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Distributed for Bodleian Library Publishing

Edward Lear’s Nonsense Birds

The Stripy Bird. The Scroobius Bird. The Obsequious Ornamental Ostrich who wore boots to keep his feet quite dry. Of all the animals that sprang from the idiosyncratic imagination of Edward Lear, few feature as frequently as birds, which appear throughout his work, from the flamboyant flock in the Nonsense Alphabet to the quirky avian characters of his limericks, stories, and songs. Lear drew himself as a bird on numerous occasions. In a popular self-portrait—later reproduced on a postage stamp—Lear even represented himself as a portly, bespectacled bird.

Edward Lear’s Nonsense Birds collects more than sixty of Lear’s bird illustrations from across his entire body of work. Often, the birds have hilariously human characteristics. There is, for instance, a Good-Natured Grey Gull, a Hasty Hen, and a Querulous Quail. The Judicious Jay is chiefly concerned with good grooming. The Vicious Vulture, meanwhile, turns out to be a wordsmith whose verses on vellum celebrate veal. Each bird is endowed with a unique personality, while collectively they form a wonderfully amusing flock. Also included are a series of twenty-four hand-colored illustrations.

Bright and beautifully illustrated, this book will make a perfect gift for children of all ages and will also be welcomed by all who love Lear’s work or are interested in learning more about his fascination with birds.

80 pages | 24 color plates, 40 halftones | 7 x 7 | © 2013

Children's Books

Literature and Literary Criticism: Humor

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"What delightful avian nonsense sprang from Edward Lear’s pen."

Boston Globe

Edward Lear’s Nonsense Birds includes his quirky and fun-filled color drawings of ‘the stripy bird,’ ‘the scroobious bird,’ and more, along with a series of completely nonsensical poems (of course!) and line drawings that all combined will give staid old Mother Goose a run for her money. This one is read-aloud territory and will continue to be something toddlers value as they grow older and find more ways to enjoy the author’s quirky sense of humor.”


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