cover image Edward Lear

Edward Lear

Edward Lear. Sterling, $14.95 (48pp) ISBN 978-0-8069-3077-0

Edward Lear (1812-1888), ed. by Edward Mendelson, illus. by Laura Huliska-Beit, joins the well-conceived Poetry for Young People series. Misunderstood by his peers and plagued by loneliness and low self-esteem, the 19th-century wordsmith and painter spent much of his time in the company of children, composing poems and songs for their amusement. Mendelson here compiles 35 of the author's efforts, introduced by comments that place each in the context of his oeuvre (""Many of Lear's poems are about people who become happy by doing what they think they should do, not what other people think they should do""). Definitions of unfamiliar words and the poet's signature nonsense phrases (such as the Owl and Pussy-Cat's ""runcible spoon"") follow; Huliska-Beit's swirling spreads and vignettes play up the eccentric scenarios. (Jan.)