THE JUMBLIES by Edward Lear


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Lear first published this poem in 1871. It tells of a group of little people, the Jumblies, who sail out in a sieve with a tobacco pipe mast and a crockpot for a cabin, until they reach ""a land all covered with trees."" Its lyrics are catchy, haunting, and ideal for reading aloud: ""Far and few, far and few,/ Are the lands where the Jumblies live;/ Their heads are green, and their hands are blue,/ And they went to sea in a Sieve."" Wood's detailed illustrations are powerful, his colors dazzling. He includes enigmatic, green-faced people, gorgeous flowers and birds, mermaids, and ""a lovely monkey with lollipop paws."" Several illustrations tempt diverse interpretations, and three of them might be considered improper in a children's book. Some children may see the last illustration (the pages are unnumbered) as a frightening and confusing murder of a man. Some parents will object to the reclining nude woman--an illustration which is irrelevant to the poem and does have a sexist connotation. A surrealist mood prevails in this fascinating and lavish book. But because of the controversial nature of a few of the pictures, parental guidance is recommended for younger children.

Pub Date: March 15th, 1986
Publisher: Silver Burdett