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I am a fan of Tim Burton's older stuff and I bought this book a while ago from HMV for the bargain price of £3.
The book is short and sweet, filled with 23 poems, verse and short stories written and illustrated by Tim Burton. If you love Tim Burton's older stuff such as Nightmare Before Christmas, Vincent, Edward Scissorhands and Beetlejuice etc then you will definitely love this. The book has a eerie feel to it, featuring characters such as Stain Boy, The boy with nails in his eyes, and one of my favourites - the pincushion queen. All the characters seem to have some wierd and strange deformity and the stories revolve around these social outcasts and their abnormalities.
His illustrations are cute yet gruesome at the same time, and the book has a melancholy (hence the name) and morbid theme running through it. If your a fan of the gothic and creepy earlier work of Tim Burton then you will definitely enjoy reading through this book. The book is for all ages, it isnt too horrifying for children however I would say the satirical nature of the book can only be fully appreciated by adults.
You can purchase this book brand new from amazon.co.uk for around £6, but they do have used versions starting from as little as 1p. If you lie Tim Burton, or other illustrators such as Edward Gorey or Gris Grimly, then I would definitely say give this book a go!
I received this book in hardback as a gift a while back and I cannot explain how well received it was. Tim Burton is a film director, film producer, writer and artist. A man of many talents it would seem. But can he really do it all?
On first glance it appears to be a children's book however it is not. It is merely Tim Burton's personal stories and poems published. From a creative persons point of view it is a fabulous insight into the mind of a creative genius. A cult classic! Each page offers a funny and interesting illustration to accompany the stories. If you have enjoyed films such as Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Sleepy Hollow, Corpse Bride and Sweeney Todd you may be a Tim Burton fan. If you have seen any of these films and they were not for you this book will most likely fall into the same category.
The book offers a dark and quirky approach to children's stories but is in fact appropriate for all ages, however parental guidance may be necessary for younger children. My whole family found the book funny in their own way. My 6 year old brother loved the illustration and rhyming schemes whereas my parents found the stories' content humours.
My overall opinion of the book is a good one. It is definitely one for the bookshelf. I found it inspiring, witty and utterly timeless. Bear in mind, the hardback is expensive for the amount of pages you are paying for.
Tim Burton is well known in our minds for being the creative mind behind the Nightmare Before Christmas (despite popular belief that he directed it), Corpse Bride, Batman, Beetlejuice and Edward Scissorhands. His films have inspired a generation to think outside the box, and try new things with creativity and has also inspired a subculture which wear his merchandise and ruin it for the rest of us. But that's another topic altogether.
Before all of that, Tim Burton liked to write things. Short poems and narratives about strange characters like the love struck Match Boy and the unfortunate Girl Who Turned into a Bed.
These short stories were published about ten years ago into the book collection The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy and other Stories.
It's a small collection, but each few pages we're treated to a new story and each one of them is so filled with imagination and strange people, and are a huge joy to read. You could get through the book in less than an hour, but it's nice to pick it up and read one every so often.
I was a bit disappointed he didn't include his original poem for the Nightmare Before Christmas in there as it would have been a cool addition. Nevertheless it's a fantastic book and present for fans of the man's work, and they won't be disappointed. It's exactly what you would hope for and as twisted, wicked and incredibly funny as some of Burton's on-screen masterpieces.
This is basically a book of short stories by the legend that is Tim Burton.
It's a fairly small book with a dark blue cover. On the cover is the title of the book - The Melancholy Death Of Oyster Boy & Other Stories - in a grey font, and the authors name - Tim Burton - written in white. It also includes an illustration of Oyster Boy.
Thi book involves several characters such as; Oyster Boy (of course), Stain Boy, Junk Girl, Roy the Toxic Boy, Junk Girl, Stick Boy, and my personal favourite, Voodoo Girl. There a a fair few more to read as well.
Tim Burton - the creative genius behind Batman, Edward Scissorhands, Sleepy Hollow, and The Nightmare Before Christmas - now gives birth to a cast of gruesomely sympathetic children: misunderstood outcasts who struggle to find love and belonging in their cruel worlds. His lovingly lurid illustrations evoke both the sweetness and tragedy of these hopeful yet hapless beings.
So for those of you who haven't heard of Tim Burton (very few I should imagine), you now know what he dedicates his life to, and he does it remarkably well.
The RRP for this book is £8.99 and is worth every single penny.
I think to get the full benefit of these poems you have to take them with a pinch of salt. I was a teenager when I first read Oyster Boy, I loved Tim Burton then as much as I do now, so of course jumped at the chance to read as well as watch. It's like reading a Roald Dahl poem then lobbing it in the blender with a dash of vodka, just to shake things up.
