Monday, May 10, 2010

12th May Edward Lear (1812 - 1888) Betsy Lewin (1937)

Every child knows Edward Lear if for no other reason than they know the poem The Owl and the Pussycat and they love limericks, a form of poetry he perfected. His poetry is irreverent and often literary nonsense, but always fun and filled with amazing sounding words, many of which he invented, such as the 'runcible' spoon used by the Owl and the Pussycat. His characters such as the Quangle-Wangle and the Jumblies ooze fun. Yes, his poetry and pictures are dated, but if shared, recited and discussed children will still love it. There are so many
picture book versions of The Owl and the Pussycat that it is fun to see which illustrations the children think fit the characters best when the voting is on.

The second birthday is that of Betsy Lewin, less than a week after her husband, Ted's. I first met Betsy's work when I read Chubbo's Pool to a class. This book about a selfish hippo is perfect for circle time, when you want to discuss sharing, co-operation and/or
exclusion. The illustrations are very reminiscent of Ted Lewin's and very different from the more well-known Betsy Lewin pen and watercolour illustrations that accompany Doreen Cronin's Cows That Type series of books. Whichever style of illustration she
chooses she manages to imbue her animals with plenty of personality! I am sure that Doreen Cronin and Betsy Lewin have lots of fun with those cows and ducks.

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