Thursday, 30 October 2014

The Further Adventures of the Owl and the Pussycat (Book and CD Edition) by Julia Donaldson and Charlotte Voake (Bloomsbury Publishing)

The Further Adventures of the Owl and the Pussycat

Written by Julia Donaldson

Illustrated by Charlotte Voake

Published by Bloomsbury Publishing

Standing on the shoulders of literary giants is no easy task. Julia Donaldson is well established in her own right as a fantastic children's author with a wonderful gift for spinning the most amazing storyworlds from her rhymes. So it comes as no surprise that she's a huge fan of Edward Lear and his awesome mix of nonsense poetry and amazing characters.

We've recently reviewed "The Owl and the Pussycat" with a foreword by Julia, and illustrated by the hugely talented Charlotte Voake, and it was so good to be able to familiarise Charlotte with the original poem, so brilliantly reprinted by Bloomsbury.

So in a slightly disjointed turn of events, this book came out first but we're reviewing it second (now that a special edition with storytelling CD - read by Julia herself - comes with the book) and it's a sequel to the original poem? With us so far? Nope I'm completely lost too.

"The Further Adventures of the Owl and the Pussycat" reintroduces us to Owl, Pussycat and a cast of characters popping in for cameos from Edward Lear's other amazing nonsense poems (which we've recently been enjoying through Lear's brilliant poetry collections).

The story concerns the theft of the Pussycat's wedding ring, which was carefully tied around her tail - but stolen by a naughty crow. The Owl and the Pussycat once more set off - this time in a beautiful green balloon - to track down the wedding ring, on a high adventures across land and sea - to the Chankly Bore and beyond!

The new treatment works wonderfully in all but a few places, where the repetition taken from lines in the original poem doesn't quite 'fit' for us, and seems to jar a bit when reading aloud.

It is inventive stuff though as you'd expect from Julia, and Charlotte's illustrations are wondrous. It's also rather nice to be able to sit back and let Julia read the story to us in her wonderful rumbling tones full of excitement and passion for the poem and her own treatment of it.

Charlotte's best bit: The wonderful tea party to round off the tale

Daddy's Favourite bit: The dong with the luminous nose!

(Kindly sent to us for review by Bloomsbury Publishing)