Monday, December 6, 2010

The Marzipan Pig

Want to read a flat-out freaky kids' book? I highly recommend The Marzipan Pig by Russell Hoban. We inherited this book from my cousin's collection and one day were curious enough to open it. What awaited us was nothing short of children's literature of the absurd. It is such strange shit, so creepy and unsettling yet delightfully funny and lyrical - a total gem, and adding to its gem-ness are the illustrations by Quentin Blake, whose name and whose effortless-looking line drawings you'll recognize if you're a Roald Dahl fan.

Here's the storyline:

A sentient marzipan pig falls behind a couch and is left there to rot, bemoaning the loss of his potential to bring sweet happiness to someone. Then a mouse stumbles upon the pig, gobbles it down and becomes stricken with a kind of love sickness. Instantly, the mouse falls in love with a grandfather clock, but sadly this love is unrequited, and though the clock does give the mouse the time of day, that's about the extent of it, so the mouse gives up on love, goes for a walk outside and promptly gets devoured by an owl, who instantly falls head over heels for a taxi meter.

Yeah, a taxi meter.

The owl thinks the fare is a measurement of the taxi's love and urges it on, "Love me more! More!" with which the taxi seems to comply, by raising the fare as it continues to drive.

And that's only about 10 pages in.

"Tis the season to give absurd kiddie lit. . .