Friday, 10 October 2014

ReadItDaddy's First Book of the Week - Week Ending 10th October 2014 - "The Owl and the Pussycat" by Edward Lear and Charlotte Voake (Picture Puffin)

The Owl and the Pussycat

Written by Edward Lear

Illustrated by Charlotte Voake

Published by Picture Puffin

Having previously collaborated on "The Further Adventures of The Owl and the Pussycat", Julia Donaldson takes a back seat to write the foreword for a rather lovely version of Edward Lear's classic children's poem, again with illustrations by Charlotte Voake.

Reading Julia's foreword brought back happy memories of first discovering Lear's poems thanks to my first English teacher, who was extremely passionate and enthusiastic about Lear's work (understandably so). So now the duty passes to me to introduce Charlotte to Lear's amazing word-worlds and fabulous characters, a task made easy with a fantastic book like this.

"The Owl and the Pussycat went to sea in a beautiful pea-green boat" begins the poem, and children are instantly drawn in. As Julia Donaldson so rightly says in the introduction, the book has such a sense of wonder and the start of an adventure from the outset, and if there's one thing children instantly engage with it's the thought that a book is going to take them on a grand quest.

Charlotte Voake's characterisations are as perfect as before, and her gift for imbuing her illustrations with such expression and movement really suits the poem perfectly, setting each scene with brilliant clarity.

We both read the poem through (Charlotte coped admirably with Lear's often tongue-twisting nonsense names, perhaps years of talking about Tombliboos and Ninky-Nonks have stood her in good stead).

She did wonder why I still can't seem to get through the book without a schoolboy titter or two (you know why). This is a really lovely follow up to "The Further Adventures of the Owl and the Pussycat" (which is a book we really ought to get round to reviewing on here, we borrowed it from the library a while ago and it slipped through our review schedules somehow).
A perfect homage to a literary genius, and an extremely good way to get your child interested in rhymes and poetry.

Charlotte's best bit: She loved the wedding scene, with the wise old turkey on the hill

Daddy's Favourite bit: A poem that elicits such delight, such a sense of wonder and adventure, utterly timeless and still as brilliant as when I first read it, probably at the same age Charlotte is now.

(Kindly sent to us for review by Picture Puffin)