Read Lear

Edward Lear was an English boy who lived 200 years ago in London with his parents and his twenty siblings. Since he was one of the last to be born, he was deprived of good health. He soon began to make a living as a drawer. He had a flair for birds and, being a perfectionist, drew them with all their feathers. Due to eyesight problems, he had to exchange parrots for landscapes, and when his asthma and bronchitis worsened, he made the decision to spend his winters abroad. First, he settled in Rome; then, in Corfu, and finally, in San Remo. Despite his poor health, he travelled all over the Mediterranean as no healthy person does, and published detailed chronicles of his trips. He wrote verses to entertain children and their parents, and, while he was at it, promoted them in the form of books to earn extra money for his travels. Although he had friends, he preferred to write them letters, and always lived alone, accompanied by his cat Foss, whom he outlived by only three months.

It is likely he came to see himself as a painter of enormous oil paintings, but today he is remembered especially for his children’s books. A book of nonsense is a ‘senseless book’ (for many, reading books is a senseless activity); however, in our opinion, if in this mad world there is a book that truly makes any sense, young readers, it is the one you now hold in your hands.

The editor

This text is the ‘Prologue for readers under 170 years of age’ that opens the Book of Nonsense, upcoming addition to Media Vaca’s Books for Children collection. The drawing, a portrait of Edward Lear, was made by Adriana, aged 6 (nearly 7).