Pulling Weeds from a Cactus Garden By Nathalie Tierce, 47 pgs.

Mar 15, 2022

Adult books created to look like they’re designed for children have always been one of my favorite microgenres in publishing. Childhood is often so mysterious and frightening that there’s a lot of room for illustrators to tweak the acceptable formulas and produce genuinely disturbing books realistically disguised as storybooks. I would put Tierce’s latest up with artists like Edward Gorey and Ralph Steadman, who both worked this angle to great effect.

Nathalie Tierce has worked as an artist for Shel Silverstein, The Rolling Stones, and Tim Burton, to name a few, before turning her considerable talents to creating this book.  Pulling Weeds… definitely feels very of-the-moment, as the paintings it’s based around were created to reflect the feelings of pandemic living over the last two-plus years. Tierce’s art uses exaggerated features, dreamlike imagery, and scratchy, frenetic backgrounds to convey the anger, fear, and bewilderment brought so sharply into focus since the onset of COVID-19. The text accompanying the images is simple, but never clichéd, and stylized like haiku or other short poetry. All in all, this would make a perfect gift for the person in your life who already has some disturbing art on their walls or coffee table. –Justin Bookworm (Indigo Raven Publishing, 350 N Glendale Ave. Ste #306, Glendale, CA 91206)

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