Fletcher and Zenobia

Author(s): Edward Gorey

Picture Books

Our story opens with a cat stuck in a tree, an ordinary-enough occurrence. Fletcher the cat, having run up the tree in a moment of thoughtless abandon, cannot get back down. Then strange things begin to happen: Fletcher finds in his tree a steamer trunk full of hats, and among the hats a papier-mache egg that opens to reveal Zenobia, a worldly talking doll who was locked in the egg by an unfeeling child named Mabel. To cheer each other up, Fletcher and Zenobia decide to throw a party, complete with cake, peach ice cream, and punch from a silver punch bowl. The hats come in handy, and a moth, drawn to the festivities, soon becomes the vehicle of an unexpected escape plan. A story of metamorphosis and friendship, like the "Owl and the Pussycat" crossed with Alice in Wonderland, Fletcher and Zenobia is a wildly imaginative tale of wish fulfillment and freedom. At once silly and zany, it is not without a certain delicacy of feeling that older children, and adults, will also appreciate.


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This wild and zany story will appeal to fans of Alice and Wonderland and The Owl and the Pussy-Cat. Fletcher, a cat, is stuck in a tree, where he meets Zenobia, a talking doll. When the two friends throw a party, a curious moth comes with a plan for Fletcher and Zenobia to escape from the tree. Filled with charming illustrations by Victoria Chess and told with Edward Gorey's inimitable flair, the story of Fletcher and Zenobia will stay with children and parents for years.

Victoria Chess was born in Chicago, and attended the Kokoschka School of Art, Salzburg, and the Boston Museum School. The illustrator of more than 100 books for children, Chess was awarded the Brooklyn Art Books for Children citation from the Brooklyn Museum and the Brooklyn Public Library in 1973 for Fletcher and Zenobia, and the 1975 American Institute of Graphic Arts Book Show Award for Bugs, a book of poems by Mary Ann Hoberman with illustrations by Chess. She lives in Cambridge, MA, and the south of France. Edward Gorey (1925-2000) was born in Chicago. He studied briefly at the Art Institute of Chicago, spent three years in the army as a clerk at a site that specialized in the testing of poison gas, and attended Harvard College, where he majored in French literature and roomed with the poet Frank O'Hara. In 1953 Gorey published The Unstrung Harp, the first of his many extraordinary books, which include The Curious Sofa, The Haunted Tea Cosy, and The Epiplectic Bicycle. In addition to illustrating his own books, Gorey provided drawings to countless books for both children and adults. Of these, New York Review Books has published The Haunted Looking Glass, a collection of Gothic tales that he selected and illustrated; The War of the Worlds, a pioneering work of science fiction by H. G. Wells; Three Ladies Beside the Sea; and The Unrest-Cure and Other Stories, a collection of tales by Saki, all available in the U.S. In the UK, New York Review Books has published Men and Gods, a retelling of ancient Greek myths by Rex Warner (9781590172636; GBP9.99) and He Was There From the Day We Moved In (9781590175156; GBP9.99), in collaboration with Rhoda Levine.

General Fields

  • : 9781590179635
  • : The New York Review of Books, Inc
  • : The New York Review of Books, Inc
  • : May 2016
  • : 153mm X 153mm
  • : United States
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Edward Gorey
  • : Hardback
  • : 72
  • : illustrations