The story of Edward Gorey and his creepy “brand of silliness.”
“In 1925, a boy was born / in Chicago / who loved words / and pictures, too. / A brilliant boy, / An only boy.” That boy was Edward Gorey, “And oh, did he read! / He gobbled up adventures / and mysteries. / Comics and poetry. / The entire works / of French novelist / Victor Hugo, / for goodness’ sake.” The strange combination of whimsy and gruesomeness he found when reading Alice in Wonderland and Dracula one after the other when he was young is what he became famous for in his own books. Mortensen’s poetic text with spare rhythmic lines perfectly complements Bristol’s illustrations, which echo Gorey’s stylistically but bring color to the tale of an artist known for his “seas of black sketchy lines” rendered in pen and ink. Together, the text and illustrations brilliantly evoke the world of Edward Gorey’s books, providing young readers with just enough to know what Gorey was all about, even plaiting in key lines from The Gashlycrumb Tinies to prime the pump. A thorough author’s note fleshes out Gorey’s life, ending with a note about how his “sweet and sinister” style is seen nowadays in Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, and Neil Gaiman’s Coraline.
A stellar biography, as creepy and fun as its subject. (sources) (Picture book/biography. 5-9)