Edward Gorey: The Bug Book (Hardcover, 1987)
Edward Gorey (1925-2000) was an American illustrator and writer, chiefly remembered for his illustrated books. Once you’ve seen a bit of Gorey’s work, it becomes instantly recognizable. His books are full of rich, strange characters. Pipe-thin men and women in fancy dress, cats in clothing, fantastical, mythical creatures (including one that looks like a cheerful leech with butterfly wings), treacherous villains and much, much more. One of his earliest and strangest creatures was The Doubtful Guest, a moody and stubborn creature that resembled a furry penguin in high-top sneakers and a striped scarf.
Not unlike Roald Dahl, Gorey was another author whose books seemed to embrace dark subjects, and assume a maturity and capability in his audience, despite being aimed at children. And the result was a unique blend of childlike silliness and stark bleakness – drawings and premises were ridiculous and fanciful one moment, then by turns utterly devoid of hope. For every happy, healthy child in the Gorey universe, many more were wan and waifish orphans wasting away on their sickbeds. –Beth Carswell
Mint condition copy in hardcover boards, Adama books, 1987