2008 Weird-Ass Picture Book Awards
July 7, 2008 7:14 AM   Subscribe

The Weird-Ass Picture Book Awards, WAPB, are given to the books that make you go “Huhhh?” Awards are given for story, illustration, and cover art. The highest award goes to the picture book achieving outstanding weirdness in both illustration and text. The 2007 WAPBA went to The Fuchsia Is Now, by J. Otto Seibold, for its strange story and artwork. The interesting use of condoms as hats was clearly a deciding factor in this book’s selection. Dear Fish, by Chris Gall, won for both illustration and cover art. For storyline, My Father the Dog, by Elizabeth Bluemle, took the prize.
posted by Fizz (18 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Oh man, these look awesome. Jon Scieszka, illustrated by Lane Smith! written by Steve Martin and illustrated by Roz Chast!!

Definitely have to check some of these out.
posted by DU at 7:30 AM on July 7, 2008

Weird-Ass as it may be, Cowboy and Octopus is a great book. It's right up there with Skippyjon Jones.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 7:31 AM on July 7, 2008

Also, this blog looks awesome: I believe that, for most of us, what we want lies somewhere between a flatulent canine and overwhelming grief.

Yes, that is exactly what I want to be between.
posted by DU at 7:33 AM on July 7, 2008

These weird-ass picture books all seem to get great reviews over at Amazon so they are doing something right.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 7:39 AM on July 7, 2008

I don't know if they count as "weird-ass" exactly, but a lot of author/illustrator David Weisner's books are pretty crazy. And gorgeously illustrated.

Flotsam is a wordless story of an underwater, time-traveling camera and what it sees on it's many trips through the ocean.

Tuesday is a wordless story of an odd incident involving floating frogs.

June 29, 1999 is the story of a kid's science experiment that caused huge vegetables to drop from the sky.

The Three Pigs is a funny retelling of the classic with some meta twists (i.e. the pigs leave the story to recruit help from other stories).

And seriously, the illustrations in the books. Yowza. And of course the ultimate test is what kids think: I've read all of these more than once to rapt faces.
posted by DU at 7:47 AM on July 7, 2008

Bow Wow Bugs a Bug and Cowboy and Octopus make the nightly bedtime reading routine so much better. My husband reads Cowboy's lines as sort of a cross between John Wayne and Don Knotts, which amuses the kids no end. The thing I like about these books (along with the collective works of Mo Willems), is that both adults and kids can find them funny. They don't talk down to the former or go above the heads of the latter.

Now I just need to erase all evidence that Blue's Clues ("You noticed objects that were right in front of your face - You're a Fucking Genius") and Thomas the Goddamn Tank Engine ("Really Useful Engines do whatever their boss tells them") ever existed - unpublish them, if you will.
posted by bibliowench at 8:01 AM on July 7, 2008 [1 favorite]

Thomas the Goddamn Tank Engine

Aww man, I just got sad about Carlin.
posted by cashman at 8:15 AM on July 7, 2008

Aww man, I just got sad about Carlin.

Yeah, but when you read it yourself, you don't get the benefit of his narration. Although maybe we'll start reading in the style of his stand-up routines. The kids would love that.
posted by bibliowench at 8:23 AM on July 7, 2008

Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith are perhaps the unsung geniuses of kid lit. The Time Warp Trio, Math Curse, and The Stinky Cheese Man were all big, weird favorites of mine in my younger days. Good to know they are still working together and still keeping it weird.
posted by silby at 8:30 AM on July 7, 2008

May favorite WAPB: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. Kept me entertained for hours at a time as a kid, and I still think the illustration is gorgeous.
posted by arcticwoman at 8:58 AM on July 7, 2008 [2 favorites]

My kids always liked stories that involved some sort of filth (eg, Fungus the Bogeyman) or stories about rebellious kids (Hillaire Belloc, Edward Gorey, Shockheaded Peter type stuff.) It didn't matter that the kids usually met a terrible end -- they invariably got a great thrill from the systematic acts of resistance.

The thing I miss most about not having young kids is not having a reason to scour the kids section in the bookshop. Books for the under-fives may well be the best books of all.

The upside, on the other hand, is that when we go to the Edinburgh Fringe this year, the whole family is gonna want to go and see the fabulous Tiger Lillies.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 9:04 AM on July 7, 2008

Personally, I feel that no weird ass picture book will ever surpass Harold and the Purple Crayon. Man, I loved that book as a kid.
posted by miss lynnster at 9:19 AM on July 7, 2008

It's kind of sad to see J. Otto Seibold panned. The Fuschia is Now does kind of tip towards suck, but his earlier works - the Mr. Lunch ones especially - are brilliant. Plus, they're not afraid to reference Curious George and Richard Scarry!
posted by hamfisted at 10:01 AM on July 7, 2008

Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith are still putting out books? That's great! I used to wonder if Lane Smith the illustrator was the Lane Smith who played Perry White on Lois and Clark. (No.)
posted by painquale at 10:21 AM on July 7, 2008

Agreed, hamfisted. (Though I didn't think anyone panned him), I love J. Otto Siebold. As an artist at least. The stories never amount to much, but the art is fantastic.

It's also too bad he sold out jotto.com. But Bubblesoap is still around ... at jottodotcom.com?!
posted by mrgrimm at 10:32 AM on July 7, 2008

Thanks to an infection I picked up here, my perception of topics like this is a bit skewed. (Based on the title, I expected this post to be very NSFW.)
posted by rokusan at 11:28 AM on July 7, 2008

I didn't realize jotto.com was no longer on the air. Oddly, it looks like a bunch of the jotto.com content is now at www.vivianwalsh.com.
posted by hamfisted at 12:12 PM on July 7, 2008

From the blog:

Apparently, the winner is... the Weird-Ass Picture Book Awards, which were picked up by Metafilter. How about that? I’m touched — and honored.

I only have some concern that readers there may not have surmised that my awards can be a compliment — and I would comment as such, but new membership costs five dollars. I don’t know. Give my five dollars to make sure my awards are well understood more than halfway through the day of the posting or donate to Obama’s campaign by the end of July, and possibly win tickets to the see Barack accept the party nomination? Decisions, decisions.

Ah, who am I kidding? We all know I’m going to spend the five bucks on a two chalupas and a Diet Pepsi at Taco Bell.

posted by Stewriffic at 7:21 PM on July 7, 2008

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