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Everyone Poops. Everyone Uses Math. And now, thanks to writer/illustrator Ken Tanaka, EVERYBODY DIES...
of crudely drawn skulls greet the reader on page one and bid them adieu once
again at the end, conjuring up The Catacombs of Paris as if sketched by a kindergartner. A catalog of “diseases that could be killing you
right now” are illustrated with grimly primitive care, and in an added dash of pathos we are asked, in colorful magic marker drawings, to confront the sobering notion of losing our family, our
house-pets, and even ourselves.
Takaka’s timing could not be better. Thanks to Adam Mansbach and
Ricardo Cortes’ runaway bestseller GO THE FUCK TO SLEEP (not to mention Samuel
Jackson’s riveting audio rendition of such), it seems to be high season for
children’s books aimed at the parents rather than their offspring.
Tanaka’s straightforward, matter-of-fact style is pitch perfect with
the pre-pubertal publications it so succinctly mimics. So much so, it would be no surprise to one day discover EVERYBODY DIES accidently shelved in the
children’s section of the local bookstore by some distracted staff
But here is the rub: It should be there.
one regrettable attribute of EVERYBODY DIES is that it doesn’t remain resolute
in its puerile convictions. By subtitling itself, “A children’s book for grown
ups,” Tanaka concedes defeat in not purposing the book to its true intended
target-audience: children. While adults
will find EVERYBODY DIES funny, there is a missed opportunity
here, as kids could learn a fundamental lesson from this book: every living thing must someday die.
it too perverse to think that children should be made aware of death as a
fundamental cornerstone of life? If EVERYONE POOPS successfully acquainted boys and girls with their bowels back in 2001, then we
might as well introduce them to their own eventual demise.
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