J. P. Martin (1879-1966) was born in Yorkshire into a family of Methodist ministers. He took up the family vocation, serving when young as a missionary to a community of South African diamond miners and then, during the First World War, as an Army chaplain in Palestine and Egypt, before returning to minister to parishes throughout the north of England. He died at eighty-six from a flu caught while bringing pots of honey to his parishioners in cold weather. Martin began telling Uncle stories to entertain his children, who later asked him to write them down so that they could read them to their own children; the stories were finally published as a book in 1964, when Martin was eighty-four. The jacket to the first edition of Uncle notes that “the inspiration for these stories seems to come from the industrial landscape that [Martin] knew as a child….He still likes to take his family and friends on walks through industrial scenes. He also enjoys painting the wild and beautiful landscape where he lives. It is not enough to say he loves children; he is still continually visited by them.”
Uncle and his friends defend the labyrinthine regions of castle Homeward from the Badfort baddies. “A classic of British nonsense…. And a most elegant nonsense it is, utterly silly and deeply sophisticated at the same time.” —Newsday
The madcap drawings of illustration-superstar Quentin Blake perfectly capture the silly and skewed world of Uncle, a fabulously rich elephant who oversees the denizens of his labyrinthine estate and fends off the attacks of his enemies, the hapless Badfort crowd. Read one of the bedtime-length stories in this book and join the cult of Uncle!