If anything this book catalogues a host of lovable misfits and their struggle to be normal children; its Pinocchio taken to extremes for a modern world that likes a little grit with its fairy story. Luckily for us, the modern fairy tale with a little grit and tongue in cheek humour is what our good friend Tim Burton is best at. Don't go into this expecting a poetic masterpiece. These little snippets of rhyme roll off the tongue and are fun to learn and quote at inappropriate occasions (lets you you finish your brie and bacon melt after I tell you this little gem!)
I have to say I think the illustrations really hold their own here. Burtons style is deliciously naïve and simple, and these little character studies carry the text in some places, with the pictures being as funny as the words, and made me laugh where perhaps I should have been going 'aww'.
I must say this little book is a wonderful addition to any Tim Burton fan's library. If anything its an insight into a very bizarre and highly creative character, and perhaps even a glimpse at those most precious germs that might one day become full blown masterpieces.
This is a fantastic little book, it can be read quickly in one sitting (being only 115 pages long and largely made up of illustrations) but I think it's purpose is to be one of those books you just pick up and read a little of at a time.
I stumbled upon it at HMV where it only cost me £3, I was intrigued not only by the title but by the fact it was written by the brilliant Tim Burton. I love his films and his sinister style and hoped this would reflect on his book. I wasn't disappointed!
Crammed with little storeies / poems of varying length, this book is not for children! Some of the poems are only 3 or 4 lines long and some go on for several verses. It is full of fantastically creepy sketches of the various unfortunate characters being described, such as 'Stick Boy', 'Staring Girl' and 'Melonhead'.
The title story 'The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy' is in my opinion the best and the creepiest story of the lot. It begins as a sweet tale of a couple who met and fell in love and ends with, well, something you would never expect!
Full of joy, tragedy and more weirdness than you can shake a stick (boy) at, this is all you would expect from Tim Burton.
(For anyone who is aware of the fantastic cartoon 'Salad Fingers' by David Firth this book is for you!!!).
I was overjoyed when I found that Tim Burton had writeen and illustrated a book of short stories and poems. He is a man who I consider to be a living genius and I hoped his book would live up to the expectation I placed on it. Thankfully I was not disappointed as he has managed to incorporate his style of gothic humour into this (very) short book.
Before I go into detail about the book I'll just give a little background on Tim Burton for anyone unaware of him. Burotn is a filmaker who has directed and/or produced many great movies. These include, Beetlejuice, Batman, Batman Returns, Sleepy Hollow, Edward Scissorhands, Corpse Bride, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (remake) and Sweeny Todd:The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. He is famous for having a dark and gothic style of film but also encorporating much humour. His films have earned him several Oscar and Golden Globe nominations and was given a lifetime achievement award at the Venice film festival in 2007.
Now back to the book, "The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other Stories" was published in 1997 and consists of little poems, stories or even just thoughts all of which are accompanied by a little illustration. The book retails at £7.99 but I got my copy in HMV for just £3.
Each story is based on a different character (or two) and there are 23 stories in total. The characters are always outsiders, made so by the way they look. For example there is;
Robot boy- Concieved after his mother copulated with a "kitchen appliance" much to his Dad's annoyance.
Mummy Boy- Who is unfortunately mistaken for a pinata.
Oyster Boy- A lad whose parents are most unimpressed with their child and take drastic and rather strange action to rectify their "mistake."
Stick Boy and Match Girl- A couple with a hot and very dangerous love.
Each character is really well created and despite their often unpleasant exteriors you often end up feeling drawn to them. I guess that this is what Burton set out to do, to show us to look at the inside rather than the outside of people.
The illustrations are often very simple and sketch like and Burton uses colour very sparingly. Fans of Nightmare before Christmas and Corpse Bride will immediately recognise the style of drawing as it is very similar to these films. I like how the style of the drawing changes to reflect each story. For the more morose pieces there is no colour and lots of line and shading. Yet when things take a turn to cheerful town(well to black humour at least) the pictures are more open, less detailed and contain a few strong colours.
One thing I really love about this book is the mixture of writing in it. It ranges from poems that continue over several pages to just a single sentence accompanying an illustration. Tim Burotn uses a lot of dark humour in his stories and many of them finish with the sticky endings of characters. The stories can be a little creepy and are more suited to adults than young children. They are all very witty and completely unpretentious. Though well-written and put together they really are just little poems and not odes or sonnets. Burton never forgets this, he knows exactly what his work is and is unashamed of it.
