Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Owl and the Pussycat

The Owl and the Pussycat

Edward Lear
Illustrator:  Stephane Jorisch 
Poetry Picture Book
For ages 8 and up
Kids Can Press, 2007   ISBN: 978-1553378280

An owl and pussycat are in love but they live in a place where owls and pussycats are not supposed to consort with one another. And so, the lovers decide to run away together. They get into a pea-green boat and after deciding that they will get married, they sail "away for a year and a day?" until they get to the island where the bong tree grows.

Here the lovers meet a pig who has a ring in its nose. Being a kind and friendly creature the pig agrees to sell them its ring for a shilling. Then the pair are finally able to get married. Best of all, in this wonderful land they are surrounded by other couples like themselves, mixed couples who are together because they love one another and who do not need to fear that they will be persecuted in any way.

In this unique book, Stephane Jorisch has created some extraordinary illustrations for Edward Lear's famous and much loved poem. He presents the voyage of the owl and the pussycat as being a special journey not just of lovers going to be married, but also of lovers seeking a place where they can live together in peace, a place where they won't have to worry about what others will say or do.

Jorisch's quirky illustrations offer readers plenty to look at and to think about, and one cannot help feeling that Edward Lear would heartily approve of this new twist on his classic little love story.

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