It is a time of rejoicing at Homeward, the Labyrinthine castle-city that is as magical as Oz and as full of wonders as Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. Uncle, the wise, kind, generous, and fabulously rich elephant who rules over Homeward, has joined with his many friends to celebrate their triumph over the ruffians in neighboring Badfort.
Still, there’s plenty of cleaning up to do in Homeward: the waterworks are tainted with vinegar, housing is scarce, and the Dwarftown Railway is terribly overcrowded— meanwhile the Badfort crowd has devised its most diabolical plan yet. Uncle will need all the help he can get from his faithful assistant Old Monkey and from Goodman the literate cat—and possibly a wizard’s spell—to get through this mess.
Uncle Cleans Up displays the same subversive humor and ingenious plotting as its predecessor, Uncle, and serves as a no less delightful introduction to J. P. Martin’s fantastic world; Quentin Blake’s quirky drawings accompany a tale that has been charming children and adults alike for nearly fifty years.
The books are very funny, installing a large cast of unlikely characters…in a world of mildly squiffy logic…And the illustrations are among Quentin Blake’s best work, scrawls and splotches that finally and unarguably distill character. But most important, this is political satire of a high order—Animal Farm for pre-teens, but wittier and more relevant to our own world.
— The Independent (London)
And another great animal book: Uncle Cleans Up, about a millionaire elephant who wears a purple dressing gown and reluctantly engages in violent spats with his neighbours. Written in 1965 by JP Martin, a Yorkshire vicar, and illustrated by Quentin Blake, it has been reissued this year by New York Review Children’s Collection in a lovely, clothbound edition.
— The Guardian