LOVEYKINS by Quentin Blake


by & illustrated by
Age Range: 4 - 8
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Engaging with eccentricity is rarely a smooth road, which is why a pairing of quirky and endearing often rings hollow. But in the hands of a master like Blake, this relationship between an unconventional woman and a young bird, unmediated by any softening agents, feels real and good and weird. Angela Bowling discovers a gawky little bird blown from its nest in the great woods. She decides to raise the creature, bestowing the name of Augustus upon it, bringing him home with her, swaddling him in sweaters and scarves, spooning milk into his beak, and, when he is old enough, serving forth creamed carrots, éclairs, and whole boxes of chocolates. Augustus bulges in his wrappings. The two go abroad in the world, Augustus in a fancy new stroller, instinctively eyeing the occasional bug crossing his path, greeting curious characters in the neighborhood. There comes a point when Augustus becomes too big to stay in the basket Angela has made his home, so she stows him in the garden shed. “Once again there came a night of dreadful weather, and big winds blew through the great woods.” The wind blew down Augustus’s shed, too; freed of his wraps, Augustus spreads his big wings and flies the coop. He marvels in his freedom, learns to savor the remains of a dead squirrel, returns now and then to bring Angela “a dead mouse, perhaps, or a few beetles.” Cross-species gestures of love, delightfully queer, dissonant then assonant. Add Blake’s idiosyncratic watercolors, which inspire affection and sympathy, and you have the rare eccentric/endearment nexus that emits its own strange, wonderful light. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 1st, 2003
ISBN: 1-56145-282-3
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Peachtree
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2003


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