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Literature / No Such Things

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No Such Things is a 1983 children's storybook by Bill Peet.

In this book, Bill Peet shows the reader a fantastic bestiary of creatures that don't really exist, on a par with the weird menagerie of Dr. Seuss (almost).

This book contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Autocannibalism: While they don't seem to go as far as actually trying to eat themselves, the gullagaloops are so long they frequently catch their own tails while trying to find food.
  • Baldness Angst: The wig-tailed mopwoggins are bald on the tops of their heads, despite having long fur everywhere else. They're said to be embarrassed about it, and, as their name implies, they use the tuft of fur on their tails to hide it. This works so well that their bald spots are never visible except during careless moments.
  • Bizarre Alien Locomotion:
    • The Flumpers are snakes that coil up into a tire shape and roll.
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    • The Skeezaboos have horns so long that they can and do use them as skis.
  • Breath Weapon: The juggarums use their smelly breath to stun the dragonflies they eat.
  • The Ditz:
    • The glubzunks, which resemble sunken logs, are usually too slow (physically and mentally) to make any use of their natural camouflage for catching frogs.
    • The spooky-tailed tizzy has a very small brain that means she often sees her own tail as a threat.
    • The flubduds stand with their front feet on their bigger hind feet and don't have the intelligence to move them. They can't even eat until the grass grows within their reach.
  • Planimal: Grabnabbits are undersea creatures that are halfway between animals and plants.
  • Proud Beauty: The fandangoes are horse-like creatures, most of which are covered in brilliant colors. They spend a lot of time admiring their own reflections, and the narrator admits they seem arrogant.
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  • Pun: The narrator tells us that the blue-snouted twumps serve as "fodder and mother" to their offspring.
  • Reused Character Design:
    • Bordering on Recycled Script; the Skeezaboos are essentially a rehash of the premise of Buford the Little Bighorn (1967).
    • The spooky-tailed tizzy likewise resembles his earlier character Prewitt the Peacock, with the exception that it's not smart enough to remember the scary thing behind it is its own tail.
  • Snakes Are Sinister: Subverted with the Flumpers, which are similar to hoopsnakes. However, unlike certain versions of hoopsnakes, they don't bite and their glee at the fun of bouncing through the countryside and disappointment when they eventually lose the ability make them more sympathetic than scary.
  • Weaponized Stench: The juggarums weaponize their smelly breath for hunting. One puff stuns a dragonfly, which then falls and gets eaten by the juggarum.