Limerick master Edward Lear plus inventive artist Etienne Delessert equals an illustrated treat that delights in rhyme and the absurdity of birds nesting in a beard.
Part of the Total Nonsense! series
Birds can build nests in the strangest places.This colorful board book, the first in the Total Nonsense! series, is a testament to that, as it features one of British limerick master Lear’s most renowned ditties, describing how a group of avians takes up residence in a bowler-hatted, pink-cheeked, light-skinned “Old Man’s” absurdly long, sumptuous, black beard. As depicted in this little volume, the assorted birds have plenty of space to do it, as the beard seems to go on forever, effortlessly trailing over hills and fields as the Old Man walks about, mostly oblivious to his pastoral surroundings. Colorful, whimsical, easy-on-the-eyes illustrations, rendered in watercolors and colored pencils, bring to life the limerick, which grown-ups might want to consider helping slightly older listeners to commit to memory; after all, limericks are a fun introduction to poetry and are brief enough to learn easily after repeated reading and listening opportunities. Children are likely going to want repeat visits to this book so they can giggle at the Old Man’s predicament. Additional teaching opportunities include helping little ones identify the various animals portrayed throughout, including the birds that are named, as well as assisting kids with counting the various creatures. Adults can gather information about Lear in the backmatter, an unusual and noteworthy feature in a board book. (This book was reviewed digitally.)Who knows? After an outing, kids may wish for birds to nestle in their hair, if not a family member’s beard. (Board book. 2-5)
With sunset-hued illustrations, illustrator Etienne Delessert makes this simple tale -- of a man with a beard so long that it attracts all sorts of animal friends -- accessible and engaging for the next generation of poetry enthusiasts and curious toddlers alike.
–Kelsie Marie Paff, Where the Board Books Are, 03/01/2023