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Odd/Creepy Picture Books

November 6, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

Compiled suggestions from goodnightmoon, November 2012.

Beck, Carolyn. The Waiting Dog (Kids Can Press 2003)
Man’s best friend indulges in a canine’s ultimate fantasy. This unique tale invites readers to share in a dog’s intimate thoughts as it eagerly anticipates the delivery of the daily mail — and it’s not the letters this dog is interested in!
A dog devours the mail carrier – it’s quite gruesome!” ~ Linda Williams

Belloc, Hilaire. Jim, Who Ran Away From His Nurse, and Was Eaten by a Lion: A Cautionary Tale (Little, Brown 1987)
Describes the terrible fate that befell a disobedient little boy at the zoo.
The title gives you a good idea of the “plot,” which involves a small boy letting go of his nurse’s hand at the zoo and being eaten from the feet up. There is an illustration of his severed head with x’d eyes, and his mother says “Well – it gives me no surprise, he would not do as he was told!”” ~ Amy Sindel

Bee, William. Whatever (Candlewick 2005)
Billy, unimpressed with everything his father does with him, always responds “whatever,” until the world’s “hungriest” tiger comes along and gets his attention.
Sort of the anti-RUNAWAY BUNNY! 🙂” ~ Kathy Jarombek

Brown, Margaret Wise. The Dead Bird (W. R. Scott 1958)
When they find a dead bird, a group of children bury it in the woods, sing a song to it, and put flowers on the grave.
“[It] gives me the shivers. A couple of children encounter the body of a dead bird. They pick it up and put it near their faces.” ~ Kristin Raiche

Bunting, Eve. Swan in Love (Atheneum 2000)
Despite the ridicule of the other animals, Swan persists in his adoration for a swan-shaped boat named Dora.
Swan falls in love with a wooden swan boat; it was especially strange as swans mate for life and all the other animals seem to know that the wooden swan isn’t a good mate.”~ Marla Martin

Crew, Gary. The Watertower (Crocodile Books 1998)
On a scorching hot summer day in Preston, Australia, Spike and Bubba go for a swim in the old water tower which casts a long dark shadow across everything in the area.
~ Linda Williams

Elgar, Susan. The Brothers Gruesome (Houghton Mifflin 2000)
Three horrible and hungry brothers eat everything in their path, including their mother, the bath, animals, and gardens, until they meet something even bigger, hungrier, and hairier than they are.
Can’t beat a rhyming picture book that includes matricide!!!!!” ~ Deborah White

Gauch, Patricia Lee. The Knitting of Elizabeth Amelia (Henry Holt 2009)
Elizabeth Amelia, a knitted wool woman, marries and begins to knit children from strands of herself until she almost disappears.
It is about a knitted baby that grows up and marries, and knits children from herself. Then she knits other things from them until she turns into a pillow! I’m not kidding.” ~ Mary Parmelee

Hines, Anna Grossnicle. Mean Old Uncle Jack (Clarion 1990)
Uncle Jack loves to tease the kids with scary mean faces and growly mean noises, but one day his nieces and nephews turn the tables on him.
Uncle Jack enjoys teasing and scaring kids.” ~ Susan Rooney

Hold, Stian. Garmann’s Street (Eerdmans 2010)
After succumbing to peer pressure from a bully, an unusual friendship between Garmann and the Stamp Man arises out of a near-disaster.
Deliciously weird and slightly creepy.” ~ Lynne Perrigo

Howe, James. Otter and Odder (Candlewick 2012)
When Otter falls in love with his food source, a fish named Myrtle, he must decide whether to follow the way of the otter or the way of his heart.
It is the story of an otter who falls in love with his food source – a fish named Mrytle. It came out this year and got a starred review from SLJ. Like Love You Forever, it is meant to be a love story, but it is seriously creepy.” ~ Martha Simpson

Munsch, Robert. Love You Forever (Firefly 1986)
Describes the relationship of a mother and child as the child grows into a man and has a baby of his own.
My mom bought me Love You Forever when my son was born, and I thought it was super cute… until Mom climbed through the window to rock her adult son. A popular book, and yet many laugh and find that page strange!” ~ Ericka Bajrami
She’s stalking her own son! And the fact that she has a truck and a ladder at her disposal for breaking and entering is even weirder.” ~ Kate McCarthy Bond

Raschka, Chris. Arlene Sardine (Orchard 1998)
Follows the short life of Arlene, from brisling to canned sardine.
~ Linda Williams

Ross, Tony. Tadpole’s Promise (Atheneum 2005)
When a caterpillar meets her perfect love, a tadpole, she begs him never to change, but their relationship is doomed.
~ Linda Williams

Sendak, Maurice. Outside Over There (Harper & Row 1981)
With Papa off to sea and Mama despondent, Ida must go outside over there to rescue her baby sister from goblins who steal her to be a goblin’s bride.
I’m sorry, even if it IS a Caldecott winner, it still gives me the creeps!!!” ~ Sara Lo Presti
Sendak… talks about how [this book] stemmed from the intense anxiety he had as a child after seeing a picture of the corpse of the Lindbergh baby… I thought I’d share since it adds another layer of creepiness :-)” ~ Megan Quiqley

Tiller, Steve. Henry Hump: Born to Fly (MichaelsMind 2002)
Henry suspects that there is more to life than crunching green plants, but worries when he sees other caterpillars disappearing into cocoons. When they emerge as a butterfly or moth he comes to realize the unique qualities of each of his friends and looks forward to the time when he will be able to fly.
Gag-inducing…” ~ Bina Williams

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