EERIE DEARIES BOOK
26 Ways To Miss School
An ABC picture book
by Rebecca Chaperon
Photo courtesy of Jeff Hamada/booooooom.com
Eerie Dearies is a highly unusual ABC book that alphabetically lists 26 ways to miss school. Released 2014 with Vancouver publisher Simply Read Books.
"It's an alphabetical set of 26 illustrations of school girls who are absent from class for a range of the most odd to the most common-place reasons. These school girls are experimenting with astral projection, quarantined by a crystal growing lake, beseiged by gremlins at the breakfast table etcetera. But some are simply contagious or heartbroken."
- Rebecca Chaperon (author + illustrator of Eerie Dearies)
EERIE DEARIES is an unusual book that offers a carefully crafted & alphabetized selection of twenty-six beautifully illustrated excuses for being absent from school. Faded and well-used book covers serve as compelling backgrounds to each of these delicately rendered acrylic paintings, creating an atmosphere akin to an old and dusty collection of darkly humourous myths. This bizarre and astonishing ABC book contains 26 illustrations of absent school girls in ephemeral landscapes. These intriguing figures are at once pale and wan and amusingly dramatic. The perfect peculiar ABC!
View all art from Eerie Dearies book here.
Photo courtesy of Jeff Hamada/booooooom.com
“From one who forged her way through high school with endless notes from home excusing her from Guidance, these are the best creative excuses I’ve ever seen. Chaperon’s absent girls have nothing but presence. They are mighty.”
- Susan Musgrave (author of Given, a novel)
"After reading "Eerie Dearies," teachers will never again view "Please excuse..." notes in the same way...and students are sure to get extra credit for creativity in excuse-giving--even if it doesn't actually get you off the hook!"
- Shirley Wells (Watermark Books and Cafe) Read full review here.
"Author Rebecca Chaperon appropriates worn book covers, fairy tale themes, vintage clothing styles, and collage techniques to create layered illustrations/paintings that elevate cautionary tales to evocative high art."
- Yvonne (McNally Jackson Books NY)
"This twisted alphabet book is perfect for fans of Edward Gorey and his Gnashlycrumb Tinies. Chaperon uses each letter as a jumping-off point as a reason for truancy, but each reason is simply an excuse for a gorgeous painting. The use of acrylics on vintage book covers coupled with Chaperon's ethereal style add up to beautifully haunting visuals that spark the imagination."
-Sarah's January Staff Pick, 2014
"Canadian artist Chaperon uses a standard “A is for" structure in her children's debut, but when that A stands for “astral projection," it's immediately apparent that this is a rare and special abecedary. It's impossible not to feel the presence of Edward Gorey's Gashlycrumb Tinies in Chaperon's portraits of somber, willowy girls, tidily dressed in pleated skirts, Peter Pan collars, and ribbons. For G, a redheaded girl eating her breakfast cereal is beset by tiny gremlins that tug at her hair and arm. “Separation anxiety" keep a pair of girls from school—kneeling cheek to cheek, they appear to be conjoined twins. By themselves, the images can be foreboding, unsettling, or bleakly funny; what takes them to another plane entirely is that Chaperon paints them on the covers and interiors of weathered old books, creating delicious thematic connections. A pink book jacket screams Now We Are Enemies as a girl with a sword glares off-page for “R is for Revenge"; a “dumbstruck" student's empty speech bubble is set against a yellowed index page crammed with verbiage. Just creepy enough to make parents insist on driving their kids to school. All ages." (Feb.)Reviewed on: 03/24/2014
-Publisher's Weekly. See review here: http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-1-927018-40-8
"Vancouver artist Rebecca Chaperon's characters have always show a unique confluence with the soft flowing darkness of their environments. This darkness - the willowy trees, flowing grasses and sharp crystals - seem to embrace these young ladies in the protective or sheltering embraces of a scary grandmother, leaving the girls in a sleepy, uncertain tension. They seem to feel endangered but indifferent. Just as we can interpret this world as threatening or protective, the ladies seem to vary between the two opinions. It's the duality in the character of the environment that makes each page fresh. The swampy thin tendrils of setting are sometimes the antagonist and other times a silent observer in each of the frames.
In her painting career, the artist has never shown her characters in a higher state of dismay or personal crisis. Some roam headless, bitten by vampires or captured by monsters. At the same time lesser harms like sulking over a broken heart, catching mono, or listening to sad records alone are on the same plane of threat. Gremlins can be as much of a bummer as the flu or drifting away in a state of astral projection.
It's this leveling that creates a richness that readers, especially young readers, will be able to connect to. The blurry line of a young lady's maybe imaginary adventures and her real life downer days give us a fuzzy reality to enter into, that same reality young people shift between before the boring consensus of "real life" takes over. The intelligence in the book is acknowledging and speaking to this shifting to those young enough to experience it as their lives and those of us who want to remember."
- Amazon Reviewer J. Grier
Don’t expect your sunshiny ABC book here! Instead you get to enter a creepy world where each letter of the alphabet is paired with a way to miss school. Just to make sure you know what you are getting into, the book begins with A is for Astral Projection paired with a picture of a girl floating off the page. The images are haunted and dark, yet with a quirky sense of humor as well. The book goes on with the alphabet with C is for Contagious, K is for Kidnapping, and M is for Mononucleosis. It all ends with Z is for Zombie Apocalypse.
This book certainly is not for everyone. But for those kids who enjoy a shiver along with their ABCs, this is a perfect picture book. I was one of those strange kids myself and would have adored this picture book as a child. The art is creepy, showing children without heads and clearly hearkening back to Edward Gorey and gothic horror. Yet there is no blood on any of the pages, so it’s not graphic in any way.
This book will work well around Halloween, but thanks to its sense of humor will please haunted children throughout the year. Appropriate for ages 6 and up.
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