First published in England in 1902, and full of whimsical charm, The Adventures of Uncle Lubin, presents one of literature’s most guileless and sincere characters.
With his comically floppy hat and striped baggy stockings, gentle, serious Uncle Lubin is left in charge of his beloved nephew Peter. One fateful day, a great Bagbird swoops down while Uncle Lubin is innocently napping, whisks away the screaming child in his beak, and flies to the moon.
Deeply horrified by the unexpected turn of affairs, Uncle Lubin nonetheless recognizes his duty as Peter’s guardian and sets out on a series of adventures to deliver the child from the wretched bag-bird, searching high and low (literally) for the kidnapped child. His ingenuity proves boundless: he builds an air-ship to follow the bird to the moon (using his hat as a parachute to descend); he invents a submersible sea-boat to search for Peter among the mer-men and mer-children of the deep; he kills a sea-serpent by putting salt on its tail (which we all know is the only way to kill a sea-serpent). He even melts an iceberg with a candle to reach the wicked bag-bird perched mockingly on top.
These fantastic adventures are enhanced by Robinson’s detailed pen-and-ink drawings depicting, among other things, Uncle Lubin’s remarkable inventions and contraptions. Robinson had a profound affection for the ridiculous, and was a genius at sensitively and inventively depicting the absurd.