Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Seven "Strange" Books for Kids

The March/April special issue of the Horn Book is called "Different Drummers," and it features books outside the scope of mainstream literature. In the issue the editors asked leading kidlit authorities: "What's the strangest children's book you've ever enjoyed?" The answers were fun to read and got me thinking about my own choices. Here, in no particular order, are seven of the strangest children's books I've ever read. What are yours?

1. Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
It's easy to forget just how strange this classic is, especially if you rely on the cutesy Disney version.

2. The Lonely Doll by Dare Wright
According to a recent bio, Dare Wright was a bit kinky. Well, it spilled right over into this odd book about a doll and her relationship with two stuffed teddy bears.

3. The Tale of Samuel Whiskers by Beatrice Potter
Rats tie up a kitten and roll him into dough to bake in a pie! Read the reviews on Goodreads to see how many readers were traumatized by this book as children.

4. The Shrinking of Treehorn by Florence Parry Heide
Edward Gorey's illustrations add to this story's strange charm about a little boy whose shrinking goes unnoticed by the grown-ups around him.

5. Slugs by David Greenberg
This little known gem features poems about people torturing slugs--eating them, dissecting them, even carving them into pumpkins. In the end, slugs get their revenge on all this mistreatment. Victoria Chess's hilariously disturbing illustrations make the book.

6. Duck, Death, and the Tulip by Wolf Erlbruch
I've written about this exceptional picture book before. Its one of the more unusual, yet ultimately moving, books about death you'll ever read.

7. Oddballs by William Sleator
Really, pretty much all of Sleator's books are strange. If you don't believe me, read Among the Dolls. Unlike his others, though, this one's a memoir. Sleator's unconventional upbringing definitely shaped his future work. As a bonus, this book is laugh aloud funny.

1 comment:

  1. Just thinking about The Giving Tree the other day. Strangely awful, though some people love it.