Friday, June 24, 2011

Poetry Friday - A review of His shoes were far too tight

When I was a child, one of my favorite poems was "The Owl and the Pussycat," a poem written by Edward Lear. Though I never studied it in school, I knew the poem by heart, and to this day I love to hear this charmingly peculiar love story about a cat and an owl who sail off together in a "pea green boat." For today's Poetry Friday title I have a collection of Edward Lear's poems that poetry fans of all ages will appreciate. And yes, the poem about the Owl and Pussycat is included. 

Edward Lear
Introduced by Daniel Pinkwater
Illustrated by Calif Brown
For ages 6 to 10
Chronicle Books, 2011, 978-0-8118-6792-4
   Edward Lear was a “goofy-looking guy with thick eyeglasses” who was shy, but who liked children and animals. His shyness and ill health meant that he tended to keep to himself, and he became a wonderful observer. It wasn’t long before he realized that “adults are a bit ridiculous,” and he began to write nonsense poems. The poems were first published in book form in 1846. Ever since then, children and adults who appreciate the ridiculousness of life have been enjoying his poems.
   For this collection of poems, Daniel Pinkwater has selected some of Edward Lear’s most beloved and amusing poems. Throughout the book, the poems are paired with Calif Brown’s bright and unique paintings. On these pages, you will hear the story of “The owl and pussycat” who “went to sea / In a beautiful pea green boat.” There is the “Nonsense Alphabet” poem that children are sure to enjoy. Instead of A being for apple, in this poem, “A was an ape, / Who stole some white tape.”
   Readers will also hear about Pobble, a fellow who lost his toes after he swam the Bristol Channel, and the Quangle Wangle who sat on “the top of the Crumpetty Tree.” The Quangle Wangle’s hat was so enormous, so bedecked with ribbons, bells, buttons, lace, and other ornaments that no one could see his face.
   Beautifully presented, this stellar collection of nonsense poems is a must for families, school rooms, and libraries.

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