cover image The Owl and the Pussycat

The Owl and the Pussycat

Edward Lear. Tundra Books (NY), $12.95 (24pp) ISBN 978-0-88776-181-2

In her version of Lear's classic poem, accomplished artist Rutherford uses bold, Matisse-like blocks of color to create a sensuous, almost abstract interpretation. It's a very personal vision and a valid approach, but this may not be the version of the poem that is most likely to attract young readers. For one thing, these moody illustrations undermine the poem's humorlines like ""They took some honey, and plenty of money/ Wrapped up in a five pound note'' are wasted. Children coming across the poem for the first time may be put off by the picturesit is often difficult to make out exactly what is going on. Nevertheless, the paintings have artistic merit in their own right; this could prove a popular gift book. (All ages)