I'd definitely recommend this book as it is original and a great little read. I think that Tim Burton has absolutely hit the nail on the head here and has got every aspect just right. This collection would make a perfect gift for any Tim Burton fans and I'm sure it's a present they would thank you for!
**This review is also on Ciao, under my username "MonsoonBaby88"**
Tim Burton is a widely renowned director, known for his gothic auteur style. His films often focus on outsider characters, those he regards as the weird and wonderful. "The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy and Other Stories" follows in the same vein as Burton's filmwork.
Essentially a collection of short stories and poems featuring a rather bizarre assortment of characters such as Oyster Boy, Match Girl, and Stain Boy. Each of these stories focus on their misfortunes, trials and tribulations the characters suffer in their everyday lives.
Each story is accompanied with illustrations drawn by Tim Burton, and feature his trademark unique and strange style, yet somehow retain a cute and endearing quality about them. This can also be applied to the stories themselves.
Each character shares the same common theme: alienation. This is a theme that Tim Burton often capitalises on in his films, such as in the gothic fairytale, "Edward Scissorhands." We as readers find ourselves sympathising with these established protaganists, with their sole aim being to live in a world where they are accepted for their physical differences. Most of the stories end with a tragic circumstance, but we should not assume that this whole book is entirely depressing. There are moments of tongue-in-cheek jokes alongside moments that would raise a smile upon reading.
In my opinion, the best story included in this book is the story that focuses on "Stain Boy." Tim Burton successfully manages to create a unique and unexpected superhero character that we find outselves rooting for. After this book, Burton went on to create a series of 6 short films focusing on this protaganist which also encorporated many of the other characters introduced in this book.
In conclusion, "The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy and Other Stories" is an excellent book that demonstrates Tim Burton's unique creative mind. The characters are strange and unusual, but all seem to retain an endearing quality to them. The illustrations are a great inclusion to the book, adding more character to the stories, and also demonstrating Burton's artistic talents. This book proves that Tim Burton is not only a successful director, but he is able to branch out into other creative mediums successfully if he chooses. A definiate must-read for any fan of Tim Burton.
~~~ Introduction ~~~
Tim Burton is renowned throughout the world. If his name doesnt mean much to you, youre probably still familiar with some of his work movies such as Beetlejuice, Batman, Edward Scissorhands, Nightmare Before Christmas, Mars Attacks! and the recent remake of Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, to name but a few.
Best known as a director and writer for his unique, yet dark and brooding style of storytelling, Burtons The Melancholy Death Of Oyster Boy is a collection of his poems, which in many ways is reminiscent of some of his movies, (Beetlejuice and Nightmare Before Christmas spring to mind). As well as the poetry, the book also has illustrations, which use Burtons distinct style, as seen in Nightmare and The Corpse Bride.
After a spate of buying Burtons movies online, this book was suggested to me by Amazon; Im not an obsessive fan of Burtons movies, but I did enjoy them enough to be curious about this book and given its relatively cheap price, coupled with the fact that I hadnt read much poetry since finishing my A/S Levels, I thought it was worth checking out.
~~~ The Melancholy Death Of Oyster Boy & Other Stories ~~~
The book itself is very short I think that most people would be able to read from cover to cover well within ten minutes, probably even less and I think its main appeal lies with teenagers, (although, older fans of Burtons should equally enjoy the poems just as much). Burtons dark style could be considered by some slightly morbid and, although I personally wouldnt go that far, I would agree that it probably isnt suitable for very young children. Teenagers, (and to a certain extent pre-teens) however, especially those who are fans of Burtons movies, would undoubtedly not only enjoy these poems, but may also be able to relate to them to a certain extent.
Burton introduces an array of wonderfully bizarre characters, such as Roy, The Toxic Boy, Melonhead, The Girl With Many Eyes, Oyster Boy as the book title would suggest and many others. Some of the characters feature in multiple poems, such as Stick Boy and it does seem to me that, although there isnt any real connection between these characters, it would be fairly easy to make a coherent story out of the basic characters presented here.
The illustrations are all of a high standard, with some in colour and others in black and white, (or at least looking like pencil drawings). Two particular favourites of mine are the illustrations that go with Roy, The Toxic Boy and Stick Boys Festive Season. I must admit, when I bought the book I wasnt expecting any illustrations and whilst there is perhaps an argument that more poetry could have been interesting, I found the illustrations a pleasant surprise, which added to my overall enjoyment of the book.
The poetry I found to be interesting, with various different styles used. In total there are twenty-three different poems, ranging in their length, style and theme. The longest poem is The Melancholy Death Of Oyster Boy, which spans several pages and has many illustrations, whilst others are only a few lines long, (indeed, the title of this review is actually an entire poem from the book). Even though I doubt the poems were written to be overly discussed or pondered, as someone who studied English Language and Literature in school, I think the book lends itself easily to essay writing, as there are many elements to them that would be found in any classic poet writing such as Shakespeare and Dylan Thomas I for one would have loved to have had an opportunity to write some of my comparison essays on this book, as I think theres a lot of depth to the writing.
Whilst there are a lot of short poems in the book, theyre still just as entertaining in many ways, Burtons style reminds me a lot of Roald Dahl, (although perhaps slightly darker than the majority of Dahls work, I must admit). Even the illustrations seem to have a Dahl quality about them.
The shortness of the poems isnt a problem for myself, though I did feel that the overall book could have been a little longer and I suspect that some people would have liked more lengthy poems. That said, what is there isnt disappointing and I think its an enjoyable book to have with you whilst travelling, since you can pick it up from any point and enjoy the read.
Whilst there are some gruesome elements to some of the poems, overall theyre actually quite amusing and I think most readers would be quite engaged by the book. Whilst there are slightly dark overtones to some of the poems, I didn't think them overly graphic or disturbing and, thinking back to my early teenage years, I dont feel theres anything here that could have a negative effect - indeed, I think there's much worse things that teenagers could be introduced to, most of it's on television, (but that's a discussion for a different review I think!). Certainly there's nothing in 'The Melancholy Death Of Oyster Boy' that I wasn't aware of as a teenager, (and I was quite a niave teenager, it has to be said!)
~~~ Conclusion ~~~
I suspect that this book wouldnt be to everyones taste. If youve never been able to get into Burtons movies particularly his animations then I think it's safe to say you wouldn't do too well with The Melancholy Death Of Oyster Boy. For those that do enjoy the majority of Burtons work, then this is an interesting book, filled with wonderful imagery, (both in terms of poetry and illustration) and I would recommend getting a copy - it may not take very long to read, but it's a book you can happily go back to and read again and again.
You might be wondering which is harder - condensing a 600pp book into a handy dooyoo-sized review, or writing with enough vigour, verve and value about a tome that takes fifteen minutes to read (and aloud at that). Well the following doesn't come easily, so that might sway your decision.
The film-maker Tim Burton here offers a selection of exceedingly short tales, vignettes and crazy characters, published by Faber in a great little hardback, with what seem to be excellent reproductions of the creator's own illustrations. To wrap the pictures up, there's one per page on average, some black and white pen 'n' ink offerings, and some full gaudy colour ones that have received a quick paint job. They are great, adding a lot to the words, and on the whole coming across as reject storyboards for The Nightmare Before Christmas, for obvious reasons.
But it is to the words we must come. They make up 23 little pieces of fiction. At least, we have to assume they're fiction. For the people that, er, people them are bizarre to say the least. Stain Boy, Roy the Toxic Boy, The Pin Cushion Queen, and Staring Girl, - all are titled in such a way, although a couple are lucky enough to get first names as well.
The narratives are presented in rhyme, either couplets or slightly more complex rhyming schemes, and many are over in a flash (literally in the case of the first story, that of Stick Boy and Match Girl). As such they're unquotable here without generally plagiarising the whole piece. But when they are allowed a few pages we get whole life sagas, or at least a quick resume of their brief horrible lot and death. There's death by drowning, waste disposal, and one character gets bashed about for looking like a pinata.
Yes, this is no gentle bedtime reading for the kiddies. The style is bright and breezy, the words large, the white spaces surrounding them larger still, the pictures encouraging for the young, but the humour here is very black. This isn't really to say this book should carry a warning, as there's nothing much stronger than Roald Dahl, but the humour seems to be more mature than the average picture book theediscerning remembers from his own childhood.
Take for instance the title character, whose visage can be seen on the cover art. "For Halloween," we are told, "Oyster Boy decided to go as a human." He, deservedly, gets the largest section of the book, even if that's about all he has going for him. He smells fishy, he looks even odder than other characters here, and he seems to refuse to come out of his shell.
His father seems to have problems too, in the marital bed department. His doctor tells him to pep up his sex life, so he goes in search of an aphrodisiac. If you can't work out the punchline, then you'll just have to seek the book down.
But should you buy it? Well, there's just as much invention and creativity in this little thing as many fatter books, and it has about as much attention-span and re-readibility as Flanimals, and that sold by the shedload over Xmas. You wouldn't expect a vanity, celebrity volume from Faber and Faber, and this is a lot better for not being one.
However Faber were initially charging £13 for this - a whopping £50+ per hour, if you only read it the once. It has of course since come out in paperback, as it's eight years old now, and can be found cheaper than the cover price. Amazon's marketplace is as always where you can find some reductions, and it was seen in HMV Southport last week for the princely sum of £2.99.
But what would you be doing with the book at even that price? Well you'd enjoy it, for sure - Roy the Toxic Boy is another favourite, and another longer piece. You'd be smiling at least at the silliness of the collection, although some of it is a bit off. You might laugh buckets at Staring Girl giving her eyes a rest - the illustrations are on a par with the words for interest. But surely you will come away from the experience poorer, and feeling short-changed.
And now the dooyoo instructions catch the eye - write to help your readers decide for or against a product. Well frankly that's no help. Theed has decided he is thoroughly in favour of this book - he enjoyed reading and looking at it, and didn't mind at all revising it for this op. He saw obvious connections from the more fantastical side of Tim Burton's films (especially Jake Skellington and friends, and Beetlejuice), and saw how any Burton fan would consider this an essential.
However he also comes down heavily against the purchase of this book. Not because he has shares in your local library, of course, and not because he wishes to encourage people loitering in Waterstone's and reading the whole thing on the QT. No, it's just that he cannot recommend the spending of money on this book. You won't be feeling the urge to return to inside its covers, and while you might well wish to spread the contents among your friends, you yourself won't be getting much return on whatever you paid.
It's an odd situation - the book is a smile-raising, enjoyable four-star thing, whose contents are to be recommended, while the purchase of it is a frown-raising, costly sub-two star thing, which is not recommendable. "The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy" is a good book for borrowing, then. And then returning 15 minutes later.
(PS If you did actually seek a short review of a very long book, and not a longish review of a very short book, here's one free.
Tom Wolfe, I Am Charlotte Simmons. Crap.)
In my opinion, Tim Burton is one the most talented film directors around at the moment. Whether you like his films or not he has an amazing vision and sets his films perfectly. More often than not they all play on themes on that slightly offend, disturb, upset or terrify us. Yet we all are able to sympathise with the characters taking the lead, and most of them, lets be honest, are near freaks. Batman, Edward Scissor Hands, Jack Skellington, Beetlejuice and now walking/talking apes etc. All loveable characters who are distasteful in one way or another. Every character in this book is abnormal in one way or another. Each of them is a freak in their own right. Take for example the character from the title of this collection: (extract) She railed the doctor: "He cannot be mine. He smells of the ocean, of seaweed and brine." "You should count yourself lucky, for only last week, I treated a girl with three ears and a beak. That your son is half oyster you cannot blame me. ...have you considered by chance, a small home by the sea?" Yes, that's right, our hero of the piece is half boy, half oyster. A very nice fan-shaped head. The book, which by the way is a visual treat on the outside and in, contains another 22 storie/poems each of which are unique. Stick Boy and Match Girl Robot Boy Staring Girl The Boy With Nails in His Eyes The Girl With many Eyes Stain Boy Voodoo Girl Stain Boys Special Christmas The Girl Who Turned into a Bed Roy the Toxic Boy James Stick Boy's Festive Season Brie Boy Mummy Boy Junk Girl The Pin Cushion Queen Melonhead Sue Jimmy, the Hideous Penguin Boy Char Boy Anchor Boy Oyster Boy Steps Out In my mind these are stories very much like original Grimms Fairytales, only shorter and to the point. ALl of the character
s are children, and ofcourse, they nearly all come to a gruesome and sticky end. And the theme thats seems to run consistently is that of children who can't find love and are stuck in their nightmare, cruel worlds. Burton illustrates the book himself with very simple pictures of the characters he writes about, you can quite see where all of the creatures from A Nightmare Before Christmas came from, creative, simple and somehow slightly disturbing to look at. On top of all of this, the book is very funny. I have read the poems time and time again. And still I laugh. As macabre, somemay even sick, as they are, they are guaranteed to make most people laugh. This book was Christmas present to me this year, and I it is without a shadow of a doubt, the best present I was given. If you like his films, and you have a dark sense of humour, invest in this book, you will not regret it. It's hard to say whether it's a childs book or more suited to adults. I don't think it's a good idea to show it young children, though they may find it very too - maybe that's the point - it really is for all ages. It's not cheap. Cover price is £12.99 for the hardback, I think amazon charge £11.49 or something, but if you add postage it's cheaper to go out and buy it from Waterstones or Smiths. I leave you with my favourite piece: James Unwisely, Santa offered a teddy bear to James, unaware that he had been mauled by a grizzly bear earlier that year.
A bizarre menagerie of characters--including Oyster Boy, Brie Boy, Match Girl, and Stick Boy--search for love and understanding in a world that does not comprehend oddities.