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4.8 out of 5 stars106
4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 9 January 2004
This collection of poems are essentially short stories about misunderstood children, outcast from society and mentally tortured by their abnormalities. Such characters include “The Boy with Nails in His Eyes”, “The Pin Cushion Queen” and “Jimmy, the Hideous Penguin Boy”. Each short story portrays the loneliness and sadness, which consume these characters as they struggle to find compassion, love and acceptance in their lives.
Each story is simply, yet beautifully illustrated by Burton who designs the sets, costumes and mise-en-scene for his films in the same intricate manner. The illustrations are almost childish but provoke a feeling of deep sorrow in the reader. Each illustration is roughly coloured with faint watercolours enhancing the fragility and innocence of youth in these individuals. . In contrast to the saddening drawings, the poems are surprisingly funny in a twisted, typically Burton-esque way. The stories are a complex combination of humour and tragedy, disguising deep and serious subtexts with a light hearted mask.
Although this book has the appearance of an illustrated storybook for children, the macabre subjects of the stories and satirical humour can only be fully appreciated by adults. But it is the childlike and innocent nature of the book which makes it such an unusually enchanting and cherished read.
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VINE VOICEon 21 October 2006
"The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy and Other Stories" is a collection of 23 poems written and superbly illustrated by Tim Burton - the director of, amongst other things - "Sleepy Hollow", "Beetlejuice" and "The Corpse Bride". It features a number of characters such as Oyster Boy (obviously, I guess), The Girl With Many Eyes, Stain Boy and Anchor Baby. For the most part, the poems are very short - many are only a few lines long, while "The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy" is pretty much the longest in the collection. There are a few others - like "Robot Boy", "Anchor Baby" and (my favourite) "Mummy Boy" - that make it past a couple of pages.

There's a pretty gruesome thread running though the book, plenty of strangeness and a smattering of sad and / or lonely characters. While I wouldn't describe it as scary, I wouldn't neceaasrily recommend reading it while eating cheese just before going to bed ! Fans of Burtom's films - especially "The Nightmare Before Christmas" - should enjoy this.
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on 18 November 2000
My first experience of Tim Burton was when I saw the first Batman andI loved the style of his work.After that I saw The Nightmare Before christmas and it blew me away!! I have recently purchased oyster boy & other stories and thought it was Tim Burton in a book . He teases us with such works and your always hungry for more with his eerie endings .The characters are just sad looking misfits and are troubled like so many of us in life,but their troubles are far from normal and you just have to grin at their misery.His drawings are just so unique! oyster boy and other stories brings out the child in me makes me want to write my own tragedies long and short!All I have to say is MORE PLEASE TIM BURTON.!!!!!!!!!!!!! .
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on 25 May 2004
I really cannot be unbiased about this work, because it is by one of my great influences, Tim Burton. I absolutely love his best work - the dark fairy tales, such as 'Beetlejuice' and 'Sleepy Hollow' - especially my favourite animated movie of all time (alongside Aladdin, that is), 'Nightmare Before Christmas'.
I bought this book for that name. The content is exactly what I wished for - an eclectic group of disfunctional gothic characters, that while creepy, are sincerely endearing. The stories of these doomed children are of misfortune, each due to a unique hamartia, a fundamental fault (for example, Stain Boy, whose disadvantage is pretty self-explanatory - I should add that he is now the titular character in a series of animated shorts on the website AtomFilms). Each tragic tale is written in the form of rhyming verse, and each poem paints a truly disturbing vignette of a character that you will either deeply empathise with, or find vehemently repulsive (it is an odd combination that Burton pulls of effortlessly). Many might consider the work allegorical, highlighting the burden of idiosyncratic flaws that ail the outsiders of human society - others will just relish the sinister humour, sympathetic care and fervent artistry of the writing and illustrations.
The verse is well-crafted, and the watercolour paintings of the poor ailed children are evocative and deliciously haunting. I'd recommend this to any Burton fan, both adults, and children that like a bit of light-hearted horror (as I did as a child, loving 'Nightmare Before Christmas' so much in my early years). I reluctantly drop one point due to the fact that its very short, and probably not something for every mood. Also, people who don't share a delight for Burton's vision of the gloomy fairy tale should probably give this a miss. For the rest of us, this is a highly enjoyable read that will please on many levels.
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on 20 June 1999
As this is my first ever encounter of actually READING a book by Tim Burton I found it quite strange, yet altogether fascinating at the same time. I almost felt as though Jack, pumpkin king was reading the text. Tim Burton writes as well in books as in his films and I am now a dedicated fan! A lot of my friends have commented on the books adult humour and it's 'sickness', but I found it amusing, heartwarming, dark and macabre, all the things you would expect from a Tim Burton book. A fabulous book!!!!!!
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on 30 December 2013
Burton's illustrations are just as charming as the stories themselves, and together, they work brilliantly. The stories/poems are both childlike and adult in nature, which was something I really loved, as I'm a big fan of black comedy.

