Pure Dead…

If I had had more time I would have read every single Pure Dead book by Debi Gliori. I have lost count of how many she has written, but think it’s about seven. (If I could only find a website, Debi, to check…) The Pure Dead something or other books are exactly the sort of thing I was going on about yesterday. Funny. 

What’s more, Debi has not killed off lots of parents to let the children gallivant through literature on their own. This is proof that you don’t have to have dead adults to make it a child friendly story. Child characters can go off and do stupid things with parents all over the place. It helps if they are as unconventional as the Strega-Borgias. A bit Addams family, but more Strega-Borgia. 

They live in Scotland, which is always nice. Scope for kilts, monsters in the water, chilly castles and things. Lovely nanny for the three little Strega-Borgias, and a charming butler for everyone. To have a cook called Marie Bain is funny, and suggests the books aren’t only aimed at young readers. There’s a cryogenically preserved great-lots-of-times granny. She wakes up from time to time.

I especially like their pet Ffup.

They also have pet rats and pet spiders, and the reader becomes quite fond of them all. And like anyone more conventionally normal they have problems with roofs and other house related issues. Even when the house is a castle. Perhaps particularly when the house is a castle.

Extended family is another safe problem area. Here they can be a bit Italian. The littlest Strega-Borgia is called Damp. Something to do with nappies. The mother is a witch, which I approve of wholeheartedly.

I should really have kept up with buying all the books, in hardback. The first one, which I do own, is purple velvet, and anything more perfect would be hard to find.

3 responses to “Pure Dead…

  1. I have to confess to owning all of these in gorgeous hardback velvetiness – I started off buying them for my youngest son, but continued buying them for myself to complete the set. They are wonderful books to read aloud – they seem to me (and my son) to be even funnier when spoken.

  2. Tell me where you live and I’ll be around with a large bag later…

    When I used to help in the school library, my job was to cover all new books in plastic, and it hurt my soul wrapping the velvet in that dreadful stuff.

  3. “purple velvet, and anything more perfect would be hard to find.”
    Hear, hear!

    I didn’t cover my school library copy I must say, but it is starting to go a bit brown :0(

    I quite fancy trying her series for younger readers “Witch Baby and me”. I am a huge fan of Debi Gliori’s picture books. I can’t read “Where did that baby come from?” or “No matter what” without shedding a few tears. Unashamedly.

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