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The Plucker: An Illustrated Novel by Brom Hardcover – October 1, 2005


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 156 pages
  • Publisher: Harry N. Abrams; Ill edition (October 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0810957922
  • ISBN-13: 978-0810957923
  • Product Dimensions: 11.8 x 10 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #881,499 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 5 Up–If the Velveteen Rabbit had a satanic bent, it would have much in common with the Plucker, the spirit doll that young Thomass father brings him from Africa in 1942. In Broms fevered imagination, the love and imaginative play with which children imbue their toys–their gusto, as he terms it–can be sucked out and turned to evil purposes, destroying the soul of the child and enlivening creatures too horrible to contemplate. It is up to Thomass old Jack-in-the-box to prevent the boy from such vitiation. Aided by the herbal and hoodoo wisdom of Mabelle, Thomass stalwart old nurse, and a few other plucky cast-off toys, Jack challenges the monstrous Foulthings spawned by the Plucker and vanquishes its malevolence. Broms descriptive powers are revealed equally in his prose and his illustrations. The paintings are so detailed and so layered that they yield their secrets further the more closely they are examined. Poring over them is an exercise in fascinated revulsion. Almost every page–from the opening, What the hell? to the resolution–contains abominations calculated to stir up nightmares. Despite its bittersweet, triumphant ending [...] this book will stir discomfort everywhere it goes. Brom is surely aware of this, as he is photographed on the dust jacket, poised to consume an eviscerated teddy bear with an oversize fork and spoon. Not everyone will be amused, and not everyone should be exposed to this macabre tour de force.–Miriam Lang Budin, Chappaqua Public Library, NY
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Gr. 9-12. The story of sentient childhood toys abandoned when a child grows up takes on a ghastly, gothic slant in this oversize, illustrated volume. The main character is Jack, a spring toy that takes on an evil imp, loosed from the head of an African spirit doll, which has designs on a child. Illustrated with darkly washed images of broken dolls, bound snow angels, and the devilish Plucker, this is a horror novella likely to appeal to those with little sentimentality for things of childhood and who enjoy the chilly anxiety that comes with the possibility of powerful things that go bump in the night. The beautiful production values here outdo both the literary quality and the depth of the images. Some readers will find the whole too creepy; others will be fascinated. Francisca Goldsmith
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

The story itself plays out quickly with interesting characters.
Antonio D. Paolucci
The Plucker is a pretty good gothic horror story, as such stories go, and Brom's haunting illustrations are a perfect complement to the text.
J. Alexander Harman
Get the word out on this book because it is sure to be talked about for a long time to come.
Book Crazy

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Bard on November 10, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This is a rare example of an artist who can write as well as they paint. The Plucker is a 160 page large-format hardcover, lavishly illustrated with over 100 Brom paintings, published by Abrams (the big art book publisher). The book is a delightfully politically-incorrect and convoluted "children's book" of the sort that children really do need to evoke the kind of nightmares that fire their imaginations (instead of the sweet simplistic pap they are usually fed). Where would Gary Larson be today if it weren't for reading "Mr Bear Squash-You-All-Flat" as a child?! The jacket blurb for The Plucker says: "a world where fairy-tale tradition collides with vileness and depravity, love and heroism, suffering and sacrifice. A shadowy land of make-believe where happily ever after can cost you your very soul." (Sleep tight, kiddies!)
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Carla Beckwith on November 14, 2005
Format: Hardcover
The first few days of owning this book I simply absorbed and enjoyed the amazing illustrations. Finally I turned my sights to the text...being pulled from one page to the next and the next, cover to cover in one sitting. The story was exciting...full of hope, heebie-jeebies, heroes and horror. Brom did a great job crafting this tale, with both his images and his words. I thoroughly enjoyed it and would highly recommend it to those who aren't overly sensative to the dark nooks and crannies of make-believe. The only fluff to this story is that which has been torn out of the soft bellies of once-loved stuffed animals.

The illustrations are masterful and show the true genius that is Brom. The story was an amazing first for Brom who has made it evident his talents are vast and ever-growing. Only one question...when is he going to hook up with Tim Burton and get this on the screen!?!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Schrodinger's Not Quite Dead Cat on September 20, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Visually the book is stunning, over a hundred full color paintings by Brom at the top of his game. If you enjoy Brom's paintings you'll love his prose - his sense of the macabre and the romantic, tinged with his dark sense of humor carry through into the story, making the Plucker a page turner. Very edgy stuff. Highly recommended!
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Antonio D. Paolucci on October 18, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This is the very first adult illustrated novel I've ever purchased, and I'd say Plucker was a great step towards buying more in this particular genre. It's haunting imagery goes well with the tone of the story. The story itself plays out quickly with interesting characters. The only problem I had with the book was the fact that without the pictures, a lot of what's happening would be lost in the reader's mind. Perhaps this is common with illustrated novels. I wouldn't know. It just bothered me on those occasions when something was broadly described and I had to stop and look again at the painting or drawing to see exactly what it was the author was trying to describe. Still, though, this book is a fine effort from Brom, and for fans of his art style (dark, moody, and strange), you won't be disappointed.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Antiquarian on October 9, 2005
Format: Hardcover
On a cold and rainy Saturday, after having a rather terrible couple of weeks, I took myself to a movie and then the bookstore. I bought this book on a whim, based on the lusciously gorgeous illustrations and the profoundly enticing writing - it fit the mood of the day perfectly. Only two other artists have such a rich and delightfully wicked combined creativity; Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean, whose movie Mirrormask I had just seen!

Brom has sewn together a magical tale that will send you longingly into the toy chest hoping to revive the life in those precious objects of youthful imagination. Just as you wonder if there are doors in the backs of wardrobes or if the white rabbit could lead you off into Wonderland, Brom sheds new dark on the goings on in the Underbed. Perhaps one way of looking at this story is to say that the Nutcracker is sugarplum and cotton candy, Plucker is a perfectly decedent rich dark hand dipped imported chocolate truffle. If I could I would give this book a Newbery Award!

I would have devoured this story as a child and as an adult did it in one day. I would recommend it as a "read with" to those whose children liked Coriline (Neil Gaiman), Alice in Wonderland (Lewis Carroll), Keys to the Kingdom series (Garth Nix) and any good supernatural tale; basically a lover of Halloween.

For adults it's a great read for fans of Ray Bradbury, Hideyuki Kikuchi, Neil Gaiman, & early Stephan King.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Clark on September 22, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This book is amazing, exactly what I could expect from the mind of Brom. I love the strange creatures, dolls, monsters and other characters. Definitely a unique, dark story from the mind of one of the contemporary fantasy masters. Very cool and very Brom.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By G. Rebis on September 13, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book solely for Brom's stellar artwork, but it's a fun story as well. The writing is a little odd--it reads like an older children's book, or maybe young adult--so the occasional f-bomb (and other epithets) tend to catch me a little off guard (and I swear like a proverbial sailor). I can't say much about the art, really - it's great and it's consistent with his other work, aside from the toy theme. I did catch myself wondering what Toy Story would have looked like had Brom done the art direction. If you're a fan of Brom's work at all, it's certainly worth the price for a fun read and beautiful pictures.
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