OLD MISERY, by James Sage, Illustrated by Russell Ayio, Kids Can Press, Ltd., ARC Review


Poor Old Misery. She and her old cat, Rutterkin, “ain’t got two pennies to rub together.” And the one thing of value she does have —a tree, filled with good eating apples — is regularly ransacked by humans and animals of all kinds who make off with armloads of apples! So, one day, when a surprise visitor grants her a wish, Old Misery tells him, “There’s but one wish for me, mister, and it’s this here: whoever I catch stealing apples off my tree will get stuck to it until I decide to let them go!” At first, it seems like her wish was a terrific idea, as she catches all the apple thieves and sends them on their way for good. But then Old Misery decides to use her new power on another surprise visitor. And she learns what may be the most miserable lesson of all: be careful what you wish for!

Author James Sage has created a playful allegory about why misery exists in the world, and always will. Award-winning Russell Ayto’s two-color, pen-and-ink illustrations do a superb job of evoking the eccentric and slightly macabre feel of the book, perfectly complementing the original voice of the storytelling. The dark humor and a vintage feel will make this picture book a hit with fans of Edward Gorey and Lemony Snicket.
Available Editions
EDITION: Hardcover
ISBN: 9781771388238
PRICE: $18.99 (CAD)

Thanks to Netgalley and Kids Can Press Ltd. for providing this ARC for me to read and provide my honest review.

MY BOOK REVIEW: The description echoes a lot of my own conclusions but I would also like to add that James Sage’s creative and interesting take on why misery exists in the world is done in such a way, children will completely have no issues grasping the concept. His ability to write for children is shown clearly in all his work, and reaffirmed by all the awards he’s been nominated for or received.

I loved the premise, and the choice of partnering him up with Russell Ayto was bang on. Ayto’s style enhances the melodramatic context, his illustrations defining the nature of the book in a simplistic, yet entertaining manner for children.  The cover art is sweet and should attract a lot of curious readers.

This book is a classic in the making.

I give it:

five stars for the story, and a golden apple for the illustrations! Well done!


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