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on 23 November 2011
Douglas Coupland tries his hand at faux-children's stories in the tradition of Tim Burton's "Oyster Boy", Tom Baker's "Boy Who Kicked Pigs" and Roald Dahl's "The Twits", teaming up with artist Graham Roumieu to give the reader some contemporary and inappropriate fairy tales for the 21st century.

The best ones were set in high school - the weird foreign-exchange student with a grim secret and strange rituals, and the zombie substitute teacher who asks the students to recommend which child to eat. None of the stories though are boring - the GI Joe toy with "issues" when he returns from duty, the Barbie who's crazy, the alcoholic mini-van and the sociopathic juice box.

The stories have the feel of a cross between a Simpsons Hallowe'en Special story and a cutaway sketch from Family Guy, with a hint of Coupland's eye for telling detail thrown in. That is to say the stories are entertaining and, especially in the case of the zombie sub, very funny.

Don't expect a lengthy read though, as in the tradition of children's stories, even fake ones, the text is a paragraph (large font) to a page with plenty of artwork thrown in. Even for a quick half hour read though, it's good fun and definitely worth picking up.
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on 8 November 2011
...then this is the book for you!

It's very definitely not a children's book. Late teens or adults, I'd say. With that proviso, and assuming the person has a pretty "dark" sense of humour, this could be an ideal Christmas present.

It's a series of stories featuring some pretty surreal characters - a malicious juice carton, for instance! These characters then set out to wreak havoc in their particular,and usually rather unpleasant ways.

The stories are perfectly complimented by the frequent illustrations.

I loved this book, and I'll be buying some more copies as gifts. It's wonderful.
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I'm a fan of Douglas Coupland but wasn't too sure about this book when I first heard about it. Seeing it in a shop however made me want to buy it. This small, thin hardback is full of delightfully twisted illustrations and the whole thing resembles a childrens storybook but written by "The League of Gentlemen".

Readable in an hour or so, the book features seven short stories, the titles of which are enjoyable in themselves: Donald, the incredibly hostile juice box; Sandra, the truly dreadful babysitter; Hans, the weird exchange student; Brandon, the action figure with issues; Cindy, the terrible role model; Kevin, the hobo minivan with extremely low morals; and Mr Fraser, the undead substitute teacher. Each story is very short and peppered with illustrations, and they are all wonderfully dark in a "League of Gentlemen" / "Psychoville" style. This is not a book for children, but is instead a book for those of us who love dark humour, especially when written in an inappropriate context - after all, when as a child did you read books featuring zombies, vampires, and vengeful juice cartons?

Look under the paper cover too if you buy this - there are extra illustrations hidden below. I also loved the wonderfully sinister endpapers.

A dark, twisted delight to end the year. A joy.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 28 November 2011
Douglas Coupland is often named as the voice of the dissatisfied youth of the 90s because of his 1991 novel Generation X (and subsequent tales for young people who went seeking but gave up looking for what was promised by popular culture). I am not his typical reader, who now would probably be in his/hers mid-thirties, nevertheless I love his books, some more than others, but I am not the reader who grew up in the pre-web era, and whose children are now rebelling teenagers, yet I still spurred on this funny, definitely adults only (beware: not for children!) collaboration with talented illustrator Graham Roumieu.

The book in itself is simply beautiful with striking watercolours, it tells seven stories of malicious characters. Cindy, for example, is a cheaper version of a goody Barbie doll, who plots and successfully kills her fatty pre-teen owner. And then there is an old truck, who gives up dreaming big, because big dreams are for losers (that one was my personal favourite, or was it about German exchange student turned to be a vampire? Or better, the one about substitute teacher who was a zombie, eating his students while real teachers went for their monthly facials?)

In fiction's general move away from smart postmodernism, this "happy" dark book (that won't take more than an hour of your time, well, maybe a little more if you'd care to scrutinise the lovely aquarelles) cleverly manipulates genre expectations while keeping its evil humour.

In time for Christmas, this would be an ideal stocking filler for a Douglas Coupland fan!
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on 13 July 2012
Love Douglas Coupland but this really disappointed, don't know if it's because I am sadly no longer a young person but just found this book a bit pointless and even the art work wasn't entertaining. Didn't bother finishing it, just hope the person who buys it in the charity shop I have given it to isn't too disappointed.
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on 1 February 2015
Great book, that arrived in perfect condition
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