I admit: The Dangerous Alphabet by Neil Gaiman is the first Neil Gaiman book I’ve read. And it is a clever one. While it’s clearly a children’s book, it has an element of spookiness to it and somber, spidery illustrations that make it just right for adults too.
The illustrations by Gris Grimly are not my normal preference. I tend to like more realistic illustration and these are fantastical, angled illustrations. But they were just right for this story. Nothing else would fit with this “piratical ghost story.”
I read The Dangerous Alphabet a few times before I got it. Why? Because I read it in between A to Z and In Between and Dr. Seuss’s ABC. The Dangerous Alphabet is not your average alphabet book. It fits somewhere in between the “Critical-Thinking Abecedaria” and the “Alphabet Storybooks” categories I discussed yesterday. The reader must think in a number of different ways as he or she reads.
First, as the foreword warns, the alphabet in this book “is not to be relied upon.” (For example, “C is the way that we find and we look,” an example of the play on words that makes this so delightful to the English major type in me.) There are a number of other “problems,” too.
Second, The Dangerous Alphabet is a definitive picture book: you must read the illustrations along with the text in order to follow the story. It is “spooky” and could “spook” children, but for one who doesn’t like Halloween because of the spookiness, I have to say this was alright with me.
The rest of you Neil Gaiman fans will love it, I’m sure.
So, for one who doesn’t usually read “spooky” stories, what Neil Gaiman do you recommend I read next?
I don’t normally like Halloween (because, as I’ve said before, I don’t like being “spooked”). But this year I’ve been reading some gothic literature and finding it delightfully not too scary for me. Here are some stories and a nonfiction book I’ve reviewed on Rebecca Reads that you also may enjoy:
- Edgar Allan Poe’s short stories
- Washington Irving’s short stories
- Select Guy de Maupassant stories (“The Horla,” “Was it a Dream?”, and “Who Knows?”)
- Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short stories
- Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach
I’m a fairly new blogger, so I don’t have many reviews. But, thankfully, Becky recently hosted a Bookworms Carnival featuring Gothic literature, where you can find links to many more spooky books!
For the rest of October, I’ll donate 10 cents to World Food Programme for every (non-spam) comment I receive on any post of Rebecca Reads. See most post on Blog Action Day 2008 here. I’m also donating any proceeds (4%) from my Amazon Store.