By Dave Barton
By LP Hastings
By Sarah Bennett
By LP Hastings
By Jena Ardell
By Steve Lowery
By R. Scott Moxley
By Joel Beers
It's happened again. Yet another celebrity has sent forth into the Children's Kingdom of Unneeded Crap yet another piece of crap. Yup, I'm talking about Madonna and her second trite little tale, Mr. Peabody's Apples, a tot-sized tome filled with all the gender stereotypes the Maternal One spent her 20s and 30s trying to shatter. But Madonna, like an abundance of celebrities—and other bad writers—thinks she has something important to say to children, you see. This story is about gossip, and Mrs. Ritchie feels she's an expert on the subject. But while we all agree that gossip is bad, there's a big difference between little Marco telling everyone little Jenny has cooties and the Enquirersuggesting you swallowed Dennis Rodman's 10-incher. So where does Madonna get off educating children? How about in I-can-publish-any-piece-of-shit-I-want-to-because-I'm-a-celebrity-ville.
She's not alone, of course. Everyone from Prince Charles to Jimmy Buffet, Bette Midler to Fred Gwynne (Herman Munster), John Travolta to Dom Deluise and back has dipped their quills into the Easy Book inkwell. The literary world is never short on stupid books, and the poor little children suffer just as much as the rest of us with crack titles from unfamous bad writers like Wow! It's Great Being a Duck, Mud Is Cake and Night Shift Daddy—which might do better on the adult bookrack. Stupid celebrity books are the most annoying, however, because these tards never spent a day learning how to write. They've never had their manuscript rejected or tried to scrape together rent money off a legitimately published piece. They merely repeat a cliché, hire an expensive illustrator to distract you from their vapid prose, get a million bucks for it and then work the talk-show circuit selling themselves as humble pros.
Bitter? Yes! But I'm also right.
Not everyone can be a genius, of course. We have only one Shel Silverstein (The Giving Tree), Roald Dahl (James and the Giant Peach), Dr. Seuss and A.A. Milne. We have only one H.A. Rey, author of the Curious George series, and—unfortunately—we have only one audio book tape of Barbara Bush reading Curious George Rides a Bike that is currently, curiously, out of print. But being an un-genius doesn't mean you have the right to publish bullshit you penned in your limo on the way to an awards show while snorting coke and then try to dupe the public into buying it. But many have tried.
Shaquille O'Neal did it pretty successfully with his ego-inspired book of fairytales Shaq and the Beanstalk and Other Very Tall Tales.Get it? Shaq-tall-tales? This piece of shit features several Grimm stories all with the mumbling BB player as star—including a turn as Little Red. What would we ever have done without another rehash of "Little Red Riding Hood"—with Shaq as the Red bitch-ho? Just be glad this was never made into an audio book.
California first lady Maria Shriver dumped some crap, too. What's Heaven? is the story of Kate, a girl with "beautiful eyes and long brown hair that framed her face" who asks her mommy, "Why are you so sad?" and is told her great-grandma has died and gone to heaven. Then we get even more unique prose with descriptions of heaven as a place where "no one is sick or unhappy" with the all-caps line: GREAT-GRANDMA IS SAFE IN HEAVEN. Pure genius, really. It's printed in Spanish, too, but in that one Kate's gran abuela is just deported.Somewhere in Time's Jane Seymour apparently needed to enlist backup brainpower from her hubby, actor/dolt James Keach (you remember him from Smokey and the Hotwire Gang, right?). Burning the noonday oil together, they managed to spew out the clearly Jungian Yum! A Tale of Two Cookies.I smell Pulitzer.
How about John Lithgow? Anyone who starred in Harry and the Hendersons and 3rd Rock From the Sun is an obvious choice to scribble down I'm a Manatee, about a boy who thinks he's a sea creature and therefore "sprinkles seaweed on his raisin bran-atee." Harpoon, anyone?
Then there are stars with an agenda. Who is surprised that Jesus-freak Della Reese's realistic God Inside of Me is about little Kenisha, who learns about God when her wacky toys suddenly spring to life. Okay, I'm surprised. Is Kenisha on dope? And then there are those without an agenda—and without even a catchy title. Ally Sheedy is compelled to tell us She Was Nice to Mice and Jamie Lee Curtis asks Where Do Balloons Go? They're on her chest as far as we know.
There are a slim number of celebrity books worth a read, of course. Harvey Fierstein's The Sissy Duckling is about a duck that would rather bake than box and perform a cheerleader show than play baseball. Not everyone can relate, but at least a book about a gay duck is different and might actually help a nelly boy feel better. Then there's Julie Andrews. This darling of American cinema has been writing children's books since 1974, all using her married name, Edwards. Read: no ego. I checked out The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles, her 200-page young-adult reader (that means no pictures to distract from crappy prose), and it's charming. But maybe I just have a whangdoodle for Mary Poppins. Boners equal cash, after all, and that's what these dicks are banking on.