cover image The Owl and the Pussycat the Owl and the Pussycat

The Owl and the Pussycat the Owl and the Pussycat

Edward Lear, Jan Brett. Putnam Publishing Group, $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-399-21925-2

Following her recent paeans to winter ( The Mitten ; The Wild Christmas Reindeer ), Brett irradiates her interpretation of the classic Lear nonsense verse with hues of tropical intensity. As the Owl and the Pussycat, both attired in madras plaids, set out from a Caribbean locale on their romantic voyage, Brett launches a series of lush seascapes, the colors for which might well have been inspired by exotic jungle birds. The artist's celebrated borders are almost fully integrated into the illustrations--there are no vertical borders, and each spread is divided into horizontal zones. The thin uppermost layer evokes Caribbean basketry or similar elements that impart an architectural weight, as if the story were being viewed from a window; the bottom zone reveals the action below sea-level, where a golden fish, emulating the Owl, wordlessly seeks its true love. Brett's customary attention to detail results in an extravagantly gorgeous book. Ages 4-8. (Mar.)