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Reviewed by Robin Goodfellow for Readers' Favorite
Portraits Of The Eerie by Mathilde Musset is a charming poetry collection that sings of the nightmarish monsters we feared when we were little. From its cute, yet morbid illustrations, to its fun rhymes, the book is a retelling of the bedtime stories that our parents used to scare us with. From a madman’s descent into an asylum, to Victor Frankenstein’s lunacy, to even Dracula being burned by the sun, the book is reminiscent of a poisonous fairytale that could both entertain and shock kids. Musset shows these monsters in a hideous light, one that could delightfully frighten even adults.
One of my favorite poems, “Sweet as an ogress”, reminded me of the fairytale of Hansel and Gretel. In the story, Hansel and Gretel were left in the forest by their wicked stepmother. They wander around until they find a witch’s house. The witch lures them in with her sweets and treats. She then captures Hansel, and fattens him up to eat him. The poem reminds me of this story because of the ogress’s poisonous sweets and her hideous smile. This poem captures the delightful essence of the book in both its monstrous appeal and its fairytale-like storytelling. A witch's lair, a wraith's shade; I'm surprised I haven't found a poisoned apple or two hidden between the pages. This book is a perfect balance between horror and children’s literature. The poetry is musical, the illustrations are creepy, and the book is, in fact, incredibly well done. As such, I would recommend this book to fans of horror and Gothic fairytales in general.