The Quangle Wangle’s Hat by Edward Lear

POINTS: 3 out of 10.

Bechdel: 0 points
Variety of characters: 0 points
Good story: 2 points.
Discretionary ideological points: 1 point.

This is the first book in the 3+ section. We’ve sailed through the 0-3 section faster than I anticipated (mostly cos of the number of books I haven’t been able to get my hands on yet). And so, onwards!

It makes me kind of sad that this book doesn’t do better, but given there is one obviously female characters, and the rest are all animals, many of them nonsensical made up animals, it’s pretty much impossible for it to get most of the available points.

But in reality, this is a great story despite its low score. Lear was a master of nonsense verse, and the Quangle Wangle is one of his best bits of it. Helen Oxenbury’s illustrations are particularly charming in the version I have. C and I both loved reading it together. The language is simple but inventive. The rhyme is fun. It’s a neat little book to read.

Like most nonsense verse, there’s not much to it storywise – the Quangle Wangle has an enormous hat, a bunch of random animals both real and imaginary (I can’t be the only one with a deep love for the pobble who has no toes) come to live on and in the enormous hat, and music and frolicking ensues!

I can’t really give it points for ideology as a result, but nevertheless, there is much to be said for a bit of nonsense in life, and so I do recommend it.

What do you think of the Quangle Wangle? Do you have other favourite picture book versions of Lear’s poetry?

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