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Looking for "dark" picture books

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A wonderful reviewer noted that my recent PB is dark, probably because the MC repeatedly (and narrowly) escapes an awful demise. She's right and I'd like to compare it to similar "dark" books. Any suggestions? I'm looking for titles that present grim circumstances with a sort of dry humor. Something like Wendi Silvano's Turkey Trouble wherein a turkey doesn't want to be eaten. That sort of thing...

I am not looking for gratuitous violence or gore or anything extreme like that (none of this :chainsaw) LOL

Thanks for any suggestions !

 :thanks2
#1 - April 25, 2013, 09:30 PM
MIND YOUR MONSTERS (Sterling, 2015)
HYPNOSIS HARRY (Sky Pony, 2016)
LUCY LOVES SHERMAN (Sky Pony, 2017)

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Creepy Carrots!
#2 - April 25, 2013, 09:33 PM
Being Frank (Flashlight Press)
http://flashlightpress.com/

"This Is Not My Hat" by Jon Klassen
"I Want My Hat Back" by Jon Klassen
"I'm the Biggest Thing in the Ocean" by Kevin Sherry

Animals do get killed/eaten in these books. And they're hysterical.
#3 - April 25, 2013, 09:34 PM

Lemony Snicket's new one looks dark. I think it's called "The Dark" or something like that...
#4 - April 25, 2013, 10:06 PM
Robin

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Shaun Tan's books
Tanglewood by Margaret Wild
Books by Peter Carnavas (jessica's box, sarah's heavy heart, etc.)
#5 - April 25, 2013, 11:33 PM
I've Got Eyes! - Amicus Ink

www.juliemurphybooks.com

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I am drawing a blank on the title and the author, but it begins: it was a dark, dark night ... POV of a cat who is going into the castle and at the end there is a little mouse in a cupboard who is reading by candlelight. To me it's obvious what happens, but my kids loved that book because it was so unexpected. Gorgeous illustrations.

Vijaya

#6 - April 26, 2013, 05:03 AM
BOUND (Bodach Books, 2018)
TEN EASTER EGGS (Scholastic, 2015)
www.vijayabodach.blogspot.com
Author of over 60 books and 60 magazine pieces

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Nugget and Fang by Tammi Sauer? Nugget is under what he believes to be a constant threat of being eaten! Oh oh and another favourite is William Bee's Beware of the Frog. The human character gets eaten!
#7 - April 26, 2013, 05:11 AM

So funny dark, but not actually dark, like a VanAllsburg book or the Wolves in the Walls, etc.?

I've always thought The Gingerbread Man was pretty dark--as a kid, it made me really want to see him eaten.

Pierre's story from the Nutshell Library by Sendak--the boy who says I don't care?  and was eaten by a lion . . .

The Ladies First story by Shel Silverstein that was used on the Free To Be, You and Me album (protag eaten by a tiger?)
(lots of other stuff by Shel Silverstein, too)

Obviously, there's something funny to humans about being eaten whole.
#8 - April 26, 2013, 05:19 AM

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WOLVES  and LITTLE MOUSE'S BIG BOOK OF FEARS, both by Emily Gravett

I'D REALLY LIKE TO EAT A CHILD by S Donnio (sp?)

WOLVES IN THE WALLS by Neil Gaiman
#9 - April 26, 2013, 05:24 AM
twitter: @literaticat
ask the agent: http://literaticat.tumblr.com/ask

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Nugget and Fang by Tammi Sauer? Nugget is under what he believes to be a constant threat of being eaten! Oh oh and another favourite is William Bee's Beware of the Frog. The human character gets eaten!

Psst. In the original draft, Nugget DID get eaten. But my agent kindly steered me toward survival.

Other examples:
Wolves by Emily Gravett
Ugly Fish written by Kara LaReau, illustrated by Scott Magoon
Tadpole's Promise by Jeanne Willis
#10 - April 26, 2013, 05:25 AM
« Last Edit: April 26, 2013, 05:44 AM by tammi »
COMING SOON: Making a Friend*Wordy Birdy Meets Mr. Cougarpants*A Little Chicken*Nugget & Fang, the SEAquel*The Farm that Mac Built & MORE

There are a lot of Thanksgiving books that involve turkeys not wanting to get eaten. For example, "Beauty and the Beaks" and "Run, Turkey, Run!".

Also, there's "Ugly Fish".

And an old classic is "Millions of Cats".
#11 - April 26, 2013, 05:35 AM
NED THE KNITTING PIRATE, GRIMELDA series,
CITY SHAPES, DORIS THE BOOKASAURUS, ONE SNOWY DAY, PIZZA PIG, and more...
http://www.dianamurray.com

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Oh these are great - thank you!
#12 - April 26, 2013, 06:49 AM
MIND YOUR MONSTERS (Sterling, 2015)
HYPNOSIS HARRY (Sky Pony, 2016)
LUCY LOVES SHERMAN (Sky Pony, 2017)

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Psst. In the original draft, Nugget DID get eaten. But my agent kindly steered me toward survival.

Ooh, I'd love to read that version too! Although probably wouldn't read it to my kids, sensitive souls that they are!

Great thread!
#13 - April 26, 2013, 10:03 AM

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Probably darker than you want, but "Woolvs in the Sitee" by Margaret Wild and Anne Spudvilas is very creepy dark; but I love it.
#14 - April 26, 2013, 10:31 AM

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Ooh, I'd love to read that version too! Although probably wouldn't read it to my kids, sensitive souls that they are!

Great thread!

Ha! I'll PM you the original ending.
#15 - April 26, 2013, 10:48 AM
COMING SOON: Making a Friend*Wordy Birdy Meets Mr. Cougarpants*A Little Chicken*Nugget & Fang, the SEAquel*The Farm that Mac Built & MORE

There are a lot of Thanksgiving books that involve turkeys not wanting to get eaten.

