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The Owl and the Pussycat
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The Owl and the Pussycat

4.2  ·  Rating details ·  7,221 Ratings  ·  209 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 G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers (first published 1871)
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The Owl and the Pussycat and other nonsense is a book of Edward Lear's eccentric and unique comic verse, published in 2012 to celebrate the bicentenary of the author's birth. It is lavishly illustrated with watercolour paintings by the Australian artist, Robert Ingpen. This is a happy combination, as Ingpen's depictions, based on Australian flora, seem to be a perfect fit for Lear's imagined Bong-tree Land.

Edward Lear was one of 20 children. He suffered from epilepsy, and had a very unhappy chi
Apr 30, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  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
May 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Dustin Crazy little brown owl
"O lovely Pussy! O Pussy, my love,
What a beautiful Pussy you are,
You are,
You are,
What a beautiful Pussy you are!"

-Edward Lear

"Our mother was a Pussycat,
Our father was the Owl,
So we are partly little beasts
And partly little fowl . . . ."

-Edward Lear

The wording might be a bit dated but we must take into account that the lyrics were written in the 1800's. This classic is well worth reading.

Apr 10, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Andrea Hussey
23 pages

I was supposed to pick out a Golden Book for a baby shower, the one with the oldest publication date wins a prize, so I stumbled across this book and I was so flustered by the title I put it down to think about. I was also turned off by the owl and “pussy” cat marriage I said to my sister how perverted that was and it put an image in my head that wasn’t pleasant. I always find interspecies mating to be perverse, no matter that these two only got married, it still put an image of the two
Mar 02, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Sarah Barrington
Aug 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: uel
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
Sep 25, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
‘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
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
Jul 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
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
I am not a fan of dressed up realistic-looking animals. Therefore, I liked this poem better when I first read it in a plain text format without any illustrations. Nonetheless, Jen Brett's illustrations are gorgeous, and I loved the side story she told in her artwork.
I have no words for this book. It's wierd and not at all what i expected.
And the stanza that goes something like this; oh what a lovely pussy you are. say what? who would write that in a childrens book. Not good, not good
Thom Dunn
Jul 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Apr 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, picturebooks
As the reviews pertain to various editions I wanted to note that I read the utterly gorgeous edition with illustrations by Jan Brett.
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
Shanna Gonzalez
Feb 15, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-00-04
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
Ash (It's a Word Vomit World)
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
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
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 wonderful read from my childhood, one I’d certainly suggest for other youngsters. Whilst it is not my all-time favourite childhood read I can still recall all the details of this one meaning it certainly left a lasting impression upon my young mind.

And isn’t that what we want with children’s books, for them to leave a positive lasting impression?
Nov 20, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Okay dumb. I have a hard time imagining an owl and a pussycat getting married by a turkey...wierd....I'm sure I'm reading way more into it. Yes, I know it's all "nonsense" but some nonsense I struggle with.

Good illustrations though...
Tiny Mendoza
It was ok, but I didn't liked it that much. I mean, how can an owl and a cat be married? I know it's supposed to be fictional and all, but I think it's just absurd. Sorry. I guess, am not artistic or creative enough.
Jul 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: for-the-kiddos
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.
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.

I own this copy. I bought it for myself and read it to kids at school. My own were too old to enjoy it... They preferred more rousing tales. The illustrations in this are glorious, and each page and part of the rhyme has something unlikely to look for. A treasure!
Aug 13, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Stephane Jorisch, amazing illustrations.
May 13, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tinky
I had never read this book prior to reading it to my 2 and half year old daughter... and I wish I had.
This book was so weird and I felt almost kind of inappropriate with the word choices.
Mar 22, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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The Owl and the Pussycat 3 7 Nov 13, 2014 11:19AM  
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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

More about Edward Lear...
“And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
They danced by the light of the moon.”
“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.”
More quotes…