|It is necessary to begin this undertaking with
the most obvious choice, Edward Gorey.
While best known as an illustrator, classics such as The Gashlycrumb Tinies: or, After the Outing and The Iron Tonic: Or, A Winter Afternoon in Lonely Valley show us that Mr Gorey is also an accomplished writer. Baleful, dire, foreboding, menacing, portentous, sinister, and threatening Gorey’s work stands out in the Victorian and Edwardian influenced genre.Mr Gorey who published under a number of pen names such as Ogdred Weary, Dogear Wryde, and Ms Regera Dowdy, is also know for his animated introduction to Public Broadcasting System's Mystery! and also his designs for Broadway's 1977 Dracula. Often Mr Gorey is relegated to the world of adult reading and many of the books that he illustrated are indeed meant for adults, books like Dicken's Bleak House and Kierkegaard's Fear and Trembling/The Sickness Unto Death to name a few. However, it is his work in children's and juvenile fiction which draws our attention. Mr Gorey said most of his material was aimed at "reasonably small children," whom he did not believe were scared by the sinister subject matter.
One of our favorite books that he illustrated was Edward Lear's The Jumbies. Mr Lear, perhaps best know for his poem "The Owl and The Pussycat," was famous for the limerick form as well as verbal invention. A favorite verse from The Jumbies reads:
Additionally, he is well know for his work on John Bellairs and Brad Strickland's books. Belliars' first young adult novel The House With a Clock in its Walls, was a supernatural thriller staring the Lewis Barnavelt, Uncle Jonathan Barnavelt, and their neighbor Florence Zimmermann. There were 2 sequels, The Figure in the Shadows and The Letter, the Witch, and the Ring. Bellairs wrote nine books, inclusing ones which focused on fan-favorite Johnny Dixon and Professor Roderick Childermass as well as Anthony Monday and Miss Myra Eells who fought supernatural battles against wizards and warlocks in The Dark Secret of Weatherend and The Lamp from the Warlock's Tomb. After Bellairs' death Brad Strickland completed the unfinished works of Bellairs as well as going on to write using these characters.
But mostly we are here to present you with the works that Mr Gorey himself wrote and illustrated. And the best of these is The Gashlycrumb Tinies. A seemly simple concept book, The Gashlycrumb Tinies presents the alphabet in a who new light.
One of our favorite couplets is:
This is the classic children's learning book which belongs in any dark and dreary library.
And here are more Mr Gorey recommendations:
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