Thursday, 24 May 2012

Uncle by J. P. Martin with illustrations by Quentin Blake

Lots of you know how much I enjoy my book-selling ‘job', but one of the drawbacks (probably the only drawback) is not having enough time to read everything that comes into stock. Uncle is one such book.

Uncle by J. P. Martin with illustrations by Quentin Blake

This is from the introduction… uncle is an elephant. He dresses well, generally in a purple dressing-gown, and often rides about on a traction engine, which he prefers to a car. He lives in a house called Homeward, which is hard to describe, but try to think of about a hundred skyscrapers all joined together and surrounded by a moat with a drawbridge, and you’ll get some idea. The towers are of many colours, and there are bathing pools and gardens among them, also switch-back railways running from tower to tower and water-chutes from top to bottom.

I was flicking through the pages trying to get a ‘flavour’ of the story and came across this passage.    

Halfway up the valley is a large enclosure labelled Trade Exhibition. Uncle was in no hurry, and seeing that there was such a crowd, he though he might as well visit this first. They went in,  paying a halfpenny for the whole party at the turnstile. It was quite a good exhibition with a large number of stalls. One was kept by a dull, heavy ox. He appeared to have only one thing on his stall, a box, pink in colour, called BIRTHDAY BOX. Uncle asked the price. “A thousand pounds,” replied the ox in a slow, dull voice, “and I won’t come down a farthing in my price.” There was something about this box that took Uncle’s fancy, and though he thought the price high, he paid it in clean hundred-pound notes. The moment he did so, the ox took from behind the counter a little board marked STALL CLOSED and prepared to leave.  

OK, so now I want to know what was in the box! Was it worth a thousand pounds? Or was it empty? Why does uncle wear a purple dressing gown and ride around in a traction engine? You see how difficult it is listing so many books but not having the time to read them all.  It's no good I'm going to have to read it – I wonder how far I will get before it sells? Or maybe it won’t sell, and I will be able to read it at leisure, only time will tell.

Have you read Uncle or anything else by J. P. Martin?

Uncle is now sold, thank you for your interest.


  1. Just too cute. And I love the author's way of just calling him 'Uncle'

  2. I have not read anything by this author- nor have I read this book. It sounds fantastic and you have made me curious about what was in the box! Great description! :)

  3. Always delightful to stop by your blog!

  4. barbaraannefisher25 May 2012 at 07:18

    I agree. The title alone makes me want to read more.

  5. barbaraannefisher25 May 2012 at 07:23

    Hi Jess, maybe I should do a follow up post once I know what’s in the box! Thanks for your comment.

  6. barbaraannefisher25 May 2012 at 07:30

    Thank you Sally. I'm always delighted when you do! Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment.

  7. I haven't read anything by J.P. Martin, but I do enjoy Quentin Blake's illustrations. (He is the Roald Dahl illustrator, right?) But I'm curious to learn about the box now, too. 1000 pounds is expensive ... what could be in it? Do do a follow-up post, please!

  8. barbaraannefisher25 May 2012 at 19:10

    Hi Claudine, yes you are absolutely correct – Quentin Blake and Roald Dahl collaborated on lots of books. I’m trying to finish a book before starting on uncle, but I’m scared uncle will sell before I get to it. If I get as far as the box (or the end), I promise I will do a follow up post. Maybe I should buy it myself!

  9. Rogerllawrence26 May 2012 at 00:10

    My daughter used to have The One Armed Badger. I never read it but it gave her hours of fun, until she was too cool to read it any more.

  10. Darlene Foster26 May 2012 at 04:42

    I am afraid I could not do your job as I would spend all my time reading and never getting any work done! This book sounds wonderful.

  11. barbaraannefisher28 May 2012 at 20:25

    Hi Roger, I don’t know the one-armed badger! (Just realised how funny that sounded as I typed it) I might have to make his or her acquaintance now.

  12. barbaraannefisher28 May 2012 at 20:25

    I wish I could win the lottery, give up work and read books all day – and blog about them of course. I do love my job though, and there is nothing else I would rather do...

  13. Replies
    1. GRT? Assuming you mean great, thank you.


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