The characters in the author's stories are often in terrible situations, and yet the language used is breezy, conveying a sense of innocence and playfulness.

Even though this is only a little book, it is well worth the money. This collection of stories isn't the kind of thing you read once and banish to your bookshelf for forever more. Indeed, many of the stories can only really be appreciated on the second or third reading, when you start to absorb the simultaneous effects of the language used, the stories themselves and the illustrations accompanying them.

You get the sense that Burton wrote the book knowing it was different and being proud of it. The result is one of the best short story collections I have ever read. The stories are full of fun one minute and tragedy the next, both tugging at the heartstrings and making you laugh.

Essential reading.
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on 3 November 2010
Firstly, and something that has irked me about some reviews, is that no, Tim Burton is certainly not a Blake, or a Kipling. He's a surrealist, not a poet. Don't read this expecting the next "If". The beauty of these poems is not in the actual writing (Which can be mediocre), but the meaning behind them, the sheer amount of imagination required to create such a wacky and bonkers set of characters. Even if you aren't bowled over by the words, you'll chuckle at the sentiment, I know I did. It isn't a children's book. After reading War and Peace and lots of seriously heavy going recently, this was a breath of fresh air. Frankly I loved it.

I will admit, my liking of this book is a little style over substance. It's beautifully put together, lovely illustrations, just as dark as the actual poems they accompany. The illustrations are integral to the book, and warrant the purchase price alone.

Don't be all snobby about it, it's a lovely little collection. Buy
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on 1 November 2011
I purchased this book in the hope of 'saving it' for a read on Halloween night! It didn't disappoint. Burton has created a compelling, quirky, macabre and, sometimes, beautiful set of poems and short stories. Moreover, they tell you something about his surreal and gothic mind and, I think, ought to be read prior/after watching any of his films. Yes it's macabre in parts (e.g. the horrible demise of Oyster Boy himself) but each of the poems have a touch of the comic - you can't help but laugh. The poems are accompanied by some wonderful illustrations that may, in time, become iconic drawings (perhaps in the same sense as the illustrations that accompanied Alice in Wonderland/Through the Looking Glass?). I read the poems with just a cursory glance at the pictures and then went back and studied each of the drawings - i.e this is a book that will bring so much pleasure in so many other respects. I look forward to reading it again, and again, and again...
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on 27 December 2006
"The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy: And Other Stories" is a book for which you can say "I have read it more than a hundred times!".

And indeed you will.

Sometimes simple is more complicated, it also leads the art to be more everlasting in our minds.

The simplicity and harmony I find in Tim Burton's creations is one of that kind.

Every single word echoes in my mind.
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This book is genius. Great little poems with dark, yet hilarious illustrations. I buy this for all my warped friends so we can laugh together. I defy you not to laugh at the girl who takes her eyes out to rest them after staring too much, buy it and see what I mean!

Feel free to check out my blog which can be found on my profile page.
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