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Cover for Old Misery

Old Misery

James Sage, Russell Ayto (Illustrator)


List Price: 16.99*
* Individual store prices may vary.


Poor Old Misery. She and her old cat, Rutterkin, “ain't got two pennies to rub together.” And the one thing of value she does have ---a tree, filled with good eating apples --- is regularly ransacked by humans and animals of all kinds who make off with armloads of apples! So, one day, when a surprise visitor grants her a wish, Old Misery tells him, “There's but one wish for me, mister, and it's this here: whoever I catch stealing apples off my tree will get stuck to it until I decide to let them go!” At first, it seems like her wish was a terrific idea, as she catches all the apple thieves and sends them on their way for good. But then Old Misery decides to use her new power on another surprise visitor. And she learns what may be the most miserable lesson of all: be careful what you wish for!

Taking his inspiration from one of the world's oldest folktales, author James Sage has created a playful allegory about why misery exists in the world, and always will. Award-winning Russell Ayto's two-color, pen-and-ink illustrations do a superb job of evoking the eccentric and slightly macabre feel of the book, perfectly complementing the original voice of the storytelling. The dark humor and a vintage feel will make this picture book a hit with fans of Edward Gorey and Lemony Snicket.

Praise For Old Misery

The casket shape of this weird little ditty provides plenty of room for the bizarrely expansive interiors of Old Misery's home, within which Ayto's Goreyesque figures posture.—Booklist

Shelve this bonbon with Edward Gorey.—Kirkus Reviews

... packs a hefty intellectual, verbal, visual, and humorous punch!—CM Magazine

The Lemony Snicket doomsday style of writing has an old fashioned feel ...—School Library Connection

Readers who enjoy the unsettling nature of Edward Gorey stories will see similarities with this book in both the art and the themes.—Resource Links

Kids Can Press, 9781771388238, 40pp.

Publication Date: May 1, 2018

About the Author

James Sage is the author of over a dozen books for children. His first book, illustrated with photographs by Robert Doisneau, was awarded a Prix d'Arles. He lives in Lincolnshire, England.

Russell Ayto has illustrated many picture books, including Whoops! and The Witch's Children series. Among his many honors are a Roald Dahl Funny Prize and two Kate Greenaway Medal nominations. Russell lives in Cornwall, England.