Books by Alastair Taylor

MR. BLEWITT’S NOSE by Alastair Taylor
Released: May 30, 2005

When helpful young Primrose Pumpkin finds a human nose on a park bench—"something you rarely see on an average street in a normal town on a humdrum sort of day. At least, not on its own"—she naturally sets out to find its careless owner. Her quest is complicated by the fact that her dog Dirk stinks—and, in the bright, daubed acrylic illustrations, often looks—like a fresh pile of dung, because everyone the pair meets immediately staggers away. Ultimately, though, it's Dirk who facilitates the reunion of nose and noggin, by clearing a stadium full of spectators, except for the olfactory-oblivious Blewitt. Though the vagrant schnoz recalls such tales as Saxton Freymann's Dr. Pompo's Nose (2000) and the Gennady Spirin-illustrated version of Gogol's absurdist The Nose (1993), this is more likely to draw its most appreciative audience from the clouds of fanning fans surrounding Lisa Kopelke's Excuse Me! (2003) or William Kotzwinkle's and Glenn Murray's Walter the Farting Dog (2001). (Picture book. 6-8)Read full book review >
SWOLLOBOG by Alastair Taylor
Released: March 1, 2001

A wry tall tale about a dog that eats everything—and that really means everything. So named because her youthful mistress had a little trouble writing her letters correctly, Swollobog, true to her moniker, has a near-mythic capacity: "Bananas, toast, and peanut brittle are her particular favorites, besides cheese. She also likes carrots, yogurt, pizza, toenail clippings, and door handles. Oh, and blueberry muffins, snails, mud, toothpaste, lemons . . . " Newcomer Taylor's bright gouache illustrations depict a somewhat rotund, never repentant, dachshund-ish dog with a formidable proboscis who clearly relishes eating her way through life. They frequently venture into the surreal, as when a hungry Swollobog engulfs our narrator's dad's leg up to the knee, or when, in the main action of the book, she eats an enormous squiggly helium balloon, assuming its shape and floating out over the sea. A daring rescue at sea ensues, in which Swollobog's desperate family row out after her, flying a kite dangling peanut brittle intended to pop the balloon from the inside when their insatiable dog eats it. The chatty, deadpan narration relies for its effect on the delightfully sly illustrations—and on a highly developed sense of irony in its reader. For those children, especially ones who may have one of Swollobog's cousins at home, this British import will hit the spot. (Picture book. 5-8)Read full book review >