Tag: Quentin Blake

Quentin Blake: In the Theatre of the Imagination

Quentin Blake: In the Theatre of the Imagination – An Artist at Work by Ghislaine Kenyon (Bloomsbury, 2016) Quentin Blake’s art is distinctive and greatly beloved. Kenyon’s analysis-cum-tribute focusses on how Blake’s personality—his Francophilia and appreciation of literature; his positive outlook and playful, empathic eye for other people’s experiences; his quiet attentiveness and generous spirit—manifests in his work.    

A Moose that says Moooooooooo

A Moose that says Moooooooooo by Jennifer Hamburg; ill. Sue Truesdell (Farrar Straus Giroux, 2013) The moose barely features but it does start the fun, Hamburg letting her hair down in a freewheeling animals-gone-wild story (spoilt only by occasional stumbles in her Dr Seuss-like amphibrachic tetrameter). Truesdell captures the chaos with vibrant illustrations à la Quentin Blake.    

The Enormous Crocodile

The Enormous Crocodile by Roald Dahl (Jonathan Cape, 1978); audiobook read by Stephen Fry (Puffin, 2013) A classic safe scare for young middle grade readers, the audiobook stripped of Quentin Blake’s illustrations but enhanced in compensation by Stephen Fry’s delivery (albeit that the background soundscape becomes tiresome, especially when signifying the crocodile’s trademark ‘secret plans and clever tricks’).    

Agaton Sax and Lispington’s Grandfather Clock

Agaton Sax and Lispington’s Grandfather Clock by Nils-Olof Franzén; ill. Quentin Blake (Andre Deutsch, 1978) The last of Franzén’s Agaton Sax books sees the great detective once again triumphant in the face of nefarious criminal undertakings, the harried mishaps of his good friend Inspector Lispington, and even the unfortunate magnetism of Andreas Kark. A fittingly ebullient finale.    

Agaton Sax and the Haunted House

Agaton Sax and the Haunted House by Nils-Olof Franzén; illustrated by Quentin Blake (Andre Deutsch, 1975) Bolstered by Blake’s zesty drawings, Franzén gives YA readers the perfect introduction to crime fiction. His irrepressibly competent Swedish detective Agaton Sax, along with the harried, hapless Inspector Lispington, form a memorable duo fighting the bumbling wiles of the international criminal fraternity.  

42 Word Retrospective: The Great Piratical Rumbustification by Margaret Mahy

The Great Piratical Rumbustification (& The Librarian and the Robbers) by Margaret Mahy (J. M. Dent, 1978) Two stories by New Zealand’s doyen of children’s books: the second, a quietly subversive extolment of libraries; the first, a droll yet puckishly young-at-heart parable on quality of life, with bonhomous pictures by Quentin Blake and an endearingly rumtiddlyumptious neologism to boot!

42 Word Retrospective: Lester and the Unusual Pet by Quentin Blake

Lester and the Unusual Pet by Quentin Blake (Picture Lions, 1975) Known for illustrating other people’s books (most notably Roald Dahl’s), Quentin Blake also writes many himself. Lester and the Unusual Pet showcases his understated absurdism — Salvador Dalí for children, almost — in a joyous, freewheeling, lazy afternoon paean to young imaginations running rife.