The Owl and the Pussycat
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The Owl and the Pussycat

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4.19 of 5 stars 4.19  ·  rating details  ·  4,781 ratings  ·  140 reviews
Edward Lear's nonsense poem about two unlikely sweethearts--an elegant owl and a beautiful cat--has found a perfect match in artist Jan Brett. She traveled to the Caribbean (the land where the Bong-tree grows, perhaps?) to research her illustrations as well as the settings, costume details, plants, and fish native to the area. Readers can follow an illustrated subplot of t...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published March 14th 1991 by Putnam Juvenile (first published 1871)
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Killer Rabbit
Long before Sendak imagined Where the Wild Things Are, an Owl and a Pussy Cat traveled for a year and a day.
You know why this frolicsome tale has disappeared from the modern realm of childrens' tales? Because language changes. If we parents had more respect for that reality, we would still be reading this lovely tale to our kids.

But instead we allow the random ebb and flow of language to rule us. When we see the word 'pussy', we parents do not have the fortitude to tell our children that this wo...more
Dolly
Apr 30, 2012 Dolly rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
We recently read Miss Smith Under the Ocean, which references a lot of classic tales. Our oldest was intrigued by the mention of the poem of "The Owl and the Pussycat", so I borrowed a couple of different picture-book versions of this classic poem so she could hear the whole thing.

This version has colorful mixed-media illustrations that are very expressive and abstract. It's very different from Jan Brett's illustrated version of the poem, and we enjoyed comparing the two books. Later on, we rea...more
Thom Dunn
I recall the first time I saw a runcible spoon and nearly fainted with nostalgia, remembering my mother's reading of this to me from MY BOOK HOUSE. Thanks again, Mom.
Smeg
I read the version with the illustrations by Wendy Straw and yes, it is a children's book.

Ricky Gervais spiked my interest when he quoted the line "In a beautiful pea-green boat:" referring to one of Karl Pilkington's ramblings that fuse reality with fantasy.
It sounded to me like this story should be common knowledge. I looked up the book and author and decided I wanted to know more. As I am a fan of Spike Milligan I found that Edward Lear is right up my alley.
The Owl And The Pussycat is a ro...more
Sarah Barrington
The Owl and the Pussycat is a classic nonsense poem by Edward Lear, and has long been one of my favourite books since I was a young child. There are many versions of the poem with different illustrations, but they are always beautiful to look at and really engaging for young readers. The poem is a love story between two anthropomorphic characters, the owl and the pussycat, and follows them as they get engaged and search for a ring. We meet various other silly characters throughout the poem, and...more
Becky
Mar 02, 2008 Becky rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: kids age 2 and up, owl-n-pussycat lovers
Jan Brett's Caribbean-inspired illustrations for the classic Edward Lear poem are teeming with life, and the effect is stunning. The colors, textures, and shapes are a visual treat. Each page also has a different pattern of "straw" border, adorned with a different tropical flower.

The pictures overflow with detail, to the point where there's even a sub-story (pardon the pun) involving two yellow fish.

I didn't give it the full 5 stars because the way the text is broken up across spreads makes it d...more
Esther Barajikian
"The Owl and the Pussycat" is a classic poem written by Edward Leer that was first published in the 19th century. This book, illustrated by Anne Wilson presents the love story of two unlikely lovers in a charming and whimsical way. Combining several different techniques, her use of brilliant colors, creative lines and surrealistic images carries the reader into a wonderful make-believe world by means of a beautiful pea-green boat.

The author use of rhyming couplets, simple rhythm, and patterned...more
Riven
‘The Owl and the Pussy Cat’ is the much loved children’s classic written by Edward Lear and the version I found in my library contains updated illustrations by Louise Voce. It follows the whimsical journey of the eponymous duo as they set to sea, get engaged and search for a ring.

The nonsense poetry has some lovely lines although some of the language has certainly dated and could be considered a tad risqué these days (“Oh lovely pussy” etc) however its main audience is unlikely to be aware of an...more
Karen
There are many illustrated version of Edward Lear's The Owl and the Pussycat -- some are so breathtakingly gorgeous but lack the silliness of this story, some are cartoony and have no depth, and some are so deep they tread some very disturbing waters -- so far, though, this is my favorite version.

