Bamboozled, by David Legge

I love my grandad.
I visit him every week.
And every week, things are the same.
But last week when I arrived, something seemed odd.

When the young narrator of this story visits her grandad, she does all the things she usually does – drinking tea, helping with the housework and gardening, feeding the cat and so on – but all the while, she can’t help feeling that something is different than usual. As the text describes what seems a very normal day, the illustrations show things which viewers will find anything but normal – from the giraffe in the front yard when she arrives, to the tea being poured from a watering can, and the cat, which is in fact a tiger in a highchair. Readers will love spotting these details and so very many more, but the biggest surprise will be in realising what it is that the narrator has sensed as different – Grandad’s odd socks.

The fabulousness and eccentricity of Grandad and his house will delight, and the realisation that the girl has not overlooked all of this but has, instead regarded it as normal, is satsifying, leading readers to question and discuss what they are seeing, and versions of normality. The bright, detailed watercolour illustrations reveal more on each rereading.

First published in 1994, it is lovely to see a new edition released to mark the 21st anniversary of Bamboozled.

Bamboozled, by David Legge
Scholastic, 2015
ISBN 9781743620212

Four Books compiled by Peter Durkin & illustrated by Peter Viska

Granfer Grig
Had a pig
In a field of clover.
The pig he died.
Granfer cried,
And all the fun was over.

Kids love rhyme, and kids love silliness. These four little books offer a blend of the two in a combination sure to get them giggling, reading aloud and turning pages enthusiastically. Each book is forty-eight pages of rhymes long and short illustrated in colour by Peter Viska. There are rude bits, gross bits and even slightly shocking bits, and the cartoon style illustrations bring each rhyme to life.

Likely to please primary aged readers, these would be a popular addition to school libraries.

Stay Cool April Fool!
In Your Eye Meat Pie!
Hang Loose Mother Goose!
Take a Stroll Sausage Roll!
All compiled by Peter Durkin and illustrated by Peter Visa
Alicat Publishing, 2013

The Owl and the Pussycat, illustrated by Robert Ingpen

How pleasant to know Mr. Lear!
Who has written such volumes of stuff!
Some think him ill-tempered and queer,
But a few think him pleasant enough.

For the many readers who have grown up familiar with the work of Edward Lear, this offering is a delightful opportunity to reconnect, and for those who may perhaps not be familiar with his work, this is a chance to rectify that situation. This hardcover collection of some of his nonsense rhymes including the title poem, The Jumblies and Calico Jam, among others, is sumptuously illustrated by amazing Australian illustrator Robert Ingpen. A special bonus is that as well as bringing each poem to life with his illustrations, Ingpen has added information about the mysterious Bong-Tree and the land where it grows, a homage to Lear and a delight for readers.

Adding to Ingpen’s growing series of illustrated classics, (previous titles include A Christmas Carol, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and Peter Pan and Wendy), The Owl and the Pussycat and Other Nonsense Rhymes is appropriate for child readers and adults alike, and a fitting tribute to mark Edward Lear’s two hundredth birthday.

The Owl and the Pussycat and Other Nonsense Rhymes, by Edward Lear, illustrated by Robert Ingpen
Walker Books, 2012
ISBN 9781921977596

This book is available from good bookstores or online from Fishponds. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.