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Owl and the Pussycat Hardcover – January 1, 2003

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

"The Owl and the Pussycat went to sea / In a beautiful pea-green boat. / They took some honey, and plenty of money, / Wrapped up in a five-pound note." The Owl and the Pussycat make quite a couple. On the decks of the pea-green S.S. Dorabella, the lovesick, bulgy-eyed Owl serenades his jowly feline sweetheart, inspiring her to grab him, dip him, and propose (demand?) marriage. They sail to an island, where they persuade the Piggywig to sell them the ring at the end of his nose to use as a wedding ring, are married by a turkey who lives on a hill, and then dance by the light of the moon. James Marshall--beloved creator of the unforgettable hippos George and Martha--graces Edward Lear's classic nonsense poem "The Owl and the Pussycat" with his winsome, goofy watercolor sketches in the final work before his death in 1992. As his dear friend Maurice Sendak writes in the afterword of this historic book, "There was never such an Owl and Pussycat, certainly not since Edward Lear, and for my money James surpasses Lear's original pictures in sheer giddy humor and heartfeltness." This is the kind of book that adults wish they had grown up with, and that children will remember their whole lives. (All ages) --Karin Snelson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

If there is a slightly sketchy, unfinished quality to Marshall's exuberant watercolors in this enchanting interpretation of the classic poem, it's because the gifted artist never lived to complete them. In true Marshall fashion, the artist lifts Lear's quirky duo to new heights, retaining the characters' eccentricities while endowing their relationship with human dynamics. In a preview to the book's title page, dapper Owl appearsAwith the look of one long accustomed to such scenariosAin jacket, tie, vest and spats showing a still-primping Pussycat his pocketwatch. He then dons a bowler and Pussycat sports a wide-brimmed chapeau as the two, chauffeured by a diminutive dog, depart in a roadster pulling a wagon stacked with no fewer than 19 valises and hat boxes. Marshall's inventive take on the "beautiful pea-green boat" is the S.S. Dorabella, an appropriately hued cruise ship that puts the QE II to shame. Despite the other implied guests aboard, Marshall retains an intimate focus on the romantic couple. A tux-clad Owl serenades his "lovely Pussy" on deck as his beloved reclines in a lounge chair, and they come ashore alone together in "the land where the bong tree grows." Marshall's supporting cast is as nattily and humorously turned out as these principals (e.g., the portly Piggywig, who supplies the wedding ring, is resplendent in grass skirt and a colorful lei). Maurice Sendak, as friend and colleague, pays eloquent tribute to Marshall's talent in an afterword. It would be difficult for readers to imagine a better couple to set sail with than Marshall's Owl and Pussycat. All ages.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 24 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books (January 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1422351513
  • ISBN-13: 978-1422351512
  • Product Dimensions: 10.5 x 9.2 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (239 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,142,418 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Tina Heller on December 2, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Both my 4 year old daughter and I love this book! The pictures are gorgeous, the unusual animals are beautiful and interesting and the simple story is alot of fun! I enjoy how the story builds up and then brings itself back around to a similar place from which it had begun. I love the frog's spanish text. I didn't think it was confusing at all as one editorial reviewer mentioned above. I am buying another copy as a Christmas present for my 8 year old niece. If your child is interested in animals and forests, as mine is, I'm sure he/she will enjoy this book.
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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful By P. D. on January 23, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Spectacularly beautiful illustrations make this book a joy. The familiar poem has a gently rocking rhythm, and the pictures have a flow of their own. My 18-month-old daughter likes to find the flower, the yellow fish, the cat and the owl on each page. The quiet familiarity of the poem calms her down during the nighttime crazies (that spurt of energy toddlers get just before they collapse into a puddle). I recommend this book for a soothing, visually delightful experience.
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74 of 82 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 15, 1999
Format: Paperback
