Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Dozen Books I Judged By Their Cover

Don't judge a book by its cover? Shows how much you know! I've been shallowly evaluating books by their title and cover art for most of my life, and as much as every believer in clich├ęs will hate me for this, most of the time my cover exam has been a dead on indicator of the book within.

Anyway, for today I’ve decided to pick my favorite titles. Not all the titles are matched up against great books, but at least it will give you a laugh before you shove it behind the latest volume of Wimpy Kid. So here goes the latest attempt at brilliance from the limited mind of an adult who reads too many children’s books.

1.     Dear Napoleon, I Know You’re Dead, But…
By Elvira Woodruff
I think my favorite book by Elvira Woodruff is George Washington's Socks which isn't such a bad title either, but considering the fact that Judy Blume's Margaret had already written to God twenty-two years before, who was left for this young man to write to but the dead version of a tiny guy with a bad temper and an appetite for world conquest? Elvira Woodruff is the tops when it comes to writing history back into a readable form for today's youth.
2.     Dear God, HELP!!! Love, Earl
By Barbara Park
Here's another letter to God, and this time it's Earl who needs to talk. The book is another of your average bullied kid struggling to find a way to overcome the stereotypical bully stories. The one thing that this book has going for it is Barbara Park. If anyone is qualified to write this story, then she is it. I mean, she gave the world Junie B. Jones, a character whose influence has grown beyond even  that of Ramona Quimby. While Dear God, HELP!!! Love, Earl is definitely not even close to being  a huge hit, it's got the nod for great title if for no other reason than a title character named Earl tickles me.
3.     Dear George Clooney: Please Marry My Mom
By Susin Nielsen-Fernlund
If you can't get ahold of God, isn't George Clooney the next best thing…well, ladies? Just kidding. Anyway, this book has to make you wonder what George Clooney thinks of the fact that he's become more desirable as a potential stepfather than as a potential husband. Correct me if I'm wrong, but nothing has come out in past few years titled Marry Me, George Clooney, has it?
4.     My Sister is So Bossy She Says You Can’t Read This Book
By Mary Hershey
Forgive me, but when I first came across this book, my first impulse was to check the author to make sure during my childhood I didn't write it and get it published in my sleep. Okay, so I made that up but how many people out there can identify with this at least a little bit? This is easily one of the best titles in the list, but Mary Hershey's other titles are all pretty funny. She's only written a few others, but she's well on her way to being the only author with multiple titles on my list.  
5.     Moxy Maxwell Does Not Love Writing Thank You Notes
By Peggy Gifford
Moxy Maxwell doesn't enjoy quite a few things, but this is the best stated by my way of thinking. That might be because the other things she doesn't like are Stuart Little, a harmlessly delightful mouse, and practicing the piano even though she loves recitals. I can't abide hating a mentally gifted rodent, and I really don't know what to say about someone who performs publicly without properly preparing for the performance. That's just wrong. But thank you notes? I'm pretty sure I still owe a few people those for a graduation party that took place close to a decade ago. Don't hold your breath, family and friends! It's just not gonna happen.
6.     I Am a Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I Want to Be Your Class President
By Josh Lieb
Hey, Oliver Watson, wait for me! I can be evil too! Kind of. I have been known to pull off an unspeakably evil act or two of my own every so often. For instance, a month ago I had a hankering for an Oreo and even though there were only two left in the box and even though I knew my fiancee would love that other Oreo, I took them both for myself. See what I mean? Evil. Pure unspeakable evil.
7.     Sleeping Ugly
By Jane Yolen
Aside from the fact that this promises to be the best re-imagining of Sleeping Beauty ever, it's funny. More than that, it's accurate. Who sleeps beautifully? Not me! Most mornings I wake up looking like I was on wrong end of boxing match with an alligator. Thank goodness I've managed to find someone who puts up with that among my numerous other faults.
8.     When Dinosaurs Came With Everything
By Elise Broach
In this time of recession, maybe this is just the sort of offer that would bring the American economy back to its former glory. Buying a head of broccoli? That comes with a brontosaurus. In that case, I'll take three. Are you in the market for a new car? What if I threw in a pterodactyl to sweeten the deal? Now that's salesmanship! Elise Broach ought to write more picture books. She could save us all.
9.     How Come the Best Clues Are Always In the Garbage?
By Linda Bailey
How come the butler always does it? Why are all great detectives addicted to tobacco products? If Dr. Watson was always out helping Sherlock Holmes solve mysteries, who stayed behind to tend his struggling medical practice? I don't know. What can I say? Read the book. Good title. Great questions.
10.  Once Upon a Time, the End (Asleep in 60 Seconds)
By Geoffrey Kloske
If only all bedtime stories were so successful, the world would be a better rested place. If this book worked like the title implies, Geoffrey Kloske would be a millionaire and having a copy of his book would as essential as  a refrigerator or indoor plumbing. Unfortunately, I don't think it works that way. Children still fight sleep like knights fight dragons or the Super Mario Brothers fight King Koopa. I don't foresee someone coming up with a solution to the restlessness of tired children, but the title definitely gives us all hope.
11.  The Clue of the Linoleum Lederhosen
By M.T. Anderson
I want a pair of linoleum lederhosen. Since no one wants floors or countertops made from that stuff anymore, I think someone should develop the lederhosen and save the linoleum industry. If you like this first idea, then you'll love M.T. Anderson's other idea from this series: Whales On Stilts! How boring are human stilt walkers? It's been done. But whales? It's groundbreaking. It's the future!
12.  How to Grow Up and Rule the World, by Vordak the Incomprehensible
By Scott Seegert
Vordak…what to say about Vordak? Well, if I take the advice found in the book, I would say I bow down to him and his great and incomprehensible evil. Of course, this list is based on the quality of the title alone, and the title is hilarious. That is, it's hilarious unless the person reading it takes it seriously, in which case the person reading it is hilarious. Take a look at the cover illustration also. That cape he's wearing is a trip! Wonderful. Just wonderful.

Well, there it is. Take it for what it’s worth. I hope you giggled. If not, get a sense of humor for goodness sake. I don’t have time to teach you to laugh. What kind of a person can’t laugh at a book called Sleeping Ugly anyway?

No comments:

Post a Comment