The Crow, Steve Martin’s 2009 banjo album, includes a track titled “Late for School” – a song I didn’t very much care for. The song, though energetic, was sloppy, with an inconsistent meter and some pretty labored rhymes.
Oh, and there was a second reason why I didn’t like “Late for School:”
“If Martin doesn’t turn that song into a bad children’s book,” I told my wife, “I’ll eat my hat.”
Well, I have good news and bad news.
The good news is my diet is 100% polyester-free. The bad news is…well, you know.
I haven’t been this disappointed in Steve Martin since he starred in Bringing Down the House.
Martin, of course, isn’t alone. He is far from alone. The picture book market is lousy with celebrity titles. Tiki Barber, Joy Behar, Katie Couric, Billy Crystal, Bob Dylan, George Foreman, Jeff Foxworthy, Whoopi Goldberg, Jay Leno, Jerry Seinfeld, Brooke Shields, and John Travolta are now “Men and Women of Letters.”
And the list goes on and on.
Yogi Berra’s on the list. Yep, the genial Yankees catcher, whose claim to fame is being kinda incoherent, wants to educate your children.
And, of course, there’s Madonna. When she was on TV plugging her first children’s book, she told the interviewer she wrote it because “I couldn’t believe how vapid and vacant and empty all the stories were.”
That interview was maybe 10 years ago, and I still remember that line. Oh, and I shall take that line to my grave.
This disturbing trend affects us all. When a celebrity children’s book is published, it doesn’t only make an angel cry, it robs the world of a spot on a publisher’s release list. That spot could’ve been given to a hard-working unknown who has dedicated his or her life to the craft of writing. But noooo…Neil Sedaka had to cut the line.
Well, it is time someone said “enough!”
I am that someone!
And I am looking for other someones to say “enough” also!
Consider this blog post a call to arms!
Join The Boycott Celebrity Children’s Book Association (BCCBA)!
You don’t have to be a writer to be a member, just a concerned someone who wishes to promote and encourage good writing by writers.
Joining couldn’t be simpler! To be a full-fledged, card-carrying member of BCCBA (cards not included) you only need to follow three rules:
- Boycott children’s books written by film, TV, pop, or reality show stars; politicians; newscasters; or sports figures.
- Respectfully discourage non-members from buying children’s books written by film, TV, pop, or reality show stars; politicians; newscasters; or sports figures.
- Come up with ways to respectfully encourage celebrities to submit their children’s book manuscripts under pseudonyms – so the stories may be judged on their literary merits alone.
I know, I know. Some of you are thinking, “But Jamie Lee Curtis is different! She can really write!” And you’re right, she can.
But for boycotts to succeed, sometimes the innocent must temporarily suffer. Fear not, friends; Curtis will be fine. Her books will almost certainly be accepted on the basis of the meritocracy model I propose. In the meantime, she can generate extra cash by making some more of those commercials for the yogurt that helps you poop.
So who’s with me?
Write a comment and show your support for the cause! All suggestions are welcome!
Join the Association and spread the word!
Only together can we make a difference!