Which brings me to the beastly, or probably bestial theme for today's post, namely my recent birthday. Among the generous and thoughtful gifts which were bestowed on me by friends and family (including a cd of Ecuadorian Baroque music, whose aural quality equals its obscurity cachet) was a trio of books with an animal theme, each as delightful as it is different from its companions.
Two Rivers Press produce the most exquisite edition of Christopher Smart's poem Cat Jeoffry. This is a consummately well-designed book, incorporating a bold Eric Gill typeface that combines readability with a playful hint of the antique, and illustrations in lino cut and rubber stamp by Peter Hay, which capture delightfully the playful, feral and mystical aspects of this noblest of animals.
Reaktion Books' Animals series has beguiled me for many years, offering delicious portrayals of individual animals through, in each case, a single author's examining the beast in its cultural, historical and mythological contexts, as well as the natural historical. The cover design for this series uses a simple but startlingly effective two-colour approach, incorporating the appropriate animal's silhouette. Kevin Jackson's Moose now shyly awaits my approach.
Finally, and including flora and other subjects, Ted Hughes' Season Songs, (Faber) written with younger readers in mind, is, along with Jeoffry a charming addition to our poetry section (which can be located a few feet above the cat). I'm off to tend to the literary menagerie now - by the sound of it, the mooses need feeding.