With Rose’s main page discussion of classic entertainment that seriously doesn’t hold up that well (including, of course, sitcoms), my various trains of thought took me to some of the comedy stuff that I didn’t get and settled on Punch and Judy puppet shows. The script that I was familiar with is the script that is in the book that BlaiseP pointed out: The Tragical Comedy or Comical Tragedy of Mr. Punch. Now, the Mr. Punch story that I know about is, from a 2012 perspective, pretty horrific (despite being comedy, as Burt Likko pointed out) and that train took me down back to the Splat! essay and horror films and Russell’s thoughts on how he’s best able to watch them and all of these things blended together into a melange and I remembered The Wolves in the Walls.
If you aren’t familiar with the book, here’s the story behind it: Neil Gaiman’s daughter had one of those nightmares that kids have. She dreamed that there were wolves in the walls.
Now, this is one of those things that sounds creepy to *ME* and I’m a grownup. Ostensibly. The amazing thing with this book is that it takes this scary setup and takes it seriously and, wonderfully, turns the horror of wolves in the walls (and the scarier idea of the wolves eventually coming *OUT* of the walls) into something concrete that stops being scary and starts being funny. Gaiman turns the wolves in the walls from horrible things that you fear into frustrating things that you resent. “Dread” transmogrifies into “irritation” before your very eyes and the things that used to be scary are not scary anymore.
As such, this is a wonderful book for children who may still get frightened (as well as being wonderful for the ostensible grownups assigned to them).
So that’s my recommendation to you this week.
Good to know! My 4 1/2 year old is definitely a nervous sort.
I just adore Neil Gaiman. His ability to interweave the magical, the macabre and the mundane is unparalleled.
And Rose, should your eldest ever want to hang out with a grown-up who was also once the nervous sort, you know where to find Uncle Russell.
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