with humor, attention to detail and glowing beautythis book is no exception. The shimmering waves reveal playful creatures of the ocean. On the island, the flora and fauna are abundant and brightly colored. (26)

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