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The Gashlycrumb Tinies Hardcover – October 15, 1997


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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

"A is for Amy who fell down the stairs. B is for Basil assaulted by bears. C is for Clara who wasted away. D is for Desmond thrown out of a sleigh..." The rhyming couplets of this grim abecedarian are familiar, of course, to devotees of macabre humor, but the darkly crosshatched drawings are (as Poe put it) "the soul of the plot." Several years went by during which The Gashlycrumb Tinies: Or, After the Outing was not available in a small hardcover edition like this one, which is the true format for Edward Gorey's specialty, the adult picture book. (For those who wish to share the gloom there's a 10-copy assortment with The Curious Sofa.)

About the Author

Edward Gorey (1925-2000) wrote and illustrated such popular books as The Doubtful Guest, The Gashlycrumb Tinies, and The Headless Bust. He was also a very successful set and costume designer, earning a Tony Award for his Broadway production of Edward Gorey's Dracula. Animated sequences of his work have introduced the PBS series Mystery! since 1980.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Harcourt Brace (October 15, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0151003084
  • ISBN-13: 978-0151003082
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.3 x 5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (273 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,505 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Edward Gorey (1925-2000) wrote and illustrated such popular books as The Doubtful Guest, The Gashlycrumb Tinies, and The Headless Bust. He was also a very successful set and costume designer, earning a Tony Award for his Broadway production of Edward Gorey's Dracula. Animated sequences of his work have introduced the PBS series Mystery! since 1980.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

97 of 101 people found the following review helpful By Michael J. Mazza HALL OF FAME on December 18, 2001
Format: Hardcover
The concept behind "The Gashlycrumb Tinies; or, After the Outing," by Edward Gorey, is brilliant in its simplicity. It consists of a series of rhymes about small children who suffer various deaths. Each child has a name beginning with a different letter of the alphabet, and their grim fates are arranged alphabetically by name. Each fate is also accompanied by one of Gorey's macabre drawings. Sample lines: "E is for Ernest who choked on a peach. F is for Fanny sucked dry by a leech. G is for George smothered under a rug. H is for Hector done in by a thug."
I found this book hilarious. Gorey's children have a proper Victorian look to them which makes their scenarios that much more bizarre. Most of the drawings show the unfortunate children just before their deaths; only a few of the pictures actually show explicit death or violence.
One could read "Gashlycrumb Tinies" as an outrageous parody of children's books (of alphabet primers in particular), or just enjoy it for what it is. Either way, I think it's a wicked delight.
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51 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Greenberg on June 28, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is the first Gorey I have ever read. I just read it today. Here are my impressions:
As my title indicates, I found it highly amusing. I found myself laughing out loud a few times while reading this very short book.
The illustrations are fantastic as you can gather from most of these reviews. Most of the illustrations are funny but I might note the exception to that in the gruesome image of Kate's corpse after being struck with an ax. I think that's the only illustration taking place after the event. That proved to be an exception though. The book is very amusing and hilarious at times.
It's an anti-children's book for adults. It can be a funny remedy to the insipid and happy-go-lucky kinds of children's books. That doesn't mean this is just for parents or those particularly sick with those children's books. I think anyone with a decent sense of humor, and especially a dark one, would enjoy this.
It's short. I don't know why the information says it's 64 pages because there are only 26 letters in the alphabet. Anyway, my point is that it's just a little humorous diversion.
This hardcover edition is really great. It's high quality and just plain nice...
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53 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Gary F. Taylor HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 19, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Edward Gorey's dark subversion of children's alphabet books is a tiny book guaranteed to bring a sinister smile to the face of every one with a twisted sense of humor. Opening with "A is for Amy who fell down the stairs" and running all the way to "Z is for Zilla who drank too much gin," the simple but inspired rhymes combine with Gorey's pseudo-Victorian Gothic crosshatch illustrations to wickedly funny effect.
Although his disaster-specific illustrations (such as "R is Rhoda consumed by a fire") are macabrely witty, Gorey is really at his best when he leaves the most to your imagination. Consequently, it is really his illustrations of impending doom ("P is for Prue trampled flat in a brawl") or the shocking aftermath of an unknown circumstance ("K is for Kate who was struck with an ax") that are most likely to inspire a mischievous grin.
Although you might not want to give this to your anxiety-prone niece or your traumatized stepson as a Christmas stocking stuffer unless you wish to make them worry about your intent, older children will likely find it every bit as comical as adults--but adults are the real audience here, much more likely to catch the drop-dead humor involved. Wickedly amusing and sinisterly charming in every way.
GFT, Amazon Reviewer
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Ot on October 3, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
When I was a boy, my mother read to me the short poem of Solomon Grundy. It went - Solomon Grundy, Born on a Monday, Christened on a Tuesday, Married On a Wednesday, Took ill on a Thursday, Worse on a Friday, Died on Saturday, Buried on a Sunday. This is the end of Solomon Grundy.

I don't remember how young I was, but I was startled by the short life of this Solomon Grundy character. It also made me wonder about death. Not in a depressive, fearful way, but in a curious way. Even though I wasn't intellectually tuned to metaphor , my unconscious understood that though we don't die in a week, we do die - whatever dieing meant to me in those days. It was a lesson. A lesson wrapped in a tale for the young at heart.

Edward Gorey's The Gashlycrumb Tinies teaches us the same lesson, but it also contains the one ingredient we need to extinguish the fear of death ( for a time ). Humor. We see the calamity of it's characters and we laugh. But we laugh because we are kin to the absurdity. The greatest ill a parent can do to a child is to deceive that child from the truth. The Gashlycrumb Tinies allows us to tell the truth, one step at a time. Laughter and death, something we all have in common.

Solomon Grundy or The Gashlycrumb Tinies - thanks Mom.

Otto
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Dai-keag-ity on September 2, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Yes, it's warped! I feel like such an utter sociopathic evil human being for thinking this sick creation is completely hysterical. Oh, gosh, I mean, what's wrong with me that I break out laughing over what sounds in description the most demented thing ever drawn?

For those who may not know, The Gashlycrumb Tinies, by the legendary Edward Gorey, is a series of pen and ink illustrations that concern the ghastly, serial deaths of twenty-six small children (yes I feel awful just typing that knowing it's being read) all of whom have a name beginning with one consecutive letter of the alphabet, A,B, C, etc. and all of whom are depicted meeting singularly gruesome fates, each of the incidents set merrily to rhyme. The children are Victorian or Edwardian, as are nearly all characters Gorey drew, and they meet their demises in astonishingly horrid ways. One is devoured by mice, another is eaten by bears. Another is sucked dry by a leech, yet another unfortunate meets her fate under a rug. One child even manages to perish from ennui!

Oh, dear Lord, this is insanity, and yet as penned by Gorey, this is so sick it's funny.

I'm stopping here.

Before anyone tracks me down to stone me at a crossroads under a full moon while chanting from the Book of Common Prayer, try reading this disgustingly hilarious little collection and see if you don't agree it reaches in and finds some twisted avenue in your soul and tickles till your inner sadist erupts with laughter.

I like children. I swear I do.

"M is for Maud who was swept out to sea..."

Help! I'm not a bad person for laughing, honestly! Sick! Sick! SICK!
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