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*The Owl and the Pussycat* by Edward Lear, illustrated by Anne Mortimer


The Owl and the Pussycat
by Edward Lear, illustrated by Anne Mortimer
Ages 5-12 32 pages Katherine Tegen Books August 2006 Hardcover    

Following his serenade on the pea-green boat, Owl proposes to Pussycat. They navigate the seas together for over a year, eventually landing on an island where ďthe bong tree grows.Ē Under an archway of branches, seaweed and shells, they are wed. The marriage ceremony is performed by Turkey, the wedding ring supplied by Pig. A honeymoon ensues with seaside dining and moonlit dancing.

Edward Lear was born in 1812 and became known for his writings and illustrations. His nonsense works are famous, and his piece "The Owl and the Pussycat" is one of his most recognized. This classic poem has been illustrated by many artists, including Jan Brett, Anne Wilson, and Louise Voce.

Anne Mortimer is the illustrator of this book. She is renowned for her paintings of cats, which can be seen in such books as A Pussycatís Christmas and Santaís Snow Cat. In The Owl and the Pussycat, the illustrations are framed by borders that just bloom. While on the sea, multicolored fish, seaweeds, and various kinds of seahorse and crustaceans edge the main pictures. While on the island, the borders change to butterflies, flowers, and leaves of all kinds. These decorations make the pages quite beautiful. Sometimes itís the text thatís bordered, and sometimes itís her circular scenes, views that certainly bring the pictures into the center of attention. Mortimerís illustrations are incredibly realistic. Thousands of details come out with every fold of Turkeyís skin, Owlís feathers, and Pussycatís fur. Her precision with every paint stroke and placement of color is mind boggling.

Owl has fallen for Pussycat, and it shows on every page. Said in both words and illustrations, this story is a lovely celebration of an owl that truly cherishes a cat. With an abundance of illustrations to pore over, and a poem that just thrives in your mouth, this book is definitely recommended. As an added bonus, four lines of Edward Learís unfinished sequel to "The Owl and the Pussycat" are included in the back of this book.

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  Tanya Boudreau/2006 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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