Jim: A Cautionary Tale

Mini Grey‘s books are dark and twisty, and this intriguing adaptation of a poem by Hillaire Belloc is no different. As the book’s cover warns, Jim contains “A DANGEROUS BEAST AND A MISERABLE END.” And that’s quite true. Publisher’s Weekly: “In this macabre rhyme from Belloc’s Cautionary Tales for Children (1907), re-engineered with interactive elements, Jim enjoys nice meals and toys, but his eyelids droop with boredom. He prefers breaking rules, and when Jim visits the zoo, the text carps, ‘Children never are allowed/ To leave their Nurses in a Crowd.’ Jim pays no heed . . . ‘He hadn’t gone a yard when–BANG!/ With open Jaws, a Lion sprang’ . . . Some readers might take it in stride as a lion pops from the spread and devours the terrified Jim (‘beginning at his feet’). Others will be aghast at the witty but grisly sequence of the attack and the sight of Jim’s severed head. Jim may be undisciplined, but his demise seems undeserved. Playful windows and gatefolds imply lighthearted fun, but the troubling content could shock the uninitiated. Proceed with caution.” Giggle factor: hmmmm. But it certainly is captivating; James is hooked. Adult enjoyment: impossible to predict. Illustrations: five jelly jars, with extra peanuts for the awesome lion pop-up and fold-out map of the zoo.

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~ by kaychubbuck on May 5, 2011.

One Response to “Jim: A Cautionary Tale”

  1. […] The more books I read by Mini Grey, the creator of Jim: A Cautionary Tale, the more I am convinced she is an acquired taste: time and again, she serves up wacky retellings of traditional children’s stories, each with its own peculiar postmodern twist. (Though what else should one expect from someone born in a Mini Cooper?) […]

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