Thursday, March 11, 2010

Fungus the Bogeyman

Fungus the Bogeyman
Raymond Briggs ~ Hamish Hamilton, 1977


Oddly, my husband hates this book. He finds it lacking in plot and tiresome to read. He even goes so far as to feel a slight animosity towards it for dragging the same joke out page and page after page. That said, my almost five-year-old son thinks it is (quote/unquote), soooo awesome!!! Who do you suppose wins in that battle?

Little known in the U.S., I imagine this to be somewhat of a classic across the pond in Great Britain... am I right? Now, if you find the word "damn" offensive when used in a children's book, read no further. If you think things like slime and mold and slugs and curdled milk and cow patties are revolting, hit that little red X in the right hand corner of you screen and don't return here until tomorrow when this post will be nothing more than a memory. But if you are into existential thinking and skin boils and poetry and mucus and pus...The sun sinks below the hills. The birds are hushed. NIGHT is coming. But...... far, far below..... in THE TUNNELS in the wet, dripping tunnels of Bogeydom, (a land where the light is as darkness) the Bogeyman are stirring in their beds.... the roofs of the houses are wet, the walls are slimy and dank. A damp chill hangs in the air. Now, as the light fades from THE TUNNELS, it is the black dawn of a new Bogey day.........then meet Fungus the Bogeyman as he goes about his day and ponders the very meaning of his existence. Told in comic book style, the story is part children's book, part nature guide, teaching you everything you ever wanted to know about the Bogeyman while following a day-in-the-life of Fungus. Did you know Bogeymen coat their bodies in muck when they wake up in the morning? That they eat rotten eggs and fish for breakfast and scatter the walls of their underground world with grave philosophical statements like SILENCE IS DEEP AS ETERNITY SPEECH IS SHALLOW AS TIME? Did you know their favorite drink is slime and that their "night job" is scaring the crap out of YOU? That they have three nipples?

Ahhh yes, my son can tell you everything there is to know about the Bogeyman, thanks to Mr. Briggs and his terrible book. A book for anyone who has ever wondered "what it's all for". Or at the very least... their offspring.

Also by:
The Snowman

5 comments:

ZackRock said...

Raymond Briggs is flat out one of my favorite comic artists/children's book authors. His books Ethel and Ernest and The Snowman had me bawling the first time I read them, and When the Wind Blows was downright terrifying. I can't recommend his stuff enough.

That being said, however, I've never actually read Fungus the Bogeyman. Looks like it's horrible fun! Also reminds me a bit of David Greenberg's Slugs in its attempt to get the readers squirming in their seats. I'll have to find a copy as soon as possible.

Rebecca Newman said...

My brothers and I loved Raymond Briggs when we were growing up! I remember getting Fungus out the library on several occasions. We liked one about Father Christmas too.

Alaskalainen said...

I wonder if this book influenced the creation of Shrek...

Scribbler said...

Definitely could have influenced Steig since there was 13 years between publication dates. Though I so love the art and idea of this book, the way steig writes just kills me. so much of Shrek the book is pure poetry. he had a way with words that was totally his own, whereas the writing in this book parodies so many other things (certain philosophical writings and things like a the nod to Cold Comfort Farm 'I saw something nasty in the woodshed'.) which reminds me... that means shrek is now technically a vintage book... off to the bookshelf. be expecting a review today! (My son adores Shrek and I've not spoiled it yet by showing him the movie.)

paulstickland said...

Raymond Briggs was my tutor at Brighton Art College, where I studied Illustration in the late 70s. He was a great inspiration and as a working and very successful illustrator, he gave me a real glimpse of the children's book world and pointed me in the right direction when I left college and started my own children's book career. www.paulstickland.tumblr.com

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