The Owl and the Pussycat II


Recently I shared a post about The Owl and the Pussycat. This morning while out walking around my local area with a neighbour we met Jack, a youngster stationed outside his home with a table, selling some of his pre loved treasures.

My eye homed in on a delightfully illustrated book titled The Owl and the Pussycat. I didn’t have any money, however Jack said I could take the book and drop the princely fee of $2 in his letterbox tomorrow.

Like many nursery rhymes and bedtime stories The Owl and the Pussycat has stood the test of time, capturing imaginations of children and adults alike. I wondered how this story came to be.

It was written by Edward Lear (1812–1888) an illustrator, natural history artist, and writer, though he is best known for his nonsense poems. His collection of poetry, A Book of Nonsense, was published in 1846 and helped to popularize the limerick, a humorous form of verse. His most famous poem, The Owl and the Pussycat, has been made into many picture books. 1

Here are just a few examples.

Listen to this sweet rendition of the poem.

Artists have rendered prints and paintings and even a movie holds the same title.

On closer inspection the book I had purchased from Jack held the title The Further Adventures of The Owl and the Pussycat, a new tale, written by Julia Donaldson2 and illustrated by Charlotte Voake3.

Charlotte Voake had already illustrated the original story, which included a foreword by Julia Donaldson, who loved the verse by Lear, and was inspired to write a sequel.

Like Edward Lear, Julia penned her poem in the same style of verse and picks up from the blissful wedding uniting the Owl and Pussycat. It starts like this:

The owl and the pussycat went to sleep
by the light of the moon so pale.
Their beautiful ring was tied with string
In a bow around the pussy cats tail

They dreamed of mice and raspberry ice,
While slumbering cheek to cheek.

But down flew a crow who unravelled the bow
And flew off with the ring in his beak,
His beak, his beak,
And flew off with the ring in his beak.

And as you can see below, the illustrations by Charlotte are delightful.

From the Bong tree glade they embark on adventures flying in a balloon and across the sea, asking those along the way.

Below a few more of Charlotte's charming illustrations. Naturally there is a happy ending, however you will need to seek out the book to learn more!

1 Credit:
2 Julia Donaldson is a most loved children’s author of over 100 books, residing in the UK and creator of The Gruffalo. She was the Children’s Laureate 2011-2013. Her awards include the Smarties Prize and the Blue Peter Award.
3 Charlotte Voake is an internationally acclaimed children's author and artist, residing in the UK, renowned for her expressive and characterful illustrations. She studied art history but always wanted to be an illustrator. She has won the Smarties Silver Medal Award for her picture book, The Pizza Kitten and the Sheffield Children’s Book Award.