Cover image for The absentminded fellow
The absentminded fellow
Marshak, S. (Samuil), 1887-1964.
Uniform Title:
Vot kakoĭ rasseyanni͡i. English
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, [1999]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 26 cm
From the time he puts his pants on his arms until he tries to buy a train ticket at the flower shop, "that absentminded fellow from Portobello Road" bumbles from one muddle to the next.
General Note:
"This translation is an adaptation of 'Vot kakoi rasseyannii'."
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

On Order



From the time he puts his pants on his arms until he tries to buy a train ticket at the flower shop, that absentminded fellow from Portobello Road bumbles from one muddle to the next.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Ages 4^-8. This cheery little ditty has the refrain "Oh that absentminded fellow from Portobello Road!" which recurs after each foolish thing the absentminded fellow does. He begins his day by putting his arms through his trouser legs. Then he puts on the landlady's cat instead of his hat, and heads out to catch the train to Birmingham, though of course, he never makes it. The bouncy rhyme, originally published in Russian in 1928, is accompanied by Rosenthal's illustrations in an early thirties style, reminiscent of the old Monopoly game. He uses a limited palette, sticking to gold, orange, black, and green, very much in keeping with the period, and indicates his hero's frantic gyrations with lots of cartoon-style motion lines. A fun choice for reading aloud to groups old enough to help with the refrain: "Oh that absentminded fellow from Portobello Road!" --Susan Dove Lempke

School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 4-This humorous story will leave readers chuckling. An absentminded fellow who lives on Portobello Road in London wakes up one morning, sticks his arms through the legs of his trousers, pushes his feet through his shirt sleeves, ties his shoe strings to one another, and dons an angora cat in place of a hat. In garbled nonsense language, he instructs a taxi driver to take him to the train station where, after attempting to purchase a ticket to Birmingham in a flower shop and caf‚, he boards an abandoned train car. After falling asleep and waking three times in London instead of Birmingham, he concludes, "I was going to Birmingham,/But I came back instead!" As the man fumbles through his day, various characters call out in dialogue balloons, "Oh, that absentminded fellow from Portobello Road!" Listeners will naturally join in on the chant, making this an excellent participation story. The stylized, dapper artwork perfectly complements the bouncy, rhyming text. Rosenthal's illustrations and restrained color scheme recall the 1930s, and his characters would feel right at home in Popeye's world. Observant readers and listeners will discover subtle humorous touches throughout the book. Introduce this gleefully silly book to Edward Lear fans.-Shawn Brommer, Southern Tier Library System, Painted Post, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.