Books by Ronald Searle

Released: Jan. 10, 2013

"Unfortunately, the extended poems are too few and far between, though Searles' artwork (he died in 2011) saves the book's bacon. (Poetry. 10-12)"
Forbes tenders a curiously wayward collection of animal love poetry. Read full book review >
LET'S HAVE A BITE! by Robert L.  Forbes
Released: Oct. 1, 2010

Thirty-three poems about antic animals, matched with equally madcap illustrations. "The Zoo VIP (Very Idle Panda)" describes how "The giant panda at the zoo / Just sits and chomps / On fresh bamboo." "A Busy Day for Goslings" follows a mother goose's outing with her brood Pip, Pop, Peep and Squeak. Other highlights include "Natty Nat" (an impeccably dressed narwhal), "Mean Cuisine" (a goat chef who cooks up crazy concoctions from foraged items), "Theodore's Great Pitch" (a lemur door-to-door salesman) and, with a nod to Ogden Nash, "The Rhino's Wine" (a grape-harvesting family led by Amos the rhinoceros): "The wine of Amos is the last word: / Maqnifique in its ferocity: / The essence of rhinocerocity." Bunny, emu, seal, crocodile, dingo, octopus and vole are among the other subjects. Searle's accompanying pictures show most of the animals in action; impish details and busy backgrounds suggest Gahan Wilson or Quentin Blake. The quality of the verse is uneven, but there are several excellent selections in this generous compendium. (Picture book. 4-8)Read full book review >
Released: Dec. 1, 1994

Satirical artist, cartoonist, and wit Searle is also, alas for him, a bibliophile. And that has made him dependent on booksellers' catalogues, some of which have made Searle a sucker. ``Ordering from a bookseller's catalogue without speaking the specialist language,'' he writes, ``is about as dangerous as trying to chat up the promised-in-marriage daughter of a Corsican tax inspector, and the retribution about as swift.'' And so, to clarify matters, Searle offers a cartoon for each of a variety of obscure bookseller's terms. ``Numerous critical marginal notes in a contemporary hand'' is illustrated by an enraged philosophe, wearing what appears to be some 18th-century equivalent of baseball spikes, leaping on a mangled book. Some legends, like ``Lovingly thumbed by former owner'' and ``Unwashed, with only slight marginal soiling,'' are illustrated with images of people rather than books- -in these cases, suitably disheveled-looking people. Searle, with a penchant for placing legs where arms should be and attaching hands to ankles, draws like Dr. Seuss for grown-ups. At the end is a text-only glossary, but those wishing for straight answers should know better. Searle defines ``Tail-edge shaved'' as ``A book's bottom adjusted to fit a high cut bathing costume.'' Read full book review >