The Ghastly Dandies Do the Classics by Ben Gibson

The Ghastly Dandies Do the Classics by Ben Gibson
Publisher: Razorbill
Genre: Preschool, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, picture book
Length: Short Story (64 pgs)
Age Recommendation: 3+
Rated: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Poppy

They’re dapper. They’re monstrous. They’re erudite. They’re the Ghastly Dandies, a breed of beast that happen to be as well-versed in classics as they are well-dressed in knickers and neckties!

These ghastlies are guaranteed to delight readers of all ages with their clever renditions of Moby Dick, Hamlet, The Odyssey, Pride and Prejudice, Sherlock Holmes, and more.

These classic, illustrated tales told by monsters are sure to make your own little “ghastly” giggle. It’s the kind of book you’ll want to read to your kids, read again with your friends, and show off on your coffee table when you’re done.

Don’t miss the first compendium of adult classics ever to be told by monsters!

For a humorous and very brief introduction to the classics like Moby Dick, Hamlet and The Great Gatsby, you could do worse than choosing The Ghastly Dandies Do the Classics.

The author tackles seven different classics in only a few pages, and I think that’s the only fault I found with this book. I wish he’d done fewer books in order to spend just a bit more time with each. I’m familiar with all the stories he features, and he just barely touches on the themes behind them. I realize preschoolers don’t have long attention spans, but I do believe the author’s talent with words and humor would have made things work.

There are some large words that parents will need to explain (even just in the blurb … erudite isn’t something you see in many preschool books), but I like that the author challenges the kids.

Things that made me laugh? When one of the dandies takes a bite out of Moby Dick and exclaims, “EW! Gross! Slimy whale blubber!” and then goes on to suggest they head home because rhubarb pie tastes better than revenge.

Some of the stories worked for me, like “Moby Dick”, but others were so briefly touched upon that they made little sense (“Hamlet” and “Pride and Prejudice” were two of the weakest).

Still, I completely enjoyed the pictures and the fun. I think preschoolers will take everything at face value and will, at least, know there are books with those names. It’s a decent intro and hopefully will intrigue enough that these new readers will seek out the actual stories when they’re older.


  1. Wow, I never would have thought to adapt “Hamlet” for a preschool audience. Is it safe to assume that section of the book was very heavily edited? 🙂

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