Monday, August 31, 2009

Gruesome indeed!

The Brothers Gruesome

This gruesome story contains little to recommend it. One illustration depicts a grim brother toothily hanging on to a runaway pig in a position that looks nearly coital. Later the same pig is seen determinedly marching away with a neat portion cut out of his shoulder and a large knife tidily stuck in his haunch as one of the three monsters gleefully tracks him.

Although the illustrator's wife, Susan Elgar is the writer of this story, Drahos Zak is given top billing and holds the copyright to the work. Truly, this is a book designed for adults with a macabre sense of humor and an appreciation for meticulously detailed artwork. More than one author has complained about how adults often search (perhaps unwisely) for moral lessons in children's books, and while this book does speak to the perils of greed, it may be easier to see it as a whimsical indulgence on the part of the artist.

With its rough-hewn, stilted rhyming couplets, one wonders if this import may have lost something in the translation (it has the odd humored feel of the Eastern European) - until one realizes that the book is in fact, from Australia. This book may offer some titillating excitement for stout at heart youngsters in search of earthy humor. Keep the book away from younger children however, lest nightmares ensue. I give it 3 stars, as I predict readers will either love it, or hate it. It's out of print, so look for it in your local library.

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