Tuesday 25 November 2014

Review: The Further Adventures of the Owl and the Pussycat

We are big Julia Donaldson fans, so when we were given the chance to review one of her latest releases, we jumped at the chance. The Further Adventures of the Owl and the Pussycat is Donaldson’s take on the next chapter of the classic childrens’ book The Owl and the Pussycat.

When I was a child, I had a small, hardback copy of The Owl and the Pussycat, which currently resides on Ebony’s bookshelf. To be perfectly honest, the original book isn’t one of my favourites, mostly thanks to the, erm, changes in word meanings that have occurred since it was written. I had read it a few times, but it hadn’t become a firm favourite by any means.

I was sent a copy of the original book written by Edward Lear, and of Julia Donaldson’s new tale to review. Both copies are illustrated by Charlotte Voake, and I absolutely love the style of illustration. She uses great colours, and the pictures really add to the story,

The copy of The Owl and the Pussycat has a foreword by Julia Donaldson and it is genuinely so interesting. I had no idea that the original copy was written as a gift for a friend’s daughter who was ill. Or that Edward Lear had written other, darker stories. This story obviously holds a special place in Donaldson’s heart, and is closely tied to her relationship with her grandmother. I love the personal insights into both authors, and the importance of the story.

Donaldson talks about the popularity of The Owl and the Pussycat, but mentions her fear that it is more popular with children than adults. I think she’s right, and I think her new book will go some way towards ensuring that children enjoy this poem again. I know that it has made me appreciate the beauty of the original book, and the way it is written.

The Further Adventures of the Owl and the Pussycat follows the characters on their next adventure. Following the theft of their wedding ring, the couple are forced to go on an adventure to retrieve it, meeting some of Lear’s lesser known characters along the way.The book is written in the same style as the original story, but has a more modern feel to it. In keeping with Donaldson’s other work, the book is a joy to read, fun and engaging, and really does bring Lear’s style back to life.

The new book works as a stand alone story, but of course is even better when read alongside its inspiration. We have been reading these books at bedtime for the past few weeks, and we both love them.

You can pick up a copy of The Owl and the Pussycat here, and, since they go so nicely as a set, you can also get a copy of The Further Adventures of the Owl and the Pussycat here.

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