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date: 25 March 2019

Mister Magnolia

The Oxford Companion to Children's Literature

Daniel Hahn

Mister Magnolia (1980) 

A rhyming picture book by Quentin Blake. Mr Magnolia is very jolly, in spite of the fact that he has—as the refrain reminds us—only one boot. He does, however, have all manner of other things that do at least rhyme with ‘boot’ (an old trumpet that goes rooty-toot, two lovely sisters who play on the flute, etc.) and he does, in a triumphant ending, get a beautiful new (unmatching) boot to make up the pair. Though this is never made explicit, Mister Magnolia can be read as a counting book, with the pages progressing—one old trumpet, two lovely sisters, through green parakeets who are learning to hoot (four of them), and mice marching past as he takes the salute (nine).