Meet My Folks!

My father recently asked me to come around to his house to sort through boxes of my things from childhood. It was a rather nostalgic affair. I managed to get some really nice childrens books and some neon coloured clothing from the eighties (for the irony factor) which I was happy about.

One of my book finds was Meet My Folks by Ted Hughes and illustrated by George Adamson. It was originally published in 1961. I remember it scaring me silly when I was little.


The book is a series of surreal poems about the narrators family accompanied with intensely detailed illustrations. This narrators family is rather unusual. His sister is a crow, his “other granny” is an octopus, his uncle is killed by his overly realistic painting of a tiger and his father is a specialist of holes (see illustrations below)

His sister:


His Uncle Mick (who disappearance is still unexplained)


His father:


Each of the poems have a frivolous and playful style undercut with a foreboding and ominous tone. Its wonderfully macabre. In the final poem entitled ‘My Own True Family” the central character is captured by the trees in the wood who claim they are his real kin. They speak to him about how cruel humankind has been to them and envelop him in their trunks. He finally gets away ( it is just a dream) but the experience remains:

“This was my dream beneath the boughs, the

dream that altered me.

When I came out of the oakwood, back to

human company,

My walk was the walk of a human child, but my

heart was a tree”


My favourite character is the Grandfather who is an owler. I love owls.



This entry was posted in books/magazines/publishing, illustration and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Meet My Folks!

  1. kristin says:

    Hi, I’ve been looking for the poem My Father (which was mentioned in your post), but couldn’t find it online. If it is not too much trouble, could you send me a copy (photo is alright, like the one you took of My Grandpa). I’m planning to compile a book of poems for my dad’s birthday, and this is one of the poems I would like to add to it.

  2. kristin says:

    I’m so sorry to trouble you again, but i did not receive the email from you. Just to confirm, my email add is:

    Thanks again!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s