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message 1: by ABC (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:28PM) (new)

ABC (mary6543) | 341 comments I just went to Amazon and his ABC book popped up immediately. I have no idea if it is good or not, but I just hate it when celebrities write books. Why doesn't he use a pseudonym and see if it still sells?

And like the world need ANOTHER ABC book! LOL


message 2: by Bree (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:29PM) (new)

Bree (coffeebeanbookshelf) Wow...just wow. I can't believe how ignorant some people are (about the Jamie Lee Curtis book thing)!

I won't buy or look at Madonna's books, but I don't like her, and think that a lot of celebs do things like this for dumb reasons (oh, I can sing...apparently I can act, and write books, and design clothes, and make up a signature scent...etc etc).


message 3: by ABC (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:30PM) (new)

ABC (mary6543) | 341 comments Carter~~Okay, maybe you're right and it's a great book. I just get tired of seeing a celebrity's children's book go straight to the top simply because it's written by a celebrity. This book even had its own CNN.com article.

You can buy it & tell us what you think. Me, I'll pass!


message 4: by Tiff (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:31PM) (new)

Tiff (tiffe) I've read a lot of children's books by celebs. A lot of them I have just picked up and flipped through at the store so I could say I disliked them and really know I do! haha

I will say that I REALLY like some of John Lithgow's books. His book 'Micawber' is just great. And I also love the CDs that come with his books...his voice rocks for the read alouds.

Other than him...so not a fan of celebrity books. He is my exception to the rule that celeb books stink!


message 5: by Anne (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:32PM) (new)

Anne Levy (ablevy) The Steve Martin ABC book is actually filled with offensive, inappropriate and downright depressing material, paired with equally dismal art by Roz Chast.

It's as if, having spent a career convincing people that comics are for grownups, Chast set out to prove it once and for all by illustrating a book allegedly for kids.

Let's just take "D" for example:

"David the dog-faced boy, dingy and dirty,
Tried to look dapper by donning a derby."

It's paired with illustrations of a terrified, mangy boy with a dog's face and hobo's clothes living in the street, with a drunk hiccuping and teetering nearby.

Now, I'm a city Mom. My kids do indeed see more than their fair share of winos and bums and street people. But do I want this in a children's book?

Okay, so they're not all offensive. Some are just dumb, and not in a way kids would find funny. Here's "R":

"Roberta the robot, resplendent in rubies,
Rehearsed her recital and sang "Rootie Tootie!"

Yawn.

Had he been serious about writing children's books, he should've found a critique group or at least an editor who wasn't intimidated by his celebrity status. Someone needed to tell him this was drek, and out of sync with the higher standards parents are expecting -- and getting --in the picture book market these days.


message 6: by Crystal (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:33PM) (new)

Crystal Allen I have to say that the new book Freckleface Strawberry by Julianne Moore is really cute. It's about a spunky red head. Everyone knows that the world needs more of them it's been awhile since Pippi and Annie. LeUyen Pham's retro-style illustrations really make it a great read for me.


message 7: by Luann (new)

Luann (azbookgal) | 44 comments I checked out your "abcs" shelf, Chandra. You have a great list going there! I added Zoo Flakes ABC to my TBR list. Have you read Gone Wild by David McLimans? It doesn't have much text, but the letters are fantastic.

Sorry for the sort of off-topic post. I haven't read the Steve Martin book yet, so can't give an opinion.


message 8: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Radisavljevic (barbrad) Chandra wrote: "And like the world need ANOTHER ABC book! LOL

I have to giggle at this (mostly at myself) because I actually happen to have a minor obsession with alphabet books! I love them and can't get enou..."


I was wondering why you only have one of the Jerry Pallotta alphabet books on your list. I loved most of them. I especially liked the Icky Bug Alphabet Book, The Yucky Reptile Alphabet Book, and The Furry Animal Alphabet Book.


message 9: by Kim (new)

Kim I think Steve Martin and Roz Chast's book is quite witty and funny. It is funny in the tongue-in-cheek, New Yorker way. After hearing about this book on NPR I bought it for my second grade classroom and the kids loved it! We still chuckle about it in third grade.

@BookBuds - personally I find your use of the words bums and winos offensive.


message 10: by April Ann (new)

April Ann (bloomer) Kirei kudos to you for holding back on the "bigot slap". I've enjoyed Jamie Lee's children's books. Madonna's books were okay.

I haven't seen Steve Martin's alphabet book but I do love his sense of humor. We're a wacky family here so his books might fit right in!


message 11: by Kathryn, The Princess of Picture-Books (last edited Feb 16, 2010 10:22AM) (new)

Kathryn | 5457 comments Mod
Um... wow! Ye-ah... Well, let's not forget she is already a published author with sTORI TELLING which, believe it or not, got some good reviews here. Maybe her children's book won't be THAT bad... though my gut reaction was OhNO!



message 12: by ABC (new)

ABC (mary6543) | 341 comments What's a bigot slap? And good grief, this is an old thread.....


message 13: by Ilene, Brandy and Val, Real Dogs with Real Tales (last edited Feb 17, 2010 02:12PM) (new)

Ilene, Brandy and Val, Real Dogs with Real Tales Fine (httpgoodreadscombrandyandval) The issue with celebrity books is the assumption and immediate acceptance by publishing houses that because one is a celebrity in another art form, it therefore can be translated to, "oh, I can write a book." I oftentimes joke with my friends, "if only my name were Madonna, Jaimie Lee, fill in the blank...." As Kieri mentions above, it would be great to see how well the books would sell if pseudonyms were used. Of course, we inherently know the answer and would be correct 99% of the time. Bottom line is and always will be all about the money big names bring in. Nevertheless, I find it insulting to all the hardworking, under-marketed authors out there when I see these celebs hawking their books and getting their entitlement gigs on high profile TV talk shows and getting mass media articles in top publications. Ditto for all the actors and models out there who get their own fashion lines.

