ISBN 0399231935 - A quick glance through the pages of the board book edition from G. P. Putnam's Sons didn't give me high hopes for this book, but I have - once again - been surprised by what can work in a board book!
The owl and the pussycat hop in a boat and head out to sea, where Owl proposes in song. They buy a ring from a pig and are married by a turkey... and that, you have to know, hardly tells the tale at all.
In few, very well-chosen, words, Lear's story can hardly be done justice in a simple recap. Jan Brett's illustrations are just slightly less difficult to put into words - the detail initially seemed to me to be a negative: young children tend to like simpler, less busy, illustrations. I think this is one time they will happily learn to love the busy-ness. The remarkable detail of everything, from Owl's feathers to the individual fronds on the palm trees, adds gorgeous depth to the book.
In addition, a second love story - told only in pictures - takes place, courtesy of Brett. Pussycat carries a yellow fish (we're going to call that one a girl) in a bowl onto the boat and the fish is seen on every page. Underwater, another yellow fish is seen "talking" to other underwater animals and each one he talks to joins him as he follows his trapped-in-a-bowl love, until Owl and Pussycat unknowingly have an underwater parade following them. Is everyone eventually with the one they love? Of course they are! Very well-worth picking up for your short person!!
A favorite poem from my childhood, I now read this to my young foster siblings. I pointed out to them that Jan Brett almost always has a second storyline in the pictures she paints, and they love following the story of the yellow fish while listening to the poem.