Sunday, September 19, 2010

Trivia Sunday- Writing for kids? How hard could that be?

I read over at Chris's Bookarama last week that Obama has written a book for children. I realize that he's written books before, but it started me thinking about all those celebrities who have jumped into the children's book game. After all, how hard could that be? Here are some reviews of children's books written by celebrities. For one point, tell me the celebrity in question. For additional 2 points, tell me the title.

As always, feel free to do all ten at home, but please only answer one in the comment section below. It'll allow for nine others to play along.

1. "...let's not be blinded by the fairydust: if __ had not written the book, it would not have been reviewed. Its interest is as an accessory for those curious about ___. And it can, if you like, be read as an allegory for her own life. But I am most intrigued by its aspirational wistfulness, its bid for Englishness. It was strange bordering on perverse to see ___, at her party, impersonating a fragile primary-school teacher in flowery frock. Why, I wondered, does she want to join this particular flowerbed? Perhaps because she is an actress playing at what she can never be - a JK Rowling..." - Kate Kellaway, The Observer

2. "A welcome debut from an accomplished actor, the remarkable ___. Limericklike rhyming text recounts the tale of a musical prodigy [...] Encore!" - Kirkus Reviews

3. "...Predictably, our hero braves the scorn and cruelty of classmates resistant to a fresh face. Finally, he finds a friend in a girl sensitive enough to reach out to him. Not much of a story, but enough to remind young listeners once again that different and unknown are not reason enough to turn away." - Terry Schwadron, The NY Times

4. "While ____'s fame as an actor may get this adoption story special attention, it deserves recognition in its own right [...]It does not delve into the complexity of adoptive dynamics, but simply affirms family love, the pleasure parents feel about new babies, and how pleased children are to hear the story of their birth."- Ruth K. MacDonald, School Library Journal

5. "...The overly long text begins with eight-year-old Kate noticing a boy who looks 'different.'[...]Because of ___'s name, this will get a lot of publicity, but more kid-friendly books include Nan Gregory's How Smudge Came to Town (1999) and Alden Carter's Big Brother Dustin (1997). " - Booklist

6. "___ writes without a hint of the razor-sharp comic instincts he brings to his acting, and the result is a maudlin discourse on what constitutes Truth with a capital 'T.' Pardon me for thinking kids face greater hazards and let-downs than Dad’s fib about the fate of missing teeth."- Anne Levy, Book Buds

7. "In this meager offering, a young narrator (a ___ look-alike with short legs) describes his father, who likes to do things in a big way. Dad decides to build a patio complete with rotisserie, and the boy gleefully rides the wave of his enthusiasm[...] Every scene is so over the top both visually and verbally that there's no subtlety of characterization or meaningful introspection. The garishness of the narrative is matched by the full-color, Mad Magazine-like illustrations where people appear as larger-than-life caricatures. Some youngsters may be carried along on the crest of this wave. More insightful readers will recognize the ensuing emptiness." - Martha Topol, School Library Journal

8. "our heroine is picked on at her new school, but with the help of new friends, camp Rudy and Crazy Trevor - allegedly inspired by ____'s own best pals George Michael and Gordon Ramsay - 'good overcame evil and we totally came through'. It's all quite good fun actually, but with prose like that I don't think the likes of Anne Fine or Michael Rosen need fear for their laurels at present." - Stephanie Merritt, The Observer

9. "The good news is that ____ has written a second children's book about grandparenting, a field in which there are far too few entries. The book is a fitting follow-up to his first, written before the birth of his granddaughter and called I Already Know I Love You. The bad news is that he hasn't overcome the prediliction for awkward phrasing that sometimes marred his first book."- Susan Adcox, Guide

10. "Baseball superstar ____ may be a great home-run hitter, but he's not a writer; this tale of hitting the game-winning run ____ is not only cliched but also uninterestingly related." - Horn Book Review


raidergirl3 said...

I'm guessing #4 is Jamie Lee Curtis.

pooker said...

Hmm...I'm guessing #1 is Madonna for The English Roses.

John Mutford said...

Raidergirl: That's it. Can you also name the book?

Pooker: That's her-- perhaps the most maligned of them all. I, for the most part, agree with bad The English Roses reviews. However, I don't think she did a bad job with Mr. Peabody's Apples. However, by that time, Madonna's writing career had been effectively killed and I think people lined up to slag her, for once unfairly.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I'm completely flummoxed by these reviews, although I think I would have guessed correctly at #1, had I gotten here on time.

Kate said...

I don't know any of the answers, but some of the reviews had me laughing out loud!

raidergirl3 said...

No I can't, not without looking it up. It's something like Tell Me About the Day I Was Born. Belleza had Jamie Lee Curtis at her school this week.

Also, I know #2.

John Mutford said...

Barbara: I figured the Madonna one was going to go quickly.

Kate: I thought the "ensuing emptiness" was an especially nice touch.

Raidergirl: Close enough. It's "Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born"-- a phrase oft repeated by my daughter.

Bellezza said...

Yikes! I hardly thought celebrities could write, as you saw on my post on Ms. Jamie Lee Curtis, and still have my doubts. ;)

However, I did love Steve Martin's The Shopgirl. Otherwise, I'd just as soon let celebrities act and writers write.

Thanks for visiting me today, it's nice to meet you. Coincidentally, we have the same number of books on our TBR pile.

Chrisbookarama said...

I'm terrible at this. The only one I figured out was Madonna.

PS- Thanks for the linkage!

Allison said...

I didn't even guess the Madonna one.

I'm not good with reviews; I hardly ever read them for film or books. Except here, of course. ;)