Quentin Blake, . . Peachtree, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-1-56145-282-8
"This little loveykins needs someone to look after him," announces Angela Bowling when she finds a baby bird on the ground after a windstorm. The delightfully daft woman takes splendid care of the bird, whom she names Augustus: she bundles him in a scarf, shawl and sweater to keep him warm, places him in an ornate basket and feeds him such delicacies as chocolate éclairs, Black Forest cake and "boxes of chocolates with assorted fillings." Angela even purchases a fancy baby carriage topped with a fringed parasol, in which she takes her preposterously pampered pet for daily strolls. Blake's images of Angela fretting and fawning over her beloved bird are hilarious, revealing a range of exaggerated expressions on the face of the wide-eyed critter, who seems to know exactly how ludicrous he looks. When her loveykins outgrows his basket, the woman purchases a garden shed to house him. One morning, as she brings Augustus his breakfast tray, Angela finds that the wind has blown down the shed, and she faints at the sight of her pet—now a full-grown eagle—spreading his enormous wings. Though he flies away and switches his diet from bonbons to beetles, Augustus "every so often" returns to visit Angela (now obsessed with caring for her cactus collection), repaying her kindness with such gifts as a dead mouse. Appealingly offbeat, this droll tale is classic Blake. Ages 4-8.
Reviewed on: 02/10/2003