Your Skeleton is Showing: Rhymes of Blunder From Six Feet Underby Kurt Cyrus, Crab Scrambly
The spectacular rhymes of Kurt Cyrus, paired with the deliciously grim illustrations of Crab Scrambly, take readers on an adventure through the friendliest and wackiest graveyard you'll ever find! This collection of dead-pan poems is sure to be a perennial favorite and is the perfect off-beat introduction to poetry. See more details below
The spectacular rhymes of Kurt Cyrus, paired with the deliciously grim illustrations of Crab Scrambly, take readers on an adventure through the friendliest and wackiest graveyard you'll ever find! This collection of dead-pan poems is sure to be a perennial favorite and is the perfect off-beat introduction to poetry.
A boy with ruby locks tours a graveyard, glimpsing the sinister circumstances behind each resident's death. Pictures and poems don't beat around the gravestone: "Freddie picked his nose and now he's dead, dead, dead./ He picked and picked and picked until it bled, bled, bled." The death of a character from a familiar rhyme is unveiled with acerbic humor: "Hoofprints. Feathers. Piles of dung!/ Who is laid below?/ Mysterious letters mark the stone:/ EIEIO." Both Cyrus's cerebral verses and Scrambly's wide-eyed cadavers have a bit of an Edward Gorey meets Shel Silverstein vibe. Readers who prefer scary costumes should welcome this grisly portrait of strange (and eternal) bedfellows. Ages 3 7.—PW
Cyrus pens a collection sure to make the most poetry-averse at least smile if not laugh out loud. A redheaded boy walks through a graveyard pondering the stories of those whose gravestones he passes. A lost ghost dog accompanies him. Each droll poem has an element of the absurd, ludicrous or revolting. Whether the rhyming verse describes a skeleton obsessed with flossing his every bone or chants about Freddie, who picked his nose so much he died, Scrambly cleverly illustrates each unfortunate specter with a style reminiscent of Edward Gorey's. The backgrounds have a textured look that set off what looks like pen-and-ink drawings with mostly white fill. In the case of "McBuck Buck," the blue-gray wash of color represents "a pool of community drool." Even a familiar childhood rhyme provides inspiration: "Hoofprints. Feathers. Piles of dung! / Who is laid below? / Mysterious letters mark the stone: / EIEIO." As the two wander, it is clear that the ghost pup and narrator are not terribly compatible. Eventually, they come across ghostly Ophelia Heft, who beckons to her dog from the clouds. By the book's conclusion, though, the boy finds a new canine companion, orphaned when venal Mrs. McBride passed on. The author's sly humor coupled with the illustrator's whimsically dark details will surely have primary-grade readers cackling. (Picture book/poetry. 5-8)—Kirkus
Gr 4-6 Macabre silliness to the max. A young narrator facilitates a reunion between a lost dog and his owner by searching a graveyard. As he looks from tombstone to tombstone for the ghost dog's master, readers learn the details of each person's life and death in a rhyming poem. They serve as a warning for those who don't care for their health or behave properly. Thumb suckers, nose pickers, and people who never floss their teeth are in for a ghastly demise. These characters have funny names, round bodies, and oversize eyes. Touches of red and yellow appear sporadically in the line drawings. Cyrus's poems are abundant in exaggeration and goofiness. About Mary Lou Smith, who died from choking on milk, he writes, "Everyone blows past their ears and nose./But never blow pasteurize." Death is not the end in this world though. Life continues, together, for owner and her pet, shown hugging at the top of the page in a cloud. Unusual, but fun. Tanya Boudreau, Cold Lake Public Library, AB, Canada—SLJ
A child helps a lost ghost dog in a graveyard "ventur[e] through the gloom / to try to find his master's tomb." As the twosome passes headstones, readers learn something about each grave-dweller's demise (self-inflicted or accidental), the mourners they left behind, or the deceased's afterlife. Black-and-white gothic-style illustrations, enhanced by pops of color and buoyed by characters' cartoonish features, complement the dead-on pacing, tone, and content of these ghoulish yet funny rhyming poems. The dog reunites with its master while the child finds a new (living) canine companion in the spirited collection's satisfying conclusion. CYNTHIA K. RITTER—Horn Book
The story of a lost ghostly dog provides a running thread in this collection of twenty-eight compact and amusingly ghastly poems. Our speaker, a living boy, is trying to help the ghost dog reunite with his master, so he's searching through the memorials to Wanda Gripp (a hugger who died when an anaconda hugged back), Baxter Blink (a guy who died of embarrassment after a public fart), Stubby Flub (an erring fashionista who tripped over his baggy pants), and others to find the dog's owner. The rhyming verses, which range from brief couplets to longer collections of stanzas, include Struwwelpeter-esque cautionary stories (Freddie Diggs "picked his nose and now he's dead, dead, dead"), jokey fates (Bud Pugsley, who was suffocated by his hat, was a "lowbrow"), and some imaginative weirdness (Mo Gringott was so freaked out by his skeleton that he pulled it out of himself). There's both technical solidity and conceptual appeal in the goofily morbid verse, and Scrambly's art recalls Schindler's work in Johnston's The Ghost of Nicholas Greebe (BCCB 10/96); though digital, its reliance on dark engraving-style linework with touches of pale, cool tones is appropriately funereal and old-fashioned. The absurdly horrific scenes beam with contemporary robustness, so cartoonish joy carries the day. There are great possibilities here for reading aloud and performance, as well as just supplying some satisfying Halloween material for kids looking for something more sophisticated than simply celebratory. DS—BCCB
- Disney Press
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 8.80(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.40(d)
- Age Range:
- 3 - 7 Years
Meet the Author
Kurt Cyrus has written and illustrated numerous picture books, including Tadpole Rex and its companion The Voyage of Turtle Rex. He has illustrated books by other writers as well, such as The Bones of Fred McFee by Eve Bunting, Mammoths on the Move by Lisa Wheeler, and the Pals in Peril series by M. T. Anderson. He lives in Cottage Grove, Oregon. Visit him at www.kurtcyrus.com.
Crab Scrambly's art appears in several books, as well as on T-shirts and album covers. This is his debut picture book. Find him on the web at www.crabscrambly.com.
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