Reviewed by Elaine Lamkin
Written by Lorin Morgan-Richards
Published by A Raven Above Press
When I received my copy of the charmingly macabre (and completely handmade) book Simon Snootle and Other Small Stories, the first thought that went through my mind was Tim Burton and his The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy as well as Edward Gorey’s The Gashlycrumb Tinies. Burton’s book tells the gruesome tales of lonely, misunderstood children while Gorey’s classic is a lesson in learning one’s ABCs via the strange demises of 26 children.
Morgan-Richards’ beautifully hand-crafted little book also tells strange tales, but her stories are more like those from the Brothers Grimm or Hans Christian Andersen. The title story tells the tale of a young man who has lived most of his life at the bottom of a cistern along with many of the neighborhood cats. He does not see his situation as anything odd because he knows that eventually everything he needs will find its way into the cistern. The other six stories are equally woeful but not necessarily hopeless.
I love this book! The seven stories are all unusual: “The Callous Shrub,” “The Boy Who Loved Beef Sandwiches” and “The Earwig and Mrs. Snipit” are among the other tales told. And the little book (4-1/2″ by 5-1/2″) is a lovely little treasure. Morgan-Richards writes, illustrates, drafts, prints, binds and presses each book by hand, making each book slightly different from the other.
This is truly a collector’s item and one fans of Gorey and Burton will thoroughly enjoy.
4 out of 5
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