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The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other Stories

The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other Stories


By: Tim Burton 
Publisher: HarperEntertainment 
Date: October 2005 
ISBN: 978-0060526498 
Reviewed by: Ellen Feld 
Review Date: January 2009 

Bizarre, strange, dark, nonsensical, and just plain weird; these are words often used to describe the mind of Tim Burton, one of the country’s best-known filmmakers. Burton is also the author of several books, including the much loved The Nightmare Before Christmas, a book that was developed into a movie and became a cult classic, and The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other Stories, a truly odd yet surprisingly funny book of poems/short stories. For fans of Burton, this is one book that doesn’t disappoint. The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other Stories is, as the title implies, a book of numerous short stories. Each one is quite brief, typically just a page or two, and all are written in the form of poems. Each story is illustrated with simple stick figures or very simplistic drawings that a child might create and they capture the essence of each story perfectly. Some stories may leave you scratching your head and wondering, while others are laugh-out-loud funny. An example of the former might be The Girl with Many Eyes:

One day in the park
I had quite a surprise.
I met a girl 
Who had many eyes.

She was really quite pretty
(and also quite shocking!)
and I noticed she had a mouth,
so we ended up talking.

We talked about flowers,
And her poetry classes,
And the problems she’d have
If she ever wore glasses.

It’s great to know a girl
Who has so many eyes
But you really get wet
When she breaks down and cries.

Melonhead, on the other hand, would most likely elicit a reaction of ‘eww’ while also causing a laugh:

There once was a morose melonhead,
Who sat there all day
And wished he were dead.

But you should be careful
About the things that you wish.
Because the last thing he heard
Was a deafening squish.

Quill says: A truly bizarre, yet funny, collection of short stories sure to please Burton’s many fans.

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