09 August 2007

Celebrity Authors--they get on my nerves!

Publisher's Weekly reports that Laura and Jenna Bush have signed with Harper Collins to release an as yet untitled picture book in 2008. The book will come with some pedigree: Jenna Bush is already an author with a YA novel scheduled for a late 2007 release; this new book will be illustrated by Denise Brunkus, illustrator of the Junie B. Jones series; and of course, Laura Bush is the US First Librarian, if you will. So perhaps this new book will be more than just another big name cash-in. But books by celebrity authors are a dime a dozen these days, and I can count on one hand those that I think are any good. Was there really a hole in the market for soppy-adoring-parent books that was plugged by Spike and Tanya Lee's Please Baby Please, despite the fine illustraions by Kadir Nelson? Has any child been uplifted by Katie Couric's Blue Ribbon Day? Or had their sensibilities realigned by Harvey Fierstein's The Sissy Duckling? And there was just NO excuse for those Madonna books.

But they say that a broken clock is correct at least twice a day. And there are in fact some books by celebrity authors which are really worth reading. So here is my handful:

The Remarkable Farkle McBride (Lithgow, John)
Where do ballons go? An uplifting mystery (Curtis, Jamie Lee)
Let George do it (Foreman, George)
Lu and the Swamp Ghost (Carville, James--with help from Patricia McKissick)
The Last of the really great whangdoodles (Edwards, Julie Andrews)

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