Before anyone heard of Dr Seuss, Ogden Nash, or even Lewis Carroll, there was a shy, goofy-looking guy, born nearly 200 years ago, named Edward Lear – the father of nonsense poetry. A new children's book put together by Daniel Pinkwater and artist Calef Brown revisits the work of Lear, best known as the author of "The Owl and The Pussycat," inventing the word "runcible," and popularizing limericks.
His Shoes Were Far Too Tight includes 8 timeless poems of silly and absurd storytelling, ending with a collection of shorter poems for each letter of the alphabet.
Lear's poems are surprisingly accessible, goofy, and fresh, given they were written over 150 years ago. The rhyming verses are super fun to recite, and Calef Brown's modern folk-art style paintings serve as a perfect pairing to Lear's quirky prose. Our three year old, who is currently obsessed with word play and inventing new vocabulary, took to it immediately.
Here's a sample of some of the silly stanzas you'll encounter.
The Pobble Who Has No Toes
The Pobble who has no toes
Had once as many as we;
When they said, "Some day you may lose them all;"
He replied, "Fish fiddle de-dee!"
The Quangle Wangle's Hat
On the top of the Crumpetty Tree
The Quangle Wangle sat.
But his face you could not see,
On account of his Beaver Hat.
For his hat was a hundred and two feet wide,
With ribbons and bibbons on every side
And bells, and buttons, and loops, and lace,
So that nobody ever could see the face
Of the Quangle Wangle Quee
Some Incidents in the Life of My Uncle Arly
(This one's a particular favorite, in which a pea-green cricket settles on Arly's nose and remains his delightful companion for 43 years.)
Never-never more, Oh! Never,
Did that Cricket leave him ever,
Dawn or evening, day or night;
Clinging as a constant treasure,
Chirping with a cheerious measure,
Wholly to my uncle's pleasure
(Though his shoes were far too tight.)
Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. However, the manufacturer did give us the product for testing and review purposes.
(images: Ben Partridge)