16 September 2007

The Owl and The Pussycat

I've always loved Edward Lear. So I was delighted when W.'s aunt turned up on Labor Day weekend with a couple of old books for Miss M., one of which was a copy of Lear's "Nonsense Songs", illustrated by one L. Leslie Brooke. The other book was written and illustrated by the same Brooke and is called "Johnny Crow's Party", and happens to be the companion to a book my mother had as a child called "Johnny Crow's Garden". I got curious about Brooke and went slip-sliding around the internet looking for information, background, what have you. Alas, I didn't find much biographical stuff, but I did discover that some of his books have been digitized.

Wow. These digitized books are an amazing thing. They're all supposedly out of copyright, so once it's out there on the web, it's available to me and to you and to anyone else. I found that the New York Public Library's copy of the Lear was up there, so I downloaded the large pdf - it turned out to be the same book as mine. But their copy has had the spine taped back together (with what looks like Scotch tape) and mine has a color illustration up front that differs from theirs. So that the internet is complete (hah!), here's the illustration variant - a very whimsical color plate of the owl looking lecherous and the pussycat simpering alongside. The piggy-wig (with a ring at the end of his nose) and the turkey (who lives on the hill) are in the background.

6 comments:

slouching mom said...

The colors in that are stunning. I love the pinkish browns.

niobe said...

I would never have noticed the piggy-wig and turkey had you not pointed them out. I loved the poem too.

Tabba said...

this is gorgeous.

i just adore children's lit. illustrations.

Julie Pippert said...

Very cool!

Yes, I love the out of print list.

Julie
Using My Words

Mad Hatter said...

We have all these books in my collection. I used a Brooke illustration in a collection calendar I made a few years back--the dancing pig in johnny crow's garden. I think his work is delicious.

Blue Zebra said...

This has always been one of my favorites!!!!! Thanks for sharing. Boy the illustrations take me back...