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Donald and the... by Peter F. Neumeyer
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May 06, 10

bookshelves: short-stories, visual-art
Read on May 06, 2010 — I own a copy, read count: 1

Donald and the… is another book by Peter F. Neumeyer and Edward Gorey in which the grim style deployed in Gorey’s pictures functions to undermine readers’ expectations with regard to the conventions of representation typically employed in children’s books. Moreover, the story raises many questions that it does not answer. For instance, although Donald’s mother is an important character both in this book and in Donald Has a Difficulty, Donald’s father is not mentioned, nor is the reader told where he is. In one of the pictures, Donald is shown sitting on his bed working on a model of a building he has constructed from matches and glue. This suggests something of Donald’s capacity for imagination and planning, but also calls attention to the fact that Donald does not appear to own any toys—although the furniture (including the grotesque garbage can) imply that Donald and his mother are not poor, Donald is never shown with a toy car, a bicycle, even a stick and a hoop. Does this imply that Donald is living in the Victorian era, in which children were seen not as children, but as little adults? At the time Donald is building his model, he is in his bedroom because he has “painful ribs”; this is quite specific, and yet at the same time quite vague; what, exactly, is wrong with Donald? Perhaps the largest question the story raises is that of what happens after the narrative ends; events could go one of several ways, but Gorey and Neumeyer have left this last riddle for the reader to work out in his or her imagination.
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