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Comment: Very Good - Standard used condition book with the text inside being clean and unmarked - Exterior of the book shows moderate signs of usage
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The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other Stories Hardcover – October 22, 1997

4.6 out of 5 stars 283 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

This unassuming hardcover in black buckram with a dark lavender title plate is the door into a world of twisted pleasures. Filmmaker Tim Burton (Edward Scissorhands, Beetlejuice, The Nightmare Before Christmas) tells 23 winsomely macabre stories about boys and girls who don't fit in. Their bodies are misshapen, their habits are odd, and their parents are appalled by them. But they do try hard to be human, like poor unwanted Mummy Boy, who's "a bundle of gauze": he goes for a walk in the park with his mummy dog. Some kids are having "a birthday party for a Mexican girl." They think Mummy Boy is a piñata: "They took a baseball bat and whacked open his head. Mummy Boy fell to the ground; he finally was dead. Inside of his head were no candy or prizes, just a few stray beetles of various sizes." For all its simple humor, The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other Stories is a peculiarly disturbing book about the violence that children suffer. It is illustrated in pen and ink, watercolor, and crayon. The themes and imagery are at a young-adult to adult level.

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In the manner of the pictorial tales of Shel Silverstein, Roald Dahl, and Edward Gorey--but from a slightly more twisted realm of the imagination--Burton's creepy stories conjure up the fantastical, even the slightly demented: "The Boy with Nails in His Eyes," "Roy, the Toxic Boy," "The Girl with Many Eyes" ("You get really wet/When she breaks down and cries"), and "Brie Boy" ("The other children never let Brie Boy play ... but at least he went well with a nice Chardonnay"). -- Entertainment Weekly
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Rob Weisbach Books; 1st edition (October 22, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0688156819
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688156817
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.2 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (283 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #20,995 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is a great collection of drawings and illustrations from Tim Burton which I would definately reccommend. HOWEVER, keep in mind that the HOLIDAY EDITION is simply the ORIGINAL EDITION, with the addition of a new holiday themed slip cover. Remove the slip cover and you've got the same book. Just don't want anyone ordering thinking that it's a new edition with all-new or additional poems and art. Now that that's out of the way, buy this book! (Either edition, and any time of the year!)
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Format: Hardcover
You don't need to like dark things in order to like this dark book. You don't even need to be gloomy or sad to read it. This book is just brilliant. It's innocent and child-like tales will transport you to another level of imagination. You will sympathize with the poor creatures in this book, because they need to be loved too. You will smile and laugh and empathize. I highly recommend giving this book as a gift. Everyone i have lent it to, including corporate execs--really liked it. I also highly recommend "Lenore: Noogies" by Roman Dirge for something similar in terms of art and storyline, which Tim Burton also praises.
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Format: Hardcover
I bought this handsome collection of short poems and stories by Tim Burton, not only because he is my most favorite director, but also because I was very interested in what his poetry and stories were like. Although "The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy and Other Stories" is written as a children's book, the content consists of some sexual,drug, and just plain macabre stuff. For example, in a couple poems, like "Robot Boy," a line goes, "He never forgave her unholy alliance: a sexual encounter with a kitchen appliance." Also, to tell you about the scarce yet present drug content, in the poem called, "Sue", the beginning is, "To avoid a lawsuit, we'll just call her Sue (or "that girl who likes to sniff lots of glue"). And lastly,to show you that macabre stuff is present, I can't recite a specific line because all of them contain some or lots of macabre. But if you truly love Tim Burton, then this book is a good thing to have. I like the poems in this collection- they are fun to read over and over, and a great addition to your bookshelf. I just suggest that you don't buy it for a child or an early reader- it is really for an older kid (like 12 and up) to adult. All in all, I enjoyed this book, and anyone who loves Tim Burton, likes macabre comedy, and can be mature to some very light adult content will enjoy having this book!
P.S.- I loved "The Girl with Many Eyes"! (It was a clean and funny poem)!
P.S.S.- Not all of the poems contain drug or sexual content!! In fact, most are clean and clever!
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Format: Hardcover
Tim Burton once again surprises and delights us with his new book, "The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy and Other Stories". The book is a subvertion to the children's fairy-tale book genre. If you look at the book and flip through its pages, you'll say it's indeed a children book, and it's supposed to look like one. But the book has several direct sex and drugs references (i.e., the sexual problems of Oyster-Boy's parents, and "the girl who sniffed lots of glue"), and most of the characters of the tales die at the end. Tim Burton, who's given us such wonderful movies as "Edward Scissorhands", "The Nightmare Before Christmas", and "Pee-Wee's Big Adventure", has now made a wonderful book, filled with what he's best at, unusual, misunderstood and outcast characters. "The Melancholy Death..." is a collection of tales of little freak kids who live in deep sadness for not being understood or accepted. The stories are told through melancholic verses and the illustrations (by Tim Burton) are simple and extremely elegant. Once you meet characters like Melonhead, Stick-Boy, The Boy With Nails in His Eyes, Junk Girl, The Pin-Cushion Queen, it gets easier to understand how Tim Burton could come up with such an original and bizarre film as "Edward Scissorhands". It's as though he was one of the kids from the book. The references to sex reminded me of "Batman Returns", where Tim Burton subverted the action-movie genre, turning a Batman blockbuster movie into an expressionist tale of sex and horror. The Penguin, by the way, makes an appearance in the book as a child (The Hideous Penguin Boy). "The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy" is a wonderful book and a must for any Tim Burton fan.
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Format: Hardcover
I have always admired the on-screen work of Tim Burton but had not known about his literary endeavours. When I was given this book as a present I did not expect much of it even though the title intrigued me and front cover art work was bizarre. I found this to be a collection of surreal accounts of abnormal children but still able to touch and allow the reader to endear to these beastly freaks of nature. The darkness in these stories are reminiscent of much of Burton's film work and the artwork is almost as powerful as the stories themselves. This book works on every possible level as it is simple yet sinister enough to be potent. A definite must-read for all those with a slightly twisted outlook on the world!
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By A Customer on January 23, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book since I'm a fan of Tim Burton's movies (Edward Scissorhands is one of the most beautiful movies I've seen). I appreciate Burton's unique drawing style, and I thought I would enjoy this book. However, it wasn't quite what I expected. I had in mind something more similar to Edward Gorey's "The Gashlycrumb Tinies" or, at worst, something akin to Angus Oblong's "Creepy Susie." And while it does have some similarity, I found it much less entertaining. The stories are often little more than a reiteration of the title, and the verse in the longer stories strikes me as uneven in rhythm (which may not bother everyone, but i'm admittedly uptight about things like that.) One solidly redeeming feature about this book is the impeccable design, however. The hardcover edition is beautifully bound, and the book is cleverly and neatly laid out. Graphic design students might want to take note of this book solely for that feature, if it can be found cheaply.
In summary, I'd say the book is for hardcore Burton fans, or those who are more open to highly atypical stories. I give it three stars for effort and design.
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