cover image The Owl and the Pussy Cat

The Owl and the Pussy Cat

Edward Lear, E. Lear, M. Hague. NorthSouth, $18.95 (64pp) ISBN 978-1-55858-467-9

Hague gives free rein to dark whimsy in this eclectic sampling of Lear's verse, which includes such favorites as the title poem as well as ""The Courtship of the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo,"" ""The Cummerbund"" and a host of limericks. Lear's menagerie of odd creatures and peculiar persons (e.g., the ""Young Lady whose eyes/ Were unique as to color and size"") provide rich material for Hague to work with, and he exploits it with robust comic grotesqueries. Saturated earth tones mix with fiery flashes of red and orange in a combination that's instantly identifiable as pure Hague, as is the profusion of detail. Ending, tongue firmly in cheek, with the limerick ""There Was an Old Man of the Hague,"" the artist includes what just might be a sly self-portrait. Ages 5-8. (Nov.)