Cover image for The owl & the pussy-cat & other nonsense
The owl & the pussy-cat & other nonsense

Studio book.
The owl & the pussy-cat & other nonsense
Personal Author:
Publisher Info:
New York : Viking Press, 1979.
Physical Description:
[42] pages : color illustrations ; 30 cm.
Studio book.
Presents the well-known Lear poem plus eight limericks.
Added Author:


Call Number
Material Type
J 821.8 LEA Book Juvenile Nonfiction

On Order



Edward Lear's beloved poem has charmed readers since it was first published in 1871. Now the adventure of these two unlikely sweethearts has been paired with vibrant paper-collage illustrations by Anne Wilson. Her colorful art creates a whimsical backdrop for Owl's romantic pursuit of Pussycat. "The Owl and the Pussycat" will delight children and adults and show a new generation of readers the magic of true love. Awards and honors for "The Owl and the Pussycat": "Publishers Weekly" starred review

Author Notes

Edward Lear was born in Holloway, England, to Jeremiah (a stockbroker) and Ann Lear, tutored at home by his sister, and briefly attended the Royal Academy schools. Both an author and an illustrator, he earned his living as an artist from the age of 15, mainly by doing landscapes. What he is remembered for is his nonsense books, especially his popularization of the limerick. Along with Lewis Carroll, he is considered to be the founder of nonsense poetry.

In addition to his limericks, he created longer nonsense poems. The best---and best known---is The Jumblies, in which the title characters go to sea in a sieve; it is a brilliant, profound, silly, and sad expression of the need to leave the security of the known world and experience the wonder and danger of the unknown. His other most notable work is The Owl and the Pussy Cat, a less complex poem whose title characters also go to sea. Lear produced humorous alphabets and botany books as well.

His wordplay, involving puns, neologisms, portmanteau words, and anticlimax, retains its vitality today and has influenced such contemporary writers of children's nonsense verse as Shel Silverstein, Ogden Nash, and Laura Richards

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 5-Celebrating Edward Lear's 200th birthday, this collection features seven of his poems, including "The Owl and the Pussycat," "The Jumblies," and "The Dong with a Luminous Nose." Haunting spot art and spreads feature intriguing settings and spritely creatures, bringing out new dimensions of these beloved tales. Ingpen even devotes a couple of pages to a field guide of Bong-tree Land. The selections flow naturally from one to the next and appropriately conclude with "How Pleasant to Know Mr. Lear!" For readers who want to immerse themselves in the writer's world, there is some biographical information as well as some reproductions of his paintings and a letter. Finally, there's a recipe for Bong-fruit Chutney. Serving as a nice introduction to Lear for young readers, this thin volume has a fanciful feel that matches the works of the poet it honors.-Julie Roach, Cambridge Public Library, MA (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publisher's Weekly Review

Timed to coincide with the 200th anniversary of Lear's birth, this collection gathers several of Lear's poems, including "The Jumblies," "The Duck and the Kangaroo," and "Calico Pie." Ingpen contributes lush paintings throughout-broccoli-haired Jumblies float in a sieve in the pale sea, and a nude old man runs for cover after animals devour his pork chop trousers and pancake coat in "The New Vestments." By the time readers reach the final poem, they'll be in agreement with its sentiment: " 'How pleasant to know Mr. Lear!'/ Who has written such volumes of stuff!/ Some think him ill-tempered and queer,/ But a few think him pleasant enough." Ages 7-9. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.