All Hallow’s Read 2013 (Day 22) – You Gonna Die, Fly

You Gonna Die, FlyWe opened this week with a super creepy, atmospheric family friendly spoken word story on vinyl called The Ride of the Headless Horseman (see All Hallow’s Read 2013 (Day 20) here). Today, I have a hilarious not-so-kid-friendly 32-page picture book called You Gonna Die, Fly by sister duo Elizabeth Massie and Barbara Spilman Lawson published by Fucked Up Folktales Publishing. Massie penned the story of Fly, a world-weary fly, after being inspired by all these fucked up folktales she was reading. And Lawson brought Fly to life, born from her dream of flying and admiration of the fly since they can do just that. This is a story for adults who will enjoy illustrated stories and, in particular, will enjoy a tale that takes a humorous look at life & death through the compound eyes of a fly. Although You Gonna Die, Fly looks like a children’s book – with the exception of the word “die” in the title and the cig hanging out of Fly’s mouth – there’s drug use, violence, and sexual content that is definitely not appropriate for kids. “Rated RG for Racy Insect Drawings and Gratuitous Profanity.” You’ve been warned.

This is the first time I’ve seen Lawson’s work, but her loveable lil’ characters compliment Massie’s story, and general asthetic, perfectly. You Gonna Die, Fly is a fine representation of the dichotomy of Massie. On one side, she writes some of the most disturbing scenes in horror fiction, but on the other she’s knitting sweaters and scarves in her spare time. There’s a thread of frightening sexual perversity in her stories, but she also draws these adorable pictures of zombie animals. While reading a Massie short story, my mom yelled out “what the hell is wrong with this bitch!?” (“Bitch” meant to be complimentary in regards to Massie’s ability to freak her out, naturally). Massie’s stories may cause readers to question her mental stability, but just like any normal Jane, she can often be found people watching at Starbucks with her buds, or as she likes to call it, The Bux. Even her nickname for Starbucks is cute! I’m guessing that Lawson too is a similar blend of wholesome sweetness and morbidity.

I wouldn’t typically define Massie’s work as “cutesy,” but You Gonna Die, Fly is simply adorable, but with black humor and cursing. Massie has paired her love of pleasant and cute with dark and disturbing before through her zombie art, but the picture-books-for-adults project is the best forum for her to display both sides of her artistic personality. Of course, it’s not all Massie. Perhaps without Lawson’s dream of flying we’d have no Fly at all. I look forward to seeing more of Lawson’s characters and the progression of this Fucked Up Folktales venture.

you gonna die fly illustration

Fly on drugs. Illustrated by Barbara Spilman Lawson

You can snag a copy of Elizabeth Massie & Barbara Spilman Lawson’s You Gonna Die, Fly from Fucked Up Folktales here. And if you enjoy that, be sure to grab a copy of their follow-up, Damn You, Demon. Or you can take advantage of their special holiday deal and get both for $26 with FREE shipping! And they’ll sign them however you wish. Each title is usually $14.50 + $3.50 for shipping so you can’t beat that deal.

Based on Fucked Up Folktales’ Facebook page there is a third book in the works which will be out in the not-so-distant future, so keep an eye on their page here to see what fucked up thing they’ll come up with next!

For more information about Elizabeth Massie’s work past and present visit her website here. To explore more work by Barbara Spilman Lawson you can visit her website Art With A Twist here.

-Meli

Holiday Horror for Kids – Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins

You know…we’re not biased.  We love scary books for any and all holidays.  If there’s a spooky Easter story out there, you can bet you’ll be hearing about it next spring.  If horror reigns anywhere for Mother’s Day, we’ll find it.  If Valentines Day gets scary, or Thanksgiving yields a tale of turkey terror, we will have front row seats.  Count on it.

Where were we going with this?

Oh yeah – it’s Hanukkah right now, which makes it the perfect time to break out this charming picture book!

Hershel, a traveller, walks into a village on the first night of Hanukkah expecting to find a celebration, but the village is dark and quiet.  Goblins haunt the old synagogue and stop all attempts to celebrate the holiday, making the villagers’ lives miserable in the process.  Hershel decides he must help.  Even when he’s told that to stop the goblins he must stay in the old haunted synagogue for eight nights, he’s undaunted.  He must manage to light the Hanukkah candles each night despite the goblins, and on the eighth night the king of the goblins must light them himself.  Nobody expects him to make it back out, but off he goes anyway.  Using his quick wits and cleverness, he manages to outsmart the goblins in a variety of creative ways and get the candles lit each of the first seven nights.  But how will he survive when the powerful goblin king appears on the eighth night, and how could he possibly manage to get the Hanukkah-hating creature to light the candles himself?  Grab a copy and find out how Hershel saves the holiday.

We love a tale where the hero uses his brain to defeat the bad guys (not that there’s anything wrong with plain old butt-kicking), and this book is a great example.  Fun and even a little educational with a supernatural threat to overcome, this Caldecott Honor book is worth a read.  The illustrations by Trina Schart Hyman (A several-time Caldecott winner herself) are atmospheric and generally superb.  We love it.

Happy Hanukkah!

Holiday Horror for Kids – Santa Claws by Laura Leuck

Santa Claws tells the story of Mack and Zack, two monster brothers who are getting ready for Christmas.  This clever rhyming tale takes you on a hilarious voyage, revealing the toys Mack and Zack are looking forward to (including potion kits and vampire bats), describing Santa Claws in all his gruesome glory, and walking you through the grisly monster versions of all your favourite Christmas traditions.  From decorating to caroling to baking, these monsters do it all as they prepare for Santa Claws’ visit.  The story is fantastic and creative, and combined with Gris Grimly’s dark yet somehow adorable illustrations, it’s a real winner.

