Dillweed's Revenge: A Deadly Dose of Magic

Overview

Dillweed’s parents go on adventures and leave him behind with Umblud the butler and Perfidia the maid, who treat him like their slave. Neither Umblud or Perfidia or the parents appreciate Dillweed’s cherished pet, a creature named Skorped. When they threaten Skorped’s life and well-being, Dillweed opens his black box and casts the runes, which releases smoky monsters, who do the dirty deeds. And then it’s Dillweed turn to go on adventures.

Filled with nasty characters, beautiful...

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0152063943 9780152063948

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Overview

Dillweed’s parents go on adventures and leave him behind with Umblud the butler and Perfidia the maid, who treat him like their slave. Neither Umblud or Perfidia or the parents appreciate Dillweed’s cherished pet, a creature named Skorped. When they threaten Skorped’s life and well-being, Dillweed opens his black box and casts the runes, which releases smoky monsters, who do the dirty deeds. And then it’s Dillweed turn to go on adventures.

Filled with nasty characters, beautiful details, and subtle humor, this stylish book follows in the tradition of the deliciously dark work of Edward Gorey, so Dillweed's happy ending undoubtedly means the end for someone else.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Like Dillweed, Heide and Ellis have worked a little black magic. Together, they've conjured up a delightful tale of revenge. And empowerment. As wickedly fun as Gorey, Dahl, or Belloc"—Lane Smith

"The story is unnerving, the characters are unpleasant, and the artwork is unsettling. I am going to read this book again and again."—Lemony Snicket 

"Well-deserved woe unto adults who do Dillweed wrong!...His parents are off voyaging, and he's poetically jealous: 'Dillweed liked to go places. He liked to have adventures. He liked to have a good time. His parents went places. His parents had adventures. His parents had a good time. The parents. Not Dillweed'...Good, macabre fun."—Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"Carson Ellis, with her signature palate and line character, has created an utterly charming set of illustrations for this remarkable book."—The Huffington Post

"Young lovers of Gaiman and Gorey will relish the gruesome fun of this parental cautionary tale."—The Bulletin

Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Poor Dillweed. He would like to have adventurous good times as his parents do. But he and his odd pet friend Skorped are left behind at home. There Umblud and Perfidia, who are supposed to take care of him, have their own good time as they make him do all the work. Tired of this, Dillweed decides to do something. From under his bed he takes and opens a strange box, one that we noted arriving on the title page. Shadowy figures emerge. Perfidia has decided to get rid of Skorped. But both she and Umblud, "assisted" by the strange shadows, make "foolish mistakes," leaving Dillweed and Skorped alone and happy. When his parents return and seem determined to get rid of Skorped, the shadows make it possible for Dillweed and Skorped to truly live "happily ever after." Gorey-like engaging, stylized colored ink and gouache illustrations of the characters and objects, mainly set against the white pages, illuminate the terse, tongue-in-cheek text. Although the format is more chapter book than picture book, with amusing contrast of jacket and cover, the visual tale elaborates the brief, hand-lettered lines with dark comedy. For example, Umblud's "foolish mistake" is illustrated with a picture of him as he pours poison into his glass. Wicked fun indeed. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
Gr 2–5—When his oblivious parents depart for adventures, young Dillweed is left in the care of two servants who drink, party, and make him do constant chores. The narrator's wry tone makes it clear that the boy will not accept this situation forever, and his revenge is delightfully macabre. He unleashes a team of shadowy monsters who dispose of both butler and maid, and "Dillweed and Skorped," his dragon-ish pet, "were happy." The black humor turns even darker when the parents return and decide to get rid of the pet, then promptly meet the same fate as the servants. Readers leave boy and creature enjoying a cruise and living "happily ever after. Dillweed and Skorped, not the parents." The restrained satiric voice sets the tone, slyly preparing readers for Dillweed's revenge. Terse sentences and repeated refrains inject humor while leaving room for the playful ink and gouache illustrations, which recall Edward Gorey's work, to fill in the details. Pictures, not words, reveal the magic stone that Dillweed uses, for example, as well as the monsters he calls forth. One especially funny spread shows the luggage of the returning parents being carried in, just as a servant's coffin is being carried out. The mixture of humor and gruesomeness may offend some, but for fans of Roald Dahl, Lemony Snicket, or Hilaire Belloc, it's right on target.—Steven Engelfried, Wilsonville Public Library, OR
Kirkus Reviews

Well-deserved woe unto adults who do Dillweed wrong! His parents are off voyaging, and he's poetically jealous: "Dillweed liked to go places. He liked to have adventures. He liked to have a good time. His parents went places. His parents had adventures. His parents had a good time. The parents. Not Dillweed." Using ink and gouache, Ellis paints the minimalist gothic mansion in low-intensity rust, brown and gray; adorable pet reptile Skorped is a refreshing pale blue. Garishly distorted bodies and faces reveal the odiousness in nasty servants Umblud and Perfidia and their guests. Heide and her family's text is elegantly understated: "Dillweed did something"--the illustrations show that Dillweed conjures gray ghouls; "Umblud made a foolish mistake"--Umblud drinks lethal poison that Perfidia meant for Skorped; "Perfidia made a foolish mistake"--Perfidia gets crushed under a wardrobe by a gray ghoul. Even subtler is Dillweed's revenge against Skorped's next attackers. Dillweed and Skorped "wished the parents would go away," and lickety-split, a black wreath adorns the manor's door while boy and pet depart for their long-denied adventures. Good, macabre fun. (Picture book. 9 & up)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780152063948
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 9/6/2010
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Pages: 48
  • Age range: 10 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: 200L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.60 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Florence Parry Heide is an award-winning author of more than a hundred children's books, including the Treehorn series, illustrated by Edward Gorey, and Princess Hyacinth (The Surprising Tale of a Girl Who Floated), illustrated by Lane Smith. She lives in Kenosha, Wisconsin.


Carson Ellis has illustrated such books as The Composer is Dead by Lemony Snicket and The Beautiful Stories of Life: Six Greek Myths, Retold by Cynthia Rylant. She’s also done many promotional illustrations for the band the Decemberists. She lives in Portland, Oregon. www.carsonellis.com

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