Woohoo! It’s October 31, dear friends. Are you ready for trick or treat? If you don’t have a costume yet, allow Gris Grimly’s gruesome artwork to provide you with a bit of inspiration as we share Susan Pearson’s Grimericks with Grimly’s illustrations. Perfect both for Halloween and our current bimonthly theme on Books about Books as it is part limerick with a “dash of grim” and a “slosh of spook juice” among others.
I am no stranger to Gris Grimly’s artwork as I have featured Edgar Allan Poe’s Tales of Death and Dementia with Grimly’s illustrations during our previous theme on Haunting Tales sometime in 2010. Since I naturally gravitate towards gothic literature and darknesses – I have fallen hopelessly in love with Grimly. Ok, his artwork.
Grimericks is a devilishly-macabre picture book with Grimly’s trademark strangenesses which worked beautifully with Pearson’s poetry. The book began with a warning – an invitation really, for intrepid readers such as myself.
Dear Reader, please lend me your ear.
If ghosts, ghouls, and goblins you fear,
don’t open this book.
No – don’t even look!
There are spooky things hiding in here.
And such spooky elementals indeed as the reader is introduced to dead Millicent Mooney with the odd hair-do, lots of scary a-gnashin goblins (some who even order a spook-etti and fang-furters! yummy!), Boris the boy-eating bear, witchhiking Bettina von Spyke and the scandalous Priscilla the witch who “flies off the handle.”
There are also ghastly ghosts in the bathroom (reminded me a little bit of the ghost who haunts the girls’ toilets in Harry Potter – Myrtle, her name was, if I’m not mistaken), a skeleton who rocks and rolls (her name is MaryLou Jones nicknamed Lazybones Jones) – and a star-crossed love affair between a gremlin and goblin. There has to be romance even in the afterlife, right? And the chessmaster ghoul, Augustus who would eat any player who beats him. That’s one way of eliminating the competition – permanently.
My favorite though is Martin McIver the mummy who “has termites and moths inside of his cloths” – as I simply loved the illustration. While I enjoyed going over the entire book, and I have every feeling that kids would just relish flipping through the book’s glorious pages – I felt that the ending was a little too abrupt, and there wasn’t any attempt to kind of weave all the characters’ deliciously-odd stories together.
I would have loved a page where all the creatures are captured all together in a surreal smorgasbord of scary ‘grimericks’ – but that’s just me. It’s definitely a book you should pick up for Halloween for a read aloud. It would be fun to invite the kids to create their own scary creatures as well. Happy Trick or Treating, everyone!
Grimericks by Susan Pearson and illustrated by Gris Grimly. Marshall Cavendish Children, 2005. Book borrowed from the library. Book photos were taken by me.