Poison Diaries

Overview

This truly gothic tale-a "facsimile" of Weed's journal found at Alnwick Castle, in England-is not only a story of the battle between good and evil, but an educational parable of the curative and lethal properties of plants.

Weed-an orphan boy who apprentices with an evil old apothecary-is both used and abused. His journal is part botanical workbook and part diary of his own...
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Overview

This truly gothic tale-a "facsimile" of Weed's journal found at Alnwick Castle, in England-is not only a story of the battle between good and evil, but an educational parable of the curative and lethal properties of plants.

Weed-an orphan boy who apprentices with an evil old apothecary-is both used and abused. His journal is part botanical workbook and part diary of his own relationship with poisonous plants.

Weed discovers that he is one of the few people whom the plants talk to, and they try to persuade him that, with their help, his master can easily be disposed of. Although he refuses at first, after Weed's first love, Marigold, experiments with the poisons and dies, he is pushed over the edge and plots to kill his master with a taste of his own evil medicine.

Each chapter of the story begins with Weed's botanical notes: a plant's appearance and properties, where it is found, how it should be cared for, the most poisonous parts, and how poison is extracted and administered. Accompanied by Weed's sketches of the plants in their natural form, his diary also reveals the "real" personalities of the plants.
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Editorial Reviews

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The Barnes & Noble Review
Aesop's Fables meets Roger Corman's Little Shop of Horrors in The Poison Diaries, a decidedly dark parable about an evil apothecary and his ill-treated apprentice that features brilliantly macabre illustrations by acclaimed Disney artist and designer Colin Stimpson.

Weed is an orphan who is taken in by a sadistic apothecary, known only as the master, and proves to be a promising apprentice with a natural ability for the craft. Eventually, Weed's master takes him to a secret walled garden containing some of the most dangerous poisonous plants in the world. In later solitary visits to the garden, however, Weed realizes that the vegetation can communicate with him, and as he learns more about each individual plant, he also discovers precisely how the utilization of each plant's poison can gruesomely put an end to someone's life. The tremendous danger surrounding Weed's education in poisons is tragically underscored when his girlfriend, Marigold, after listening to Weed's far-from-expert instructions, experiments with belladonna and dies. Overwhelmed with grief, Weed blames his master for the death and, finally taking the advice of all the plants in the secret garden, prepares to enact vengeance…

Including incredibly detailed illustrations (à la National Audubon Society field guides) of a variety of poisonous plants -- belladonna, ricin, mandrake, hemlock, ergot, et al. -- The Poison Diaries is equal parts nightmarish fable, instructive botanical guide, and not-so-subtle cautionary tale. Fans of illustrated works like Brom's The Plucker will absolutely cherish this twisted and toxic tale. Paul Goat Allen
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780810993143
  • Publisher: Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/1/2007
  • Pages: 80
  • Product dimensions: 9.50 (w) x 10.37 (h) x 0.62 (d)

Meet the Author

Jane, Duchess of Northumberland has long researched poison gardens. She is responsible for creating the Poison Garden at Alnwick Gardens in England, which opened in 2004 to worldwide acclaim. The Poison Garden is the culmination of her life's goal to teach children and adults alike the curative and lethal properties of poisonous plants.

Colin Stimpson worked as an animator at Steven Spielberg's Amblimation studio in London and then at Disney Feature Animation in California.

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