I had read this book as a child, then recently came across it again as an adult. Although the story itself is simple, the moral is timeless and holds the characteristics of a downplayed fairytale. As a horse lover, I feel that there are not enough books out there which center around the majestic beast. Fritz is akin to Charlie Brown's Christmas tree. A not so beautiful, diamond in the rough, heart of gold pony who will fill readers' hearts. This book has incidentally inspired me to try my hand at writing children's horse stories as well. I recommend it to anyone who wants to teach children the importance of all too rare goodness which needs to be duplicated time and again.
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 21, 1999
Format: Paperback
Fritz is not beautiful, but he is gentle and kind and hard working. He rescues the children when the beautiful horses would not. This story, like all of Jan Brett's books, is wonderfully illustrated and teaches a lesson while showing the joys animals bring to a child's life.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Joshua Koppel on December 14, 2003
Format: Paperback
In Annie, as in The Mitten and others, Jan Brett tells a fun children's tale while gently showing how a children's actions affect the world around them. Just as the boy in The Mitten winds up scaring all of the animals that then crawl into the mitten, Annie's actions also have wide repercussions.
Annie has a cat. One day she notices the cat does not want to play, but tries to hide in odd places. Annie keeps finding the cat so the cat tries the outdoors. This makes Annie lonely as she wants to have a pet around the house.
She bakes corn muffins to leave outside in the snow to attract a new pet. But Annie gets more than she bargained for as first a giant moose and then a bobcat shows up. Annie makes more muffins and more animals show up.
But eventually the corn meal runs out at the same time as the warm Spring winds begin to blow. Without any muffins, the animals leave and the cat is free to come back. By following the illustrations in the borders, we know what the cat has been up to and what prevented its return.
The only downside of this book (at least in my daughter's eyes) is that there is no mention whatsoever of a parent. Are we to believe that Annie is living at the edge of the woods all by herself? But still, it is a beautiful book and a fun story. A must read for fans of Jan Brett's other books.
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful By breyergal on November 19, 2002
Format: Paperback
This is a wonderful story about Fritz, a short, shaggy pony who lives his life in the shadow of the tall, sleek horses of the kingdom. His life changes, however, when this little "nobody" prances forward to rescue the children when the "beautiful" horses cannot.
An endearing story which teaches children that true beauty is found inside. As with all Jan Brett books, the charming illustrations will captivate even the smallest of children.
Add this one to your child's library ... it's sure to quickly become a favorite!
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Saraj H. Cory on January 1, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Not only a wonderful, heartwarming story for any age of horse and childhood lover, but the illustrations stand completely on their own. We have two others books by the same illustrator / author and are actively seeking more. A must have for all children's and pen and ink art libraries!
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Judy K. Polhemus VINE VOICE on August 6, 2008
Format: Hardcover
(NOTE: This is my third in a series of reviews about rain forests by children's authors. My point is to show visually how divergent talent can be concerning the same topic--in this case, the rain forest, which needs to be protected and preserved. The other two books are Rain Forest (Kingfisher Voyages) and The Living Rain Forest. These three together would make a great teaching unit.)

Jan Brett is one of my favorite children's author/illustrators. Her work is so imaginative and vivid. "The Umbrella" is certainly no exception. Open to the first two full color pages and look for all the hidden and semi-hidden rain forest animals. You will meet them in the story.

Little Carlos tells his father on the first page he plans to go into the rain forest (cloud forest, he calls it) to spy a jaguar, a monkey, a toucan, a kinkajou, and a tapir. His umbrella is really one he made of broad leaves. His papa's farm is filled with domestic animals: cat, cows, goat, chickens. In a Jan Brett book, one must look at everything, because there is so much to see. The illustrations are lush and green--this is a rain forest!

Now, this is how a Jan Brett book is arranged: A scenario is to the left of the two-page spread and it introduces part of the story. In this case it is a close-up of the umbrella tossed to the ground. To the right is another advance of the story. The big picture shows Carlos about to climb a vine into the trees. The right picture contains a tree frog who jumps into the collecting water in the boat of the upturned umbrella.
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