Thursday, May 10, 2007
This is something that's been bugging me for some time -- all these books for children that are written by celebrities who (probably) mean well but have no clue, and the publishers should be publicly humiliated for pushing out this stuff.
I'd been meaning to put together a post about it, but then I came across this little gem in Bookslut's children's book area -- so now I don't have to! :-)
People seem to think that it's easy to put together a children's book -- they're short and simple, right? Get someone to make some pretty pictures to go along with the words, and you can whip one off in an afternoon. Uh-uh, I don't think so. I remember hearing that Dr. Seuss spent months wrestling with the word list for The Cat in the Hat and almost gave up in frustration.
Not that these celebrity-written books are all bad. My kids insisted on checking out one of John Lithgow's books from the library, and I found it enjoyable, funny, and well written -- and, more important, so did they. We check out his books again and again. They also picked Jay Leno's once, but after a quick read-through they were happy to take it back and haven't looked at it since.
Here is a link to an interesting commentary by children's author Jon Scieszka about celebrity writers and children's books. He is absolutely right that when it comes down to it, it's the children who will be the judges of the books -- and they could care less who wrote them, as long as they're good. Still, I won't be sorry to see the end of this particular trend.