Of all his dozens of books, Pierre Berton considers The Secret World of Og
his favourite--no doubt because it was inspired by his own offspring. Originally published in 1961 and illustrated by his daughter Patsy Berton ("who was there"), the wry children's fable about a society of funny green creatures who can only say "Og" has sold over 200,000 copies. This special, large-format edition features 150 of Patsy Berton's zany illustrations as well as a new foreword.
Penny, Pamela, Patsy, and their little brother Peter are bewildered when they discover that the baby (better known as the "Pollywog") has inexplicably disappeared from their playhouse during a game of tea party. When Pamela, the family dreamer, remembers noticing a miniature saw cutting out a trap door in the playhouse floor, the four intrepid siblings descend into a murky subterranean country, overgrown with mushrooms. There they narrowly escape capture by the Ogs--ruthlessly childish creatures who have constructed a bizarre culture from cast-off toys and comic-book characters.
A farcical fantasy in the tradition of Mr. Popper's Penguins and the books of Dr. Seuss, The Secret World of Og will entertain children as young as six--though some may find the baby-snatching Ogs rather frightening at first. With its references to comic books and '60s-style TV shows, the book has an undeniably dated feel, but its comic characterizations of the obsessively playful Ogs--and especially of that master of escape, the Pollywog--are as amusing as ever. (Ages 6 and older) --Lisa Alward
About the Author
Pierre Berton was one of Canada’s most popular and prolific authors.
From narrative histories and popular culture, to picture and coffee table books to anthologies, to stories for children to readable, historical works for youth, many of his fifty books are now Canadian classics.
Born in 1920 and raised in the Yukon, Pierre Berton worked in Klondike mining camps during his university years. He spent four years in the army, rising from private to captain/instructor at the Royal Military College in Kingston. He spent his early newspaper career in Vancouver, where at 21 he was the youngest city editor on any Canadian daily. He wrote columns for and was editor of Maclean’s
magazine, appeared on CBC’s public affairs program “Close-Up” and was a permanent fixture on “Front Page Challenge” for 39 years. He was a columnist and editor for the Toronto Star
and was a writer and host of a series of CBC programs.
Pierre Berton received over 30 literary awards including the Governor-General’s Award for Creative Non-Fiction (three times), the Stephen Leacock Medal of Humour, and the Gabrielle Leger National Heritage Award. He received two Nellies for his work in broadcasting, two National Newspaper awards, and the National History Society’s first award for “distinguished achievement in popularizing Canadian history.” For his immense contribution to Canadian literature and history, he was awarded more than a dozen honourary degrees, is a member of the Newsman’s Hall of Fame, and is a Companion of the Order of Canada.
Pierre Berton passed away in Toronto on November 30, 2004.