Books Oddballs and Misfits Picture Books Poetry Friday Read-a-Latte Reading Themes

[Poetry Friday] Tim Burton’s Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy

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Our Poetry Friday offering this week is very much in keeping with our current bimonthly theme until the end of April: Oddballs and Misfits, the Surreal and the Peculiar: A Celebration of Beautiful Strangenesses. Our host this week is Liz at Growing Wild.

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I first found out about this book when I was in Brisbane sometime in 2010. When I visited the States during Christmas of 2011, the beautiful Fats Suela was kind enough to give this to me as a gift. Bibliophiles know each other’s hearts. This is one of my most treasured books to date.

There are twenty-three odd little poems in all in this collection with the equally-strange and beautiful illustrations done by the multi-talented Tim Burton. There is the tragic yet fiery love story between Stick Boy and Match Girl in Love, the product of the unholy union between a woman and a microwave blender in Robot Boy, and the prodigious talents of Staring Girl and how her eyes look like when they finally have their well-deserved rest.

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As I read through the poems The Boy with Nails in His eyes and The Girl with Many Eyes and the story (told in verse of course) of Roy, the Toxic Boy, I begin to wonder what Tim Burton’s dreams are like. I would not even want to know what the texture of his nightmares may be like (Beetlejuice immediately comes to mind). This collection has an assortment of beautiful little misfits with characters such as Brie Boy, Junk Girl, Mummy Boy, Melonhead, The Pin Cushion Queen and Jimmy, the Hideous Penguin Boy to cite a few. They are all strange and surreal archetypes of the people that we are – perhaps concealed in the farthest corners of our minds, struggling to be set free to find happiness in whichever way they know how. As our featured Academic, Tuting Hernandez, describes the book – it is a “collection about finding love and building friendships and discovering dreams and passions and the self of misunderstood characters.”

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And of course there is the hideous death of Oyster Boy, the King of the Oddballs in this little velvet black book.

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It is a moribund fairy tale gone awry with Oyster Boy’s death narrated in a peculiarly-matter-of-fact, almost-terse, straightforward retelling sans drama nor needless emotions, the pain and heartbreak subtle yet keenly-sensed. My favorite though in this collection is Voodoo Girl and as such is my Poetry Friday offering this week. Hope you like it.

Voodoo Girl by Tim Burton

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Her skin is white cloth,
and she’s all sewn apart
and she has many colored pins
sticking out of her heart.

She has many different zombies
who are deeply in her trance.
She even has a zombie
who was originally from France.

But she knows she has a curse on her,
a curse she cannot win.
For if someone gets
too close to her,

the pins stick farther in.

Here is The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy as seen in Youtube. Enjoy.

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Read-a-Latte Challenge: 97 of 150

Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

10 comments on “[Poetry Friday] Tim Burton’s Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy

  1. Tim Burton is perfect for your bimonthly theme. I have this on my wish list. I hear he’s going to direct Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, if I am not mistaken. There have been talks of him doing Pinocchio too. 😀

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  2. Pingback: The Poetry Friday Party is Here! | Elizabeth Steinglass

  3. What a wickedly twisted, insightful imagination! Thanks for sharing, Myra. Your posts with work from the likes of Tim Burton keep us on our toes (and looking over our shoulders, perhaps?)

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  4. He has such an incredibly strong voice and vision.

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  5. “And if someone gets too close to her, the pins stick farther in.” Oh my goodness, Myra. Now I really wish I still had my class of middle schoolers. They would love these. One year we (my co-workers of other classes) showed them Beetle Juice, & again, they loved it. They were very young when it came out. Thanks for sharing this; I didn’t know it!

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  6. Thanks for the heads up about this book! Tim Burton is a wonderfully warped genius, but no, I wouldn’t want to go anywhere near his nightmares either.

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  7. Just put this book on hold from the library! Thanks for the intro to this collection, Myra!

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  8. I can see why Voodoo Girl is your favorite — so original and so poignant! What a great present from Fats.

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  9. maryleehahn

    Definitely fits your theme!

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  10. Pingback: A Splash of Colours in Brian Anderson’s “The Prince’s New Pet” |

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