New Zealand author and illustrator David Elliot bases his story on Lewis Carroll’s famous nonsensical poems “The Hunting of the Snark” and “Jabberwocky”, which are included in this book.
Elliot uses the diary of Boots who was a member of the strange expedition that set out from England in 1850 to find the Snark, which was a delicacy that they hoped to bring back to England and breed for food.
Boots keeps an illustrated diary of the perilous sea journey in a steam and wind powered vessel. In the original “Hunting of the Snark” by Lewis Carroll, we don’t know if the expedition was successful in returning to England with a Snark. Elliot continues where Lewis Carroll ended, and gives us his interpretation of what happened, tying in the “Jabberwocky” poem.
I have never been a fan of Lewis’s poems, finding them too strange and not being able to relate to the characters. However, I think that David Elliot’s beautiful steampunk style artwork and his extension of the story made it more appealing. The detailed notes at the back of the book also help the reader to understand the complex ideas.
I think the story will appeal to readers who enjoy fantasy and nonsensical verse.
Title: Snark: Being a true history of the expedition that discovered the Snark and the Jabberwock and its tragic aftermath
Authors: David, Elliot, after Lewis Carroll
Illustration: David, Elliot
Publisher: Otago University Press
Date of Publication: November 2016
Reviewer: Jayne Downes
School: Kaikorai Valley College