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Edward Lear. Illustrated by Ron Berg.
Richmond Hill, ON: Scholastic-Tab Publications, 1984.
24pp., cloth, $14.95.
ISBN 0-59071-406-6. CIP.

Subject Headings:
Children's poetry, English.
Nonsense-verses, English.

Preschool-grade 3 / Ages 3-8

Reviewed by Janice Foster.

Volume 13 Number 4
1985 July

Edward Lear is best known for his nonsense rhymes and mastery at creating words. His famous poem, "The Owl and the Pussycat", has been re-injected into the current literary stream with the embellishment of the elaborate illustrations of Ron Berg. This Canadian artist and illustrator has provided both child and adult reader alike with an imaginative backdrop for Owl's romantic pursuit of beautiful Pussycat.

Unlike the traditional sailboat, which is usually depicted to illustrate "a beautiful pea-green boat", Berg chooses a luxurious liner. This initial setting begins the romantic adventure of the two lovers. After a brief courtship, they drift away on a lifeboat to "the land where the Bongtree grows", where they obtain a ring from Piggy-wig, a jeweller, and are married by a distinguished Turkey. The cobbled streets, quaint shops, and the variety of passengers and observers beautifully attired in turn-of-the-century fashion, add a distinctly whimsical flavour to the story. The final dance in the moonlight brings this romantic tale to a delightful close.

The rich colour and detail of all the illustrations bring life and new twists of humour to this classic poem. The bold type and large, bright pictures allow even the young reader to delight in the flow of Lear's lyrics. This is definitely a book in which the illustrator has enhanced an already well-known and well-loved literary work.

Janice Foster, Winnipeg, MB.
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