Monday, March 21, 2011

Odd Owls & Stout Pigs: A Book of Nonsense, by Arnold Lobel (2009)

Odd Owls & Stout Pigs: A Book of NonsenseIt's always a wonderful surprise to stumble across a new title by a beloved author who's been dead for some time (Thank you yet again, Lackawanna Children's Library!)  Lobel is the legendary creator of the Frog and Toad books, which have enchanted children and adults since the 1970s.  Primarily a watercolorist who both paints and writes with an enviably light hand, he illustrated nearly a hundred books over his career (many of which he also authored).

Odd Owls and Stout Pigs originated as two small, handmade volumes given as a Christmas gift to a friend.  They were later discovered in the Lobel archives and hand-colored by his daughter, Adrianne Lobel, prior to publication.  The finished product contains two sets of nonsense poems in the tradition of Edward Lear---the pig poems all in limerick form---accompanied by Lobel's playful, expressive illustrations.  We found them charming and very funny indeed.

Miss E's take:  Her favorite was a two-page spread in the owl section. On one side is a full-page, whimsical poem cataloging a crew of eccentric owls; on the other is a "group picture" of these same owls, inviting readers to move back and forth between text and image, searching for each owl's image as it is being described.

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