Sunday, June 8, 2014

Ray's Reviews: Steve Breen's Unicorn Executions and Other Crazy Stuff My Kids Made Me Draw

If you're trying to escape reality during these hot summer days, it's time to grab the latest book by Pulitzer Prize winner Steve Breen.

You won't find it on the shelves as a long-winded novel under great literature -- it's an exceptionally humorous collection of one hundred black and white drawings.

"Unicorn Executions and Other Crazy Stuff My Kids Made Me Draw" (Skyhorse, $16.95) is a bizarre grouping of pun-filled, highly creative illustrations.

In his brief introduction, Breen comments "I should note here that even though I'm a cartoonist, most of the images in this book are not cartoons."

Instead, as the book's title indicates, they are drawings suggested by his three sons who were unimpressed with his work as an editorial cartoonist.

Breen's highly entertaining book is broken into a number of unusual categories including sections on dinosaurs, sharks, zombies and famous people as well as aliens, animals and other creatures.

The dinosaur section includes images of a velocirapper (complete with sunglasses and a portable microphone) as well as a velociraptor with a flame-throwing jetpack.

In the section devoted to sharks, Breen showcases a talented surfer riding a wave standing on his hands on top of a surfboard; the next page provides a memorable image of a surfer juggling chainsaws on top of an open-mouthed shark.

"Zombies, Zombies Everywhere" features sketches of a variety of assorted zombies, including a Santa zombie, Zelvis (zombie Elvis) and a twisted Statue of Liberty zombie.

A longer section is devoted to famous people, as Breen skewers celebrities, offering "Guess the Celebrity Cyclops" and "Secret Mutant Powers of U.S. Presidents."

Breen's fantastic imagination really shines when he focuses on unusual creatures, such as "The Lizard of Oz" (with a tasty meal!), "Giant Invisible Squashgoblins" or "Centaur Claus."

Unicorns are also present, including some odd variations, such as "the Moo-nicorn", "the Ewe-nicorn" and "Kangeroo-nicorn."

Bad puns abound; it's quite easy to groan and grimace at Breen's warped sense of humor. The book features a mischievous, spurious foreword by North Korean President Kim Jong Un.

The artist obviously had a lot of fun creating these striking images and putting together this weirdly enjoyable compilation.

Breen's collection of drawings shouldn't be gulped all in one sitting; it's best to savor them slowly.

Ray Walsh, owner of East Lansing’s Curious Book Shop, 
has reviewed books regularly since 1987.

Find this book and other great titles
at the Curious Book Shop, an independent 
book shop in East Lansing, founded in 1969.

Curious Book Shop
307 East Grand River Avenue
East Lansing, Michigan

This review was originally published by the Lansing State Journal on June 8, 2014.

No comments:

Post a Comment