I don't remember when I first got my copy - probably it was given to me as a small child. I have a faint memory of an inscription, but without the actual book, I can't verify that. My cousin's lacks an inscription, so it certainly wasn't a gift from my mother, as she ALWAYS wrote in gift books, so I have no idea as to the origins of this copy.
However, it is still the absolute gem I remember, both from my childhood and later one when I read it to both my children. Edward Lear wrote such lovely whimsical poems, and this would have to be my absolute favourite I think...
It was one of a series published by Whitman called the Tiny Tot Tales. This copy was printed in 1968 - I have no idea if it was a single run or whether there were reprints. It's a hard cover, measuring 10.5cm x 14cm. It's not a board book, it's a legitimate hardcover, but the pages are very sturdy paper. It's well out of print, but I did find three copies on Amazon.
The illustrations are by Bonnie and Bill Rutherford, and I've always loved the rich colours and simple, but not cartoon-y, style of the four animals - not forgetting the Piggy with his ring and Turkey who marries the Owl and the Pussycat!
For anyone who wants to enjoy The Owl and the Pussycat in quite another marvelous way, go have a listen to this: