Friday, June 28, 2013

Book Review Time

The other day, my friend Kool Papa asked if I would recommend a book to another friend of mine, Patty 4-Names. I said sure, that I would be glad to. After all, anytime I can do something to help promote literacy, count me in, especially, among friends. Seriously, Kool Papa and Patty 4-Names are easily, two of the more well read people I have never known. They certainly put me to shame.

This got me to thinking that it would be a good idea to do a little reading of my own. I harken back to a column I wrote November 14, 2009. It was titled “Intervention Update” and discussed my attempt to start reading a pile of books that had accumulated on my shelf.

With that in mind, I grabbed the first book I saw and read it from cover to cover before I turned on Hell’s Kitchen. Honest. I even read it again this morning before writing this blog. Seriously, I did.

Okay, this book couldn’t be classified as a tome. You might call it a quick read. It is less than 40 pages and half of those are illustrations. But it is quite compelling, a real page-turner. The title of this little gem is “Cherise The Niece” by J.K. Benton. It was a gift from my friend from Michigan,
Sharon and it is cherished.

“Cherise The Niece” is called an “adult picture book” and is recommended for readers 14 years and older. This is because it’s a spine-tingling, yet amusing tale of a troubled little girl that may be doing away with her aunts one-by-one. It is illustrated and is told completely in rhyme. It is a darkly comic masterpiece of the macabre.

The bloody footprints leading out of Cherise’s bedroom are the first clue that perhaps the little darling with the bow in her hair is not an angel. As Cherise is shuttled from one aunt’s home to another, her aunts vanish, meeting with creative and hysterical ends. With a killer punch line on its final page, Benton’s Cherise will leave you laughing. It did me.

About the author – Benton is a writer and artist who might draw a happy bunny one moment and write poems about a scary little niece the next. It’s probably best not to ask why. His characters, including Happy Bunny, Franny K. Stein, and the New York Times bestseller Dear Dumb Diary, are licensed worldwide and appear in books and calendars, and on T-shirts, stickers, magnets, and more.

Here are a couple of short excerpts:

“She was orphaned quite young.
In a mysterious way,
Her Parents just up and
Vanished one day.”

“She stayed for a while,
With her dear old Aunt Bea,
‘Til one day when bug spray
Wound up in her tea.”

Good stuff, huh? Don’t take my word for it. I found these reviews for the book on the Internet:

“This was such a cute book. Okay, it’s a picture book with a dark humor that is meant for anyone but kids. The pictures were good; the writing had a great flow. Definitely something I would read again.” – Michelle

“Dark and funny. My husband found this book for me when he ran into the dollar store for tape… I love it!” - Angela

“My uncle bought this for me as a joke and I thoroughly enjoyed It.” – Justine

“Adorable, but isn’t it supposed to be a children’s book?” – Cecellia

“This is dumb, pointless and not funny or cute. Absolutely meritless.” - Catalinna

“Very strange. Strange is good.” – Nicole

If strange is indeed good, then “Cherise The Niece” is VERY good. That’s it for my book review. If you would like to borrow my copy, just ask, although I saw it on Amazon for less than $4.00. What should I read next? Hmm…

Until next time…from the booth.

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