If anything could push this even higher in our good books, it’s the little details in the book design.  The inner covers are made up like old catalogue pages, featuring products like ‘Green Goo Fangpaste’ and companies such as “Marge’s Vampire Bats’.  The back of our hardcover copy sports a full-page ad for ‘Vampbell’s Garbage Soup’.  The gruesome cuteness adds a whole new layer of awesome to an already great read.

To put it ever so professionally, Santa Claws rocks our socks.  Buy this book.  Buy it now.  It’s rare to find great horror-themed Christmas stuff for kids, and this stunning book is definitely an essential volume for your personal library.  Little monster lovers will be clamoring to hear this every December for years to come!

What Was I Scared Of?

Sometimes as you peruse your bookshelf, you know nothing but a classic will do.  And nothing in the picture book world is more classic than Dr. Seuss!  This lesser-known Suess is tons of fun and a perfect fit for little guys who like a bit of creepiness in their tall tales.  The new glow-in-the-dark edition is extra fun, too!

Walking in the woods one night, the main character of this wacky little volume spies ‘a pair of pale green pants with nobody inside them’.  He’s normally not afraid of anything, but when he starts seeing these spooky empty pants moving about everywhere he goes he becomes terrified of them.  Finally one night he comes face-to-face with the pale green pants and starts screaming and yelling for help.  How will the pants react, and what will become of this unwanted encounter?

This is a cute story with a happy ‘don’t be afraid of something just because it’s different than you’ ending.  The illustrations are classic Seuss with a dark twist.  Almost everything but the main character and the pants is just black line drawing on a green background, lending the book an excellent spooky night-time feel.

Blend the whimsical rhyming genius of Dr. Seuss with a creepy mystery to get to the bottom of and what do you have?  A book that thrills our mini horror-fiends.  Worth a read!

Maritime Monsters by Steve Vernon

For those who are fans of folklore, monsters, or just a good yarn, this picture book is a real treat. Steve Vernon’s wild tales about the monsters of the Maritime region are brought vividly to life by the talented illustrations of Jeff Soloway, creating a lively picture book that kids will love.

With a colourful full-page illustration, imaginative story and loads of factoids for each of the fifteen monsters in the book, you’ll learn more than you even knew was possible about the mythical beasts of the maritimes. From location and diet to a detailed physical description and special advice for monster-hunting, Vernon covers it all.

From ‘Old Hook Snout’ to ‘Sheila the Sea Hag’, this is a great little book. As a set of bedtime tales, entertainment for your little one’s next campfire soiree, or just for fun, you won’t be disappointed!

The Book That Eats People

The Book That Eats People, written by John Perry and illustrated by Mark Fearing

If you decide to take our advice and check out this book, please be careful.  It eats people.  First it ate Sammy Ruskin.  Then it trashed a pile of books and ate a library security guard before disguising itself as a book about dolphins to get a little girl to take it home with her.  Yes…the book ate her too.  AND a group of children who found it in a box in an alley!  So the police put it in jail, where it ate another prisoner.  The book gets sent to the zoo for rehabilitation and they try feeding it all sorts of delicious things, but to no avail.  The book CRAVES people!

Some survival tips for handling this book:
1.  Close it and put heavy things on top if you hear growling and think it’s getting hungry.
2.  Never ever read it alone!
3.  Never read or hold the book while you have food on your hands or in your pockets.
4.  If you hear a noise ‘like an octopus in a tub of yogurt’, the book is starving and you’d better put it near somebody who looks like they might be delicious (every man for himself when it comes to people-eating books, I suppose).

This book is hilariously dark and gruesome, I love it!  It’s awesome for reading out loud, especially if you’re not afraid to rant and rave and carry on (my personal specialty!).  It’s especially fun if the book occasionally jumps off your lap and tries to eat the audience (okay, maybe that would be traumatizing for a more sensitive child, but mine thought it was funny…use good judgment here, folks!).  The art is fantastic and has a dark humour all its own.

I really consider The Book That Eats People a must-have for a children’s horror collection.  Run out and grab a copy!  Just exercise caution – the book is always hungry.

KinderScares’ Halloween Kids Photo Contest – prize post!

Okay folks – we’re seriously loving the entries we’ve gotten so far for the photo contest!  The creepy cuteness abounds!  Keep ’em coming!

(If you’re hearing about this for the first time, check out the contest details here.  Basically, send us a Halloween-themed photo of your kids, or you as a kid.  The contest is open until November 1st, in case y’all get some incredible shots this year that you just have to send in, and winners will be announced November 6th!)

We have three prize packages for the best (best being in this case a highly subjective term meaning ‘whichever really catches our fancy’, haha) three pictures:

The first package consists of 3 kids ebooks by the awesome Scott Nicholson!  We’ll gift you the Kindle editions of Dunkin the Punkin, Too Many Witches, and If I Were Your Monster.  So much fun, and perfect to keep on your e-reader to entertain the kids when you’re stuck in a long line-up or waiting room (ask me how I know…).

The second package contains:
The awesome and inimitable Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich by Adam Rex, one of our all-time favourite picture books
A hilariously awesome piece of art called Bert of the Dead by Terry Marsh (Bert and Ernie surrounded by zombies? We freaking LOVE this!).  We picked up a few prints at FanExpo this year.  It’s signed by the artist.
Little Monsters Cookbook for some Halloween foodie fun!

The third package:
A hardcover copy of Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich
And A Zombie Ate My Cupcake, which is seriously awesome.

 

Keep the pics coming! Happy Halloween weekend everybody!