The Gashlycrumb Tinies is a gory, inappropriate children’s book, written by Edward Gorey in 1963. The book is a complete opposite to what children’s books usually are: merriment, fairy tales, and happy endings. This book, however, tells the one-line story of how 26 children meet their gruesome ends. It was one of the earliest black humor books written for children.
The books falls under the genre of abecedaries – practice exercises of the alphabet. Each child in the book is named for an alphabet and appears in the familiar alphabetical order. The book is also a poem, written in couplets, ie, following the rhyme scheme aabbcc..
The verses were accompanied by Gorey’s very own, crosshatched, brilliant, hand drawn illustrations for each character.
I remember reading it as a child for the first time, and laughing in enjoyment. I was probably five. When I rediscovered the book a couple of years later, I was mortified, and had my first, vivid nightmare that involved a dog and some stairs, that I could clearly recall was in black-and-white, a la sketches in the book. I lost the book shortly thereafter, and completely forgot about it till I found a wonderful, wonderful gif online, that prompted me to write this post in gristly nostalgia.
The enticing gif:
I think I would prefer Death-V : Squashed under a train.
Which Gashlycrumb Tinie are you?