Saturday, 19 December 2015

Tiny Books #6 - The Owl and the Pussycat

When I started the Tiny Books series, I had this book at the back of my mind. A couple of times since starting the posts, I've looked for it and couldn't find it, search though I might. Somewhere along the line I think my copy must have joined the books that have disappeared during various moves. And then came my cousin's de-clutter and the two boxes of books that subsequently came to live with me... Lo and behold, she also had a copy of this, and didn't want it.

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:


  1. I also had an owl and the pussycat book. It was hardback, tall and narrow and very thin, covered in dark pink linen cloth I think. With pen and ink drawings. Pussy was very pretty with a lovely necklace I really coveted.
    We had a album of Edward Lear song too and by the time I was 5 or 6 I was singing along to the owl and the pussycat, but I also loved the quangle wangle wee. I'm sure I could sing quite a lot of it still.

    1. There was a lovely version of the poem set to music on one of my children's many albums - but I can't, for the life of me, think which one! Suitably whimsical and I can hear traces of it in my head...