Magazine article School Librarian

Blake, Quentin and Yeoman, John: The Fabulous Foskett Family Circus

Magazine article School Librarian

Blake, Quentin and Yeoman, John: The Fabulous Foskett Family Circus

Article excerpt

Blake, Quentin and Yeoman, John

The Fabulous Foskett Family Circus

Andersen, 2013, pp32, 12.99 [pounds sterling]

978 1 84939 564 9

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

In a splendid rumbustification of a book, Quentin Blake, the king of illustrators, has gathered together a set of drawings which he originally created to decorate Ellington Ward at Northwick Park Hospital. John Yeoman has enhanced the pictures by adding a written text to each page. The end product of this collaboration, The Fabulous Foskett Family Circus, looks and feels like exactly what it is--a collection of brilliantly eccentric characters, creatures and equipment loosely connected by a series of descriptive rhyming couplets. If King Lear, in his dotage, had become cheerfully loopy instead of angry and aggrieved, his court would have been peopled by the individuals depicted in these pages. And they would all have had FUN!

As always, John Yeoman's words serve to increase the anarchic feeling of the images. It is easier to give a short taster of the rhymes than to try to analyse their effect. What do you make of this?

Honk, honk! It's Uncle Decimus performing on his scooter.

His parrot hopes that one day, too, he'll have a little hooter.

I can only assure you that, although the image contains each thing mentioned, there is no obvious rationale for the parrot's aspiration. Imagine discussing that page with six year olds. Every page presents the same enticing possibility.

Interestingly, although the language is vibrant, the colours are not, so all the obvious commotion comes over in a comfortingly muted way. …

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