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A is for Amy who fell down the stairs: A morbid, illustrated alphabet poem

Feb 2, 2011 By Abraham

The Gashlycrumb Tinies by Edward Gorey is an illustrated alphabet book published in 1963. In it, each letter is represented by a child whose name starts with that letter and who happens to die in a way that rhymes with a neighboring child’s demise.

Very pleasant.

It may come as no surprise that, despite writing dozens of books for kids, Mr. Gorey had no children and didn’t even really like them that much.

…and so on.


  1. mlt says:

    Dear Uncle Abe,

    I do have children and numerous grandchildren, whom I love, and yet I find this hilariously appealing. Should I be worried?

    Ambivalent in Georgia

  2. Brittany says:

    Is it at all normal that we read that poem in high school and then had to write our own? In all honesty, it was one of the best projects we had all year!

  3. Andy says:

    I knew what this post was about as soon as I read the title; I also knew that it was Amy, not Alice, that met her demise first among the Tinies.

    Something is wrong with me.

  4. Chase says:

    I have some of Gorey’s books. If I’m remembering correctly, I once read that he never considered his work to be for children and was frustrated that people considered his work to be comical. Oh misunderstood artists!

    Gorey’s work was also inspiration for the music video for the Nine Inch Nails’ The Perfect Drug.

    1. Photographer Leia says:

      Considering the subject matter I always thought it was pretty clear that Gorey’s books weren’t children’s books. That said, if I had children and they wanted to read him I would tell them to go right on ahead.

  5. Tracey says:

    Alice looks like she is falling down the stairs at Scarlet and Rhett’s mansion. This stuff looks awesome, looked up his work on Amazon. Thanks!

  6. Amy says:

    As an Amy who has fallen down the stairs several times in my 16 years of living…I find the letter A to be frightingly accurate.

    1. Amy says:

      As a klutzy Amy who also routinely falls down, my best friend thought it would be funny to buy and frame a print of letter ‘A’ and give it to me for Christmas. I’m just upset that letter ‘M’ wasn’t “Michael” so I return the favour.

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