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Once Upon A Bookshelf

Where Fiction and Reality Meet

Highly Inappropriate Tales for Young People

Author: Douglas Coupland
Illustrated by: Graham Roumieu
Originally Published: 2011
Publisher: Random House Canada
Source: Purchased

The Story

Highly Inappropriate Tales for Young PeopleFrom the back of the book:

Seven pants-peeingly funny stories featuring seven evil characters you can’t help but love. This cast of miscreants unleashes their dark, unruly and antisocial desires on every page.

Douglas Coupland’s stories are illustrated with dark charm by Graham Roumieu in a collaboration that brings together two of Canada’s wittiest creators for the first time. Put our therapist on speed dial and read with pleasure.

The Response

Picked this one up on a whim, because quite frankly it looked hilarious. And it really, REALLY is.

There are seven stories in this small collection, each of which tells a rather disturbing story ranging – from a juice box that kills other juice boxes, to an undead substitute teacher who eats students, to an action figure with PTSD. Absolutely hilarious.

I really don’t know how Coupland and Roumieu came up with it, but these stories are both completely original and brilliant. While the stories do have the structure that you would expect from a children’s story, and all center around children or teens, these are definitely geared towards adults. They have a very dark sense of humour that wouldn’t necessarily be fully appreciated by younger readers (and is, I am sure, something that some parents wouldn’t want their kids to be exposed to).

I’ve never been exposed to Roumieu’s artwork before, and I have to say that it’s all quite lovely, in a rather dark and disturbing way. The collection quite honestly wouldn’t have been nearly as good without Roumieu’s illustrations to really create and enhance the atmosphere that was being brought across through Coupland’s writing. In fact, I would say that they are my favourite parts about this book – oh, they DO make me laugh so much.

As far as the stories go, there are some that I did enjoy more than others – “Sandra, the Truly Dreadful Babysitter” and “Mr. Fraser, the Undead Substitute Teacher” were my favourites. Especially the one about Sandra – she is a horrid babysitter who set a kid’s house on fire, made her charges shoplift and left a kid in the middle of a dark graveyard. Awesome.

There was only one story that I felt fell a little bit flat – “Cindy, the Terrible Role Model.” While the other characters in the other stories were amusing in their evilness, Cindy just seemed extremely malicious for the full story, which took away from the humour that could’ve been there.

The Bottom Line

Overall, these are seven absolutely hilarious tales. Highly recommended.

Posted by Courtney Wilson @ 8:00 am September 18, 2013.
Category: Fiction and Literature
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