The Strange & Unusual

The Gashlycrumb Tinies: the Edward Gorey Alphabet Book

edward-gorey-gashlycrumb-tinies-coverjpgI’ve been wanting to own this book for a while now having seen it in a few bookstores in NYC. Not sure why I haven’t bought it yet, but the shelf space is still there waiting to inhabit it. I heard of Edward Gorey before but thanks to John Charet of Cinematic Coffee recommendation based on my Lois Hannah post, I was further introduced to this grimly polarized artist of his century. This notable book for children The Gashlycrumb Tinies teaches the alphabet in a most macabre and memorable way, so no one can claim it defeats its purpose when it comes to learning. We get to experience the ABC slightly different from how it’s taught in the everyday school book as the book includes darker and humoristic illustrations of children in extremely unfortunate situations.





And so on and so forth.

Part Edgar Allan Poe and part Tim Burton, Edward Gorey (1925-2000) is also a devotee of macabre humor, surrealism, and nonsense verse employing string elements of rhythm and rhyme. His books and illustrations depict the ill-fated and whimsical in beautiful crosshatched drawings, especially in The Gashlycrumb Tinies where all children meet their doomed ending, but for the sake of good order, they drop like dominos alphabetically. The name picking and rhymes of the children’s misfortune are so playful and well thought of they’ll probably make the dullest of men put on a little grin.

Gorey wrote several books under the pen name Ogdred Weary which is an anagram of his name. The Curious Sofa: A Pornographic Work by Ogdred Weary was one of them. A delightful mock-pornography for mischievous children with no actual nudity but overtly sexual suggestions and one sofa.


Gorey also wrote and illustrated a short book which I look forward to reading called  The Doubtful Guest starring a stubborn penguin who shows up unanounced in a Victorian mansion and has no intention of ever leaving.


Hilarious and a fun read as always Gorey’s shameless creations are diverse, twisted, and a must-have in every bookshelf of a slightly twisted individual.

Gorey’s mostly known for his crosshatched art and surrealist creations. He’s a literary joker who experimented with nonsense, madness, and illogic as he saw fit which resulted in unnerving and unexpected art. I’m about to become a proud collector of his illustrations. Whichever I can get my hands on and hopefully will pass them on to my kids and hopefully they’ll understand and be cool kids.

6 thoughts on “The Gashlycrumb Tinies: the Edward Gorey Alphabet Book

  1. Great post 🙂 Thank you for citing me as well 🙂 I hope you enjoyed your first experiences in regards to the art and works of Edward Gorey. You are so on-target when you say that he is part Edgar Allan Poe and part Tim Burton. I am also glad that you loved Gorey’s delightfully grotesque parody of the alphabet 🙂 Anyway, keep up the great work as always 🙂

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