The Owl and the Pussycat

The Owl and the Pussycat went to sea
In a beautiful pea green boat,
They took some honey, and plenty of money,
Wrapped up in a five pound note.

From The Owl and the Pussycat, a nonsense poem by Edward Lear
first published in 1871 in his book Nonsense Songs, Stories, Botany, and Alphabets.

Leola made a special Valentine for her friend Coco.

Leola made a paper heart
for her friend Coco.

Today is Valentine’s Day, so we are reading… a wonderful version of The Owl and the Pussycat by Edward Lear, illustrated by Kevin Waldron with additional verse by Angela McAllister (Koala Books, 2009).

This lilting, joyful poem is a celebration of romantic love. The Owl and the Pussycat embark on a journey with only some honey, some money and their love for each other to sustain them. There is song, dance (on the shore in the moonlight no less!), food, a wedding… and now, thanks to the addition of a new verse, there are owl/pussycat babies as well.

Why Leola loves it…

Like generations of children before her, Leola loves rhyming verses and knows The Owl and the Pussycat almost by heart. She loves this version with its vibrant and gloriously detailed illustrations. Her favourite thing to look for is the piggy-wig skilfully balancing a shilling on the end of his nose, his nose, his nose. (Of course it’s the shilling he received in exchange for his nose ring, so his nose must seem like the logical place to keep it!)

Why I love it…

I adore Kevin Waldron’s striking illustrations, which are whimsical, colourful, full of quirky details, a little bit retro and really, really cool. I want them on my walls. You can view his folio here. He hails from Dublin and there is a nice picture of him here which I thought I should share, it being Valentine’s Day and all! 😉

The new verse is lovely and in keeping with the style of the original poem. I could certainly imagine Edward Lear using the word “rumbustifus” to describe the owl/pussycat babies at play. You can read Lear’s unfinished posthumous work The Children of the Owl and the Pussycat here and see for yourself that the babies were meant to be!


About Claire

I have worked as an editor, a criminal defence lawyer and a family violence lawyer in a community legal centre. Now it's all about writing, writing, writing (and my three little people at home). I want to draw on my experience working with survivors of family violence and create sensitive, big hearted fiction that (without preaching) helps to empower women and girls with the tools to reject family violence from their lives.
This entry was posted in 19th Century, Amazing illustrations, Books for preschoolers, Books for toddlers, Children's Classic Books, Claire's favourites, Enjoyed by all ages, Favourite Illustrators, Oscar's favourites, Poetry, Rhyming verse and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to The Owl and the Pussycat

  1. Hannah says:

    Oh this book looks most enticing! Yes I LOVE the illustrations too…and the illustrator ‘ain’t so bad either! Lovely post Claire! Keep them coming….we love seeing what little Leola is reading!

  2. Suz says:

    I read the updated edition recently to the kids – love the non-sensical nature of it. I have nominated you for an award on my blog! xx

    • Claire says:

      Yay, thank you so much for the nomination Suz, and for sending lots of new visitors my way 🙂 Very excited to be nominated for an award, especially being such a newbie at this!! xx

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