Monday 28 July 2008

Edward Gorey Bonanza Part 3

Goreypalooza continues! This time it's a selection of his covers for children's books. And if, by the way, you're not sure what this Gorey-love is all about, you should read his The Gashlycrumb Tinies, one of his nastily funny versions of a children's ABC book. Full online versions of presumably dubious legality, copyright-wise, are here and here. The latter site is Argentinean, and provides a handy Spanish translation. You never know when you might need to know the phrase, "Z es por Zillah que bebió mucho Gin."

A writer whose own outlook on the world seems appropriately close to Gorey's is Joan Aiken, of The Wolves of Willoughby Chase fame.

A writer I don't know is John Bellairs. His Wikipedia entry has me intrigued, however, and his Dickens- and M. R. James-influenced fantasy/horror/adventure stories seem to have provided Gorey with plenty of alarming characters to draw.

On a lighter note, there are his covers for Mary Rodgers (best known for the multiply-filmed Freaky Friday) and John Ciardi.

The cover blurb for the first of these two Florence Parry Heide books ('Something very strange was happening.') would be the perfect summary of almost every bit of Gorey's work.

The combination of Muriel Spark and Edward Gorey also seems a perfect one: it would have been great if he could have illustrated the jackets of some of her adult novels.

There are many, many more Gorey-illustrated children's books: the man was frighteningly proficient. Here are just a few of them.

Next, in the penultimate of these Gorey posts, a marathon sprint through a random selection of his other covers for other people. Then, in part five, a look at Gorey's covers for his own books.


That Hank said...

Bellairs was one of my favorites as a kid. Very dark and creepy in a very Gorey way, really.

Anonymous said...

A fine collection - thanks very much for posting. I'm always on the hunt for great children's books and have recently discovered Bayard and their series of StoryBoxBooks, AdventureBoxBooks and DiscoveryBoxBooks (which is a special Olympic edition) They have work by acclaimed children's books illustrator Helen Oxenbury appearing in the Storybox series for September. In addition to this, they also have some great activities for rainy days:,, Enjoy!

JRSM said...

Yes, Bellairs is definitely someone I must investigate.

Jenn said...

when i saw the other gorey covers yesterday, i was hoping that some of the bellairs would make an appearance. love those books!

JRSM said...

Yes--in fact, I've since found even more of them. They're great.