Jan Brett's illustrations, as always are colorful, well-rendered and quite lovely; and, as usual, somewhat jarring. That's what makes them so perfect for Edward Lear. Edward Lear's writings fall somewhe...more
Shanna Gonzalez
Edward Lear's classic rhyme comes to sparking life in Jan Brett's lively and original interpretation. It opens with a charming scene with Pussycat's parents looking on fondly, while Owl kneels before her, she regarding him with an enigmatic look. The courtship proceeds over glassy seas with idyllic views above and below water, and even children who are romantic nature of the story will wish they could visit "the place where the bong-tree grows."

Brett's illustrations are lush, vibrant, and rich i...more
Henry Martin
I'm giving this one three stars, but mostly because of the huge wow factor. The illustrations are so vivid and the poem so surreal, that the first thing that came to mind is a LSD trip.

The kids seem to love it though.

Fawls13
I had never read this book before we read it to my son. It is an odd book.

Owls and pussycats together, in love and taking to water in a boat. Then there is this stanza:
"O lovely Pussy, O Pussy, my love,
What a beautiful Pussy you are,
You are,
You are!
What a beautiful Pussy you are!"

And then,
"They sailed away, for a year and a day,
To the land where the bong-tree grows..."

where one expects they may meet Cheech and Chong, but no,
"...there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood,
With a ring at the end of his nose...more
Aleta
It's impossible to tell here, but the specific edition I'm reviewing is The Owl & the Pussy-Cat & Other Nonsense by Edward Lear, with illustrations by Owen Wood (1978, Viking Press). It includes eight short verses by Lear in addition to TO&tPC. Wood's intricate illustrations are gorgeous, and invite return visits, as I have done many a time over the years. This was one of the books that my parents kept on their shelves, and I'm glad they did - it survived where some of our other chil...more
Steph
Stephane Jorisch, amazing illustrations.
Mimi
This book is about an owl and a cat who are in love and they go on a journey together across the sea to get married. This book would be great for teaching poetry and different styles of writing. I personally love this book because I read it when I was in kindergarten to a group of students at my school. We had a program "read to succeed" and I had my picture in the newspaper reading to children older than me.
A
So, I bought this at a used bookstore, because the pictures were absolutely beautiful. I suppose this is why I should learn to prescreen the books I buy my daughter. When reading this one, neither me nor my daughter were very impressed. I almost put it down to start a new one, because of how squirrely she started to get (she's two) but I finished it. It's not a horrible book, but it's just a meh one. I'm happy I didn't buy it new. Though I make a point to only buy books I have previously read wh...more
Imelda
I love this poem. What I love even more in this particular book, are the illustrations. I've read this to both of my children, over and over and over. An all time classic and just gorgeous pictures.
Jeanne O'Hara
Genre: poetry

This book, a nonsense poem by Edward Lear, is illustrated by Jan Brett. Brett's illustrations bring this colorful poem to life.

This was a favorite in our house. My husband loved this poem--his father had read it to him and his siblings when he was a child. When I found this version with the beautiful pictures, it quickly became a nightly ritual. Our children could recite the lines with him, and could recite the lines just from looking at the pictures.

I would use this as a read alou...more
Canadian Children's Book Centre
Once again the Kids Can Press Visions in Poetry series offers a stunning book. First published in 1871, The Owl and the Pussycat is one of Edward Lear’s most famous nonsense poems. It is a charming tale of love between two anthropomorphized animals: an owl and a cat. The poem features fantastical creatures such as a “piggy wig,” and made up objects such as the “runcible spoon.” Such creations are ripe for imaginative interpretations and the poem has indeed been illustrated, animated and set to m...more
Maria
I should probably start a shelf called Children's Books That Are Not Good for Children. This is one of those books I would ut on that shelf. I find Lear's rhymes to be very strange. These have a very nice sound to them but I think they are inaccessible. I remember feeling the same way about Alice In Wonderland as a child. But I suppose different children feel differently so it would be better to expose them to things and let them make their own decisions. As an adult I enjoy the oddity. Dale Max...more
Dolly
May 25, 2012 Dolly rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
We recently read Miss Smith Under the Ocean, which references a lot of classic tales. Our oldest was intrigued by the mention of the poem of "The Owl and the Pussycat", so I borrowed a few different picture-book versions of this classic poem so she could hear the whole thing.

We first read classic versions of the poem illustrated by Anne Wilson and Jan Brett. Then we discovered this book and borrowed it from our local library, too.

