Friday, October 10, 2014


In the beginning of the article Maria Popova claims that Gorey's alphabet book "The Gashlycrumb Tinies" inspired kids to learn and took a genre to a new level.  I only wish this kind of thing made it to my school because I'm sure I'm not the only one who could have used the laugh or a little change of pace.  While it is a little grim, I bet the kids found humor in other things in the works and that helped make it acceptable.  there should probably be more strategies like this used considering it actually made kids enjoy learning.
He uses dark humor the whole way through the work, by showing kids fall down steps or get thrown out of a sleigh.  Kids reading this can relate to that because surely most of them have had both happen to them,  All of the ideas he uses for each letter are closely related to common accidents that happen to kids, and kids will laugh at anything, especially accidents.  It is part of their innocence. The visual technique he used put me off at first, but later I enjoyed it because the shading and coloring he used kept it in a dark mood, so that it was a little spooky, but there is still humor to be found in the situations for each letter. I really liked this piece because it said the kids enjoyed it and it is not a traditional way of teaching. I don't have kids so I don't have an answer, but for people who do have kids, would this be something your kids would enjoy? 


  1. I agree with you that I wish this was around when I was that age, but I guarantee that my parents wouldn't want me reading it, that for sure. Now that I have kids, I can see where my parents was coming from. I wouldn't want my kids learning from this myself, I would be afraid that they would try some of the things depicted.

  2. My nieces love books like this, I read them Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark and the oldest is in second grade and just began reading A Series of Unfortunate Events, a child after her aunts heart. We like creepy though, they've never really been fearful children. They love Monster High, the Corpse Bride and tattoos, they're all obsessed with tattoos which isn't shocking since their parents and aunts and uncles all have at least two of their own. So they don't really see the world through rose colored glasses. I read them a poem the other day by Shel Silverstein where anyone that looked at the picture supposedly died and Peyton (4) started laughing because she understood it wasn't meant to be silly and that yes it was dark humor but a child still sees the humor and they enjoy that part. She didn't immediately cower in fear for her life. I think it's contingent on the parent but my parent encouraged me to read anything and everything that I liked I'll admit my mom cringed at the cover of the 8th Lemony Snicket book entitled the Hostile Hospital but she knew I loved to read and bought it for my anyways. And I'm thankful to have had such an open minded parent.

  3. Landon,
    Popova does not say this piece "inspired kids to learn." She this is what alphabet books traditionally do, but Gorey uses this form differently...