Seven Impossible Idioms Before Breakfast

h1 September 30th, 2010 by jules

Hey, that post title worked out well! There really are seven idioms featured here today, if you include the book’s cover. (I digress, but you know, sometimes it’s the Little Things that brighten one’s day.)

I’ve got some illustrations to share this morning, briefly, from Wallace Edwards’s The Cat’s Pajamas (Kids Can Press, August 2010), the cover pictured left. Now, I like this book. I do. Or I wouldn’t be posting about it. But lots of things about that cover turn me off. As in, I almost didn’t open the book. As in, it just hurts my eyes. Good thing I did open it, though, because inside are what Publishers Weekly has called “richly worked paintings,” featuring “an inexhaustible store of surreal fantasies.” And I want to show you some today, the one opening this post being my favorite of all.

In 2004, Edwards released Monkey Business, exploring popular idioms, and The Cat’s Pajamas simply adds to his collection. More idioms, and no narrative thread here. None to be expected. Just a series of paintings (two on each spread, though I’ve separated them out in this post today) that bring idioms to life in a literal manner — with an end-of-book explanation for each idiom, as well as a note in the final illustration (from That Cat on the cover), asking if we spotted a hidden cat in each image.

Some of these work better than others, in terms of how well the idiom’s meaning is conveyed, but I was struck by the artistry of many of these paintings (rendered in watercolor, colored pencil, and gouache), as well as the sly humor. So, enjoy them, as I feature a handful of them this morning.





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Selection from The Cat’s Pajamas, written and illustrated by Wallace Edwards, reprinted by permission of Kids Can Press Ltd., Toronto. Text and illustrations copyright © 2010 Wallace Edwards.

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6 comments to “Seven Impossible Idioms Before Breakfast”

  1. Okay, I want TWO copies of this book – one so I can razor out the pages and hang them, framed. Gorgeous, gorgeous, so gorgeous. And funny. Thank you!


  2. Delectable. And what sophisticated fun for English language learners.


  3. What a GORGEOUS book. Added to the never-ending wish list!


  4. Seeing a cow surfing pretty much made my day.


  5. Beautiful! I like the style of the illustrations (even the cover). They remind me, in their playful way of looking at words, of the Twenty-Odd Ducks/Eats, Shoots and Leaves books.


  6. Beautiful illustrations!


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