This version has gorgeous illustrations and a bit of an expanded...more
Dolly
Apr 29, 2012 Dolly rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
We recently read Miss Smith Under the Ocean, which references a lot of classic tales. Our oldest was intrigued by the mention of the poem of "The Owl and the Pussycat", so I borrowed a couple of different picture-book versions of this classic poem so she could hear the whole thing.

We first read Anne Wilson's illustrated version of the poem first and then we read this one. Both were very different renditions of the same story and we enjoyed discussing the differences in the illustrations. Later...more
Sarah Sammis
The Owl and the Pussycat illustrated by Anne Mortimer is among Edward Lear's best known nonsense poems. It's also a family favorite, one we recite on a semi-regular basis. It's perfect for a family of owl and cat lovers. The owl and pussycat go on a long sea journey in their pea green boat. After sailing the world for a year and a day they decide to get married.

It includes elements listed as children's preferences in The Essentials of Children's Literature (Lynch-Brown, Tomlinson & Short, 20...more
Seán
The was one of my favourite stories as a child, as it evokes beautiful images of sailing on the sea in a little boat. The rhythm and metre of the poem is notable, and can be tapped out by the reader. Considered a ‘nonsense poem, some words are inventions of Lear such the adjective ‘runcible’. The illustrations are really lovely, and the title characters are complimenting each other and so devoted that they sail for ‘a year and a day’ to find a ring to get married. They find a ‘piggy wig’ who has...more
Zahra
Ill have to be honest here. I read this a couple years ago and that was probably in gr. 5. I absolutely loved this book a lot because I loved to read poetry when I was younger but now I am not that much into it. Anyway... This book was my favourite and it was a book someone gave to me and I just loved. It's amazing book that I think parents should read to their kids because I absolute loved it when I was a kid!
Meg McGregor
An absolutely enchanting version of one of Edward Lear's best-loved children's poem.

The owl and the pussycat are in love and sail off together. They meet very interesting characters along the way and decide to get married.

A simple story but so beautifully brought to life by Jan Brett. She is, in my opinion, one of the best illustrators ever!

SallySnowtiger
The Owl and The Pussy Cat

Grade K-3

The illustrations done by Jan Bret are both animated and realistic in appearance. Bret uses lots of color, particularly lots of aqua blues and greens. The illustrations are large and detailed and the text is minimal. Lear’s use of rhythm and rhyme to tell this humorous romantic story between the owl and the pussycat will appeal to children’s sense of imagination. Children will like the colorful illustrations, the sound of the poem and the story because it is sho...more
Marsha
In brilliant colors, we set off with the owl and the pussycat, his sweet feline love. But the illustrator has provided a Caribbean backdrop for this story, complete with vibrant sea images taking place above and below the unlikely titular couple.

The eye is drawn to all the lovely details accompanying the text as the fowl and feline sail away in a pea-green boat. The images flesh out the story even before the poetry starts as we witness the eager owl hotfooting it to the door of his lady love and...more
Peter Bensen
everyone should read this book. I am interested in what different illustrators have done with this. Kids inherently understand the whimsy and metaphor. I love the fact that two different people can fall in love. you don't both have to love dungeons and dragons, well then again maybe in that case you both do.
Sharon

There are 15 nonsense rhymes altogether by Edward Lear from the 'Owl & the Pussycat' to 'The Two Old Bachelors' (my favourite). This was originally released on casstte in 1987. I am so glad that they've re-released it on CD. There's just one cd - 40 minutes long.
'Edward Lear is famous for his linguistic genius & peculiar brand of humour.' Alan Bennett just enhances this fab colaboration.
For everyone I think from babies to adults, I say babies too because the dulcet tones of Alan Bennet...more
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The Owl and the Pussycat 2 4 Feb 26, 2013 06:41AM  
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Edward Lear was an English artist, illustrator and writer known for his literary nonsense, in poetry and prose, and especially his limericks, a form which he popularized.

For more information, please see http://www.answers.com/topic/edward-lear

More about Edward Lear...
The Complete Verse and Other Nonsense A Book of Nonsense The Complete Nonsense of Edward Lear The Jumblies The Quangle Wangle's Hat

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“And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
They danced by the light of the moon.”
1923 likes
“They dined on mince, and slices of quince
Which they ate with a runcible spoon;
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
They danced by the light of the moon.”
55 likes
More quotes…