Ken Lamug’s THE STUMPS OF FLATTOP HILL brings a long-overdue disturbance to the picture book arena. The cover alone promised me things that I was desperate for the story to keep.
And keep them, it did.
THE STUMPS OF FLATTOP HILL is an otherworldly cautionary picture book in which dear little Florence accepts a dare to face perils unknown but ends up Doing Something Else And That Is All I Will Say On The Plot Because Reasons. If you want more, go here or here.
What I love about Lamug’s storytelling is that it’s done in fluctuating rhythm with approximate rhyme. The text is one-part concrete poem, one-part summoning spell. I’ve read it silently a bajillion times and out loud thrice. Either way, the cadence gives me the jibblies.
And the illustrations?
Considering I come from an ancient line of visual artists but cannot sketch worth a bleep, I have unreasonably high expectations for inky line drawings.
Lamug does not disappoint.
And do excuse me while I salivate over the shade-throwing monochromatic crosshatching and tricksy nods to my spirt animal, himself, Edward Gorey.
The words and pictures in THE STUMPS OF FLATTOP HILL blend melodically into a narrative that respects and challenges readers.
But readers beware: this is a macabre book. A picture book, yes. But a chilling one with eerie illustrations and unsettling text.
As such, I deduct one star due to 100% personal bias. THE STUMPS OF FLATTOP HILL is not suitable for my youngest niece (aged 6¾) for whom death and dying are triggers. So, she’ll probably be scarred for life
when if I read it to her. And I’m guessing she’s not the only one.
Regardless, THE STUMPS OF FLATTOP HILL is an instant classic in my book[shelf].
But you don’t have to take my word for it!
Find out more about Ken Lamug here:
or see the book here:
Macabre Picture Book
One Peace Books
March 16, 2016
They dared Florence to enter the haunted house on top of the hill. She is frightened, but Florence musters the courage to go inside. As she makes her way up to the top she finds many ghastly things along the way. Will she make it back out or be turned into a stump forever?
The Stumps of Flattop Hill is a macabre tale of a little girl who enters the town’s legendary haunted house in the face of fear. A dark tale for children in the tradition of the Brother’s Grimm, it calls to mind the provocative illustration style of Edward Gorey. Scary and entertaining, this book challenges the idea of what children’s books can be.