I'd add Lisa Wheeler's TURK AND RUNT to this list. Dark, but SO funny!

#16 - April 26, 2013, 12:28 PM

Egg Drop by Mini Grey, about an egg who wants to fly, and tries...and, well, it doesn't have a happy ending.
#17 - April 26, 2013, 12:56 PM
THE DARING PRINCE DASHING, Sky Pony Press - available now!

Z-cat

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The Dangerous Alphabet, by Neil Gaiman and ill. by Gris Grimly
Creature Carnival by Marylin Singer and ill. by Gris Grimly
(Pretty much anything involving Grimly, and he's worked on a few fantastic pbs!)
The Spider and the Fly by Tony DiTerlizzi,
Beware the Storybook Wolves by Lauren Child (more funny, but my son found a bit scary when he was really little)
#18 - April 26, 2013, 04:19 PM

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THE BOOK THAT EATS PEOPLE by John Perry

And my kids were always a bit hesitant about A BAD CASE OF STRIPES by David Shannon
#19 - April 26, 2013, 04:33 PM
BACKHOE JOE, HarperCollins, 2014
FAMOUSLY PHOEBE, Sterling, 2017
ALL IN A DROP, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2019

http://www.lorialexanderbooks.com/

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Ha! I'll PM you the original ending.

Holy cow. *THAT* was the original ending???? I laughed out loud. Maybe dark & twisty PBs are my thing???? Poor Nugget. Glad he got the stay of execution! I'd love to see that ending too. Sadly, a couple of my not-as-sensitive-as-most kids would probably like to as well, as much as they loved the final version! I could see a couple of them being sad, though -- those are the ones who get upset when a friend has to say goodbye to another friend!

LoriA, ha. The Bad Case of Stripes was a little freaky -- but I think it might have had more to do with the illustrations rather than the text, for my kiddos...


#20 - April 26, 2013, 08:35 PM

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Okay, okay...this was the original ending of Nugget & Fang.

Don't judge me. :paperbag

      “Oh, Fang,” said Nugget. “I should’ve known you weren’t like the other sharks!”
     Nugget was so excited she gave Fang a big, fat kiss.
     That was a mistake. [On impulse, Fang swallows Nugget.]    
     Dear Reader,
     My kids wanted a different ending. If you feel the same, please turn the page.
                Sincerely,
               The Author
     Then Fang let out a giant BURP.
     Out popped Nugget good as new.
     “Pardon me,” said Fang. “Won’t happen again.”
     And the two best friends lived happily (and somewhat cautiously) ever after.
#21 - April 27, 2013, 06:33 AM
COMING SOON: Making a Friend*Wordy Birdy Meets Mr. Cougarpants*A Little Chicken*Nugget & Fang, the SEAquel*The Farm that Mac Built & MORE

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Tammi, I love it.

Crooked, the title just popped into my head: A Dark, Dark Tale by Ruth Brown.
Vijaya
#22 - April 27, 2013, 07:17 AM
BOUND (Bodach Books, 2018)
TEN EASTER EGGS (Scholastic, 2015)
www.vijayabodach.blogspot.com
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 :haha I love it, Tammi! Brilliant!
#23 - April 27, 2013, 07:34 AM

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I'm so glad you posted that ending! I was dying to tell Jenna,  :-X because it's soooo funny!  :clapping
#24 - April 27, 2013, 08:37 AM

 :lol4 Love it! Thanks a bunch for sharing it, Tammi. (I was dying to ask to see it, too, but felt too  :embarrassed2 )
#25 - April 27, 2013, 09:59 AM

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I have lots of dark picture books, but of course everyone’s opinion of “dark” differs.  LOL!  Some of these are humorous too:

Just a Minute by Yuyi Morales
There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly by Simms Taback
Once Upon a Twice by Denise Doyen
Whoo Goes There? by Jennifer A. Ericsson
Abiyoyo by Pete Seeger
I Need My Monster by Amanda Noll
The Spider and the Fly (Tony DiTerlizzi)
Substitute Creacher by Chris Gall
Zombie in Love by Kelly DiPucchio
Sally and the Some-Thing by George O’Connor
Mostly Monsterly by Tammi Sauer
Foxy and Egg by Alex T. Smith
The Pet Shop Revolution by Ana Juan

 :ahh  :eyeballs:
#26 - April 27, 2013, 05:56 PM

chip.amber

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"The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other Stories" by Tim Burton?
#27 - May 01, 2013, 03:21 AM

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if you're still looking for dark picture books my favourites include:

Wolves in the Walls (Gaiman) already mentioned
Fox - Margaret Wild (excellent exploration of relationship and abandonment between a blind dog and injured magpie)
Varmints - Helen Ward (sweet tale in an almost post-apocolytic sci-fi world where the wild world is almost lost)
The Rabbits - John Marsden and Shaun Tan (disturbing metaphor of humanity)
#28 - September 09, 2014, 04:25 PM

I love the original Nugget & Fang ending, Tammi. LOL!!!

I didn't see CARNIVORES by Aaron Reynolds on the list, but I did see his CREEPY CARROTS on here. My boys love almost all the "darker" PB's listed here. Maybe we all have a sick sense of humor. Haha!
#29 - September 11, 2014, 01:33 PM

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It's way old but a favorite of mine, The Three Robbers by Tomi Ungerer starts off quite dark with robbers robbing stagecoaches and frightening/threatening people. Later, it takes a fun turn.
#30 - September 12, 2014, 02:46 PM
Keith McGowan, www.keithbooks.com

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