Obviously, there are exceptions to every rule. I have not seen Steve Martin's ABC book but I did enjoy "Shopgirl" and many of his articles in the New Yorker and he IS well accomplished and versed in many areas. Anyone hear him talk about art and hear his banjo playing?




message 14: by Kathryn, The Princess of Picture-Books (new)

Kathryn | 5457 comments Mod
I have a huge soft spot for Steve Martin and I think he truly is gifted artistically in many diverse ways. Yes, I've heard his banjo playing and it is a blast! :-)


Ilene, Brandy and Val, Real Dogs with Real Tales Fine (httpgoodreadscombrandyandval) I'm really curious now about the Steve Martin book, especially after re-reading BookBuds comment. Sometimes silly can come off as just stupid and/or offensive and maybe he should not have ventured into the children's genre. Will have to see....

Thanks for the comment Abigail, and, I guess we'll just have to wait and see about the Tori Spelling book, huh?! :)


message 16: by Kim (new)

Kim Ilene, The Steve Martin book is definitely worth checking out, particularly because it is a collaboration with the NYer cartoonist Roz Chast.

Also, for more background on Steve Martin, check out his bio "Born Standing Up." Not as funny as I expected, but interesting to learn about how he became a banjo-playing, author, actor, comedian!


Ilene, Brandy and Val, Real Dogs with Real Tales Fine (httpgoodreadscombrandyandval) "Born Standing Up" has been on my list of things to read. Unfortunately, that list exponentially grows and I don't get to a lot of it. It will be read, eventually! I'll report back on what I think of the children's book. I know you all will be waiting with baited breath!


message 18: by Kathryn, The Princess of Picture-Books (new)

Kathryn | 5457 comments Mod
I think that it is definitely frustrating when people assume that just because someone is a good author in one area means they will be good in another. That goes not only for genres in adult fiction, but also non-fiction authors, journalists, and children's book authors. That said, it seems that some, like Neil Gaiman are vastly successful in a variety of fields (adult, MG and picture books). Another very popular adult author James Rollins recently began a YA series that seems to be well-received. And Brandon Sanderson has a huge adult following in the epic fantasy genre but also wrote the wonderfully hilarious Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians series which I quite enjoyed. Those are the only ones I can think of off the top of my head, but I'm sure there are many more examples of successes--and failures. I also wonder if perhaps some are writing under various pen-names. At least in that case, while they may get the book published based on their credentials, perhaps the new audiences wouldn't make the connection?


Ilene, Brandy and Val, Real Dogs with Real Tales Fine (httpgoodreadscombrandyandval) I went to two B&N in NYC and neither had Steve Martin's book! I was rather surprised. Nevertheless, I guess I won't be commenting on it any time soon. As far as John Grisham's children's books are concerned, I'll assume they'll do well. His name will take him a very long way in any genre.


message 20: by Kathryn, The Princess of Picture-Books (new)

Kathryn | 5457 comments Mod
Oh NO!!!! Hillary Duff joins the list!!!

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100309/a...

Well, I suppose that we can hope that, since she is a songwriter, she will have a way with words...


Ilene, Brandy and Val, Real Dogs with Real Tales Fine (httpgoodreadscombrandyandval) I really wish we could see some legitimate stats on these book sales as I cannot believe all of these celebs are bankable as authors, children's books or otherwise. What kind of advances (if any?) do they get or are these ventures just ego strokers?


message 22: by Robyn (new)

Robyn Hawk (aflyonthewall) | 2 comments Wow - from this conversation - it appears to me that being a celeb writer would adversely affect your sales!

I try not to decide the fate of an entire group of authors from the work of one...it would be like saying that "indie authors must not be that good or they would have been published by a major pub house"

...all celebs are not bad authors and some indie writers just like to have control of their property! ;-p


message 23: by Kathryn, The Princess of Picture-Books (last edited Mar 10, 2010 01:44PM) (new)

Kathryn | 5457 comments Mod
That's a great point, Robyn. I think what frustrates me is the amount of marketing $$$ and press that goes into author books for promotion as opposed to other books that are of equal or better quality but from a lesser-known author--for example, Hillary Duff's book deal being front page news on Yahoo. I agree that some celebs can be great writers, though. I think Jamie Lee Curtis and Steve Martin were mentioned in other posts as some readers really enjoyed.


message 24: by Robyn (new)

Robyn Hawk (aflyonthewall) | 2 comments I feel your frustration Kathryn - and there is way too much money thrown into campaigns that include a celeb name - however it can go both ways - if a celeb name is the incentive that encourages a kid to read (especially those who normally don't) that's fine with me!

I work for