Savoy Books 

Up the Boo Aye,
Shooting Pookakies

Mike Harding


b/w & colour illustrated

228mm x 152mm

Soft covers

First publication

Distributed by New English Library


ISBN 0 86130 059 9

Up the Boo Aye

  The Rochdale Cowboy rode up Deansgate one day and gave us this rich cornucopia of a book. Dusting off his chaps he explained that his regular publishers had ducked the cost of printing Up the Boo Aye in full colour. For us, artist Rodger McPhail was the deciding factor: he is quite brilliant, almost the equal of Ken Reid. Savoy intended to publish the follow-up book, The Thief of the World, which contains more top-notch artwork by McPhail, but a disagreement between the duo stopped publication. What a team they were! Whatever happened to Rodger McPhail?

• A few copies of this title are still available. See the Orders page for purchase details.



"A delightful gallery of inspired lunacy set firmly in the classic tradition of Edward Lear and Lewis Carroll... A macabre surrealism pervades much of this work."


Takes a lot to upstage that Mike Harding
(There's many have tried and have flopped)
But a Westhoughton artist called Rodger
McPhail has the cowboy fair topped.
It is all on account of his pictures,
For Rodger's no bodger, you see:
John Hassall, Heath Robbo—you name 'em -
He has the lot off to a tee.
Now his artistry's matched with Mike's poems
And a rare combination they make,
For Harding's a dab hand as wordsmith
(Though he follows in one or two's wake).
Yes, he sometimes has trouble when scansion
Goes off the proverbial rails,
But this book is a treat for all children
And adults, too, will welcome these tales.
They're something to read to their offspring
Without boring themselves, don't you see:
Up the Boo Aye, Shooting Pookakies
(Savoy Books, two pounds fifty pee).



"Popular comedian Mike Harding here offers a delightful gallery of inspired lunacy set firmly in the classic tradition of Edward Lear and Lewis Carroll. A bunch of nonsense poems that will raise many a titter and shudder. The book contains twenty-one poems of varying lengths and scope from the near haiku Hippoportant Poem,

A hippopotamus
Would squash a lot of us
If it sat on us.

to the epic title piece, so titled in memory of the author's Aunty Guy ("Up the Boo Aye..." was her answer following the young Harding's constant "Where are you going?")

There is—as in Lear and Carroll—a macabre surrealism that pervades much of this work especially such pieces as The Moon, The Grebs and Fingummy and these are generally the better pieces. However, The Idle Yellow Oozit which is far from macabre remains my favourite.

McPhail's illustrations are in the main very appropriate, especially those in full colour, of which there are ten. However some of the black and white pieces seem to be almost the work of a different artist.

Still the marriage of picture and poem works extremely well and the book is highly recommended."


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