cover image The Pelican Chorus: And Other Nonsense

The Pelican Chorus: And Other Nonsense

Edward Lear. HarperCollins, $14.95 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-06-205062-5

An impressively versatile artist, Marcellino (Puss in Boots; The Steadfast Tin Soldier) here deftly adapts his style to the spirit and setting of each of three blithe Lear verses. Positioned between two refreshing, lesser-known works is the timeless ""The Owl and the Pussycat,"" accompanied by pictures perfectly attuned to the capricious verse. In his rendering of the duo's wedding feast, Marcellino has the bride, groom, pig and turkey don festive party hats as they dine ""on mince, and slices of quince."" Equally effective is his depiction of an old-world town in ""The New Vestments""; devotees will enjoy comparing Marcellino's utterly comic approach to DeLoss McGraw's dramatics in The New Vestments (Children's Forecasts, Apr. 17). The title tale, set on the banks of the Nile, features a dapper set of pelican parents who marry off their daughter to the king of the cranes, then fear they will never see her again. In panel art and a few full spreads, Marcellino's droll details capture the pelicans' urbane manners, as well as Lear's subtle meshing of the poignantly real and the sheerly nonsensical. A must-have for fans of Lear-and of Marcellino. All ages. (May)