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Edward Gorey, Hilaire Belloc, ...

Cautionary Tales for Children

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How natural for Edward Gorey, with his affinity for doomed little ones, to have illustrated Hilaire Belloc’s 1907 spoof of Victorian morality, Cautionary Tales for Children. The two are a perfectly eccentric match, considering Belloc’s rhymes were practically a prequel to Gorey’s ”The Gashlycrumb Tinies” (”S is for Susan who perished of fits…”).

Gorey unearthed and selected the tales himself; the illustrations were found in his studio after his death in 2000. The artist’s upper-class urchins now people the stories, which have titles like ”Matilda, Who told lies, and was Burned to Death” (”For every time She shouted ‘Fire!’/They only answered ‘Little Liar!”’). And if making light of kids in jeopardy unnerves you, focus instead on the lessons learned from ”Jim, Who ran away from his Nurse, and was eaten by a Lion.”

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