The Marzipan Pig - Russell Hoban and Quentin Blake

New York Review Children's Collection

$15.95

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The Marzipan Pig by Russell Hoban, illustrated by Quentin Blake / ISBN 9781681377940 / 40-page hardcover reprint (from 2024) from the New York Review Children's Collection

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Who but Russell Hoban could weave a tale of life’s pleasures and pain around a candy pig? And who but Quentin Blake could make the most poignant of stories so lighthearted and delightful? In this episodic picture book by an inimitable author-illustrator duo, a fantastic chain of events is triggered by the unacknowledged fall of a marzipan pig behind the sofa. We meet in quick succession a heartsick mouse, a lonely grandfather clock, an owl in love with a taxi meter, a worker bee, a fading hibiscus flower, a mouse who greets the dawn dancing, and finally a boy who guesses at the true relations between things. Appealing to the unsentimental yet sensitive nature of children, The Marzipan Pig is exquisitely attuned to the bittersweet wonder of life and to the sentience of all beings.

"Children—the least sentimental beings on this planet—will recognize this remarkable book for what it is, a story about the great sweet mysteries of love and mortality."—Kathryn Davis

"Hoban’s deft, poetic style is perfect for sharing aloud; Blake’s many humorous illustrations enliven the attractive format. A good choice for young readers who enjoy fantasy."—Kirkus Review

Russell Hoban (1925–2011) was the author of more than seventy books for children and adults. He worked as a commercial artist and advertising copywriter before embarking on a career as a children’s author while in his early thirties. During the 1960s Hoban and his wife, Lillian, worked at a prodigious rate, producing as many as six books in a single year, including The Sorely Trying Day (published by The New York Review Children’s Collection). Among Hoban’s novels for adults are Turtle Diary (published by NYRB Classics), Riddley Walker, The Bat Tattoo, and My Tango with Barbara Strozzi. He lived in London from 1969 until his death.

Quentin Blake is one of the most celebrated children’s book illustrators working today, having illustrated more than three hundred books by such authors as Russell Hoban, Joan Aiken, and Roald Dahl. A prolific writer of books for children himself, Blake was appointed the first Children’s Laureate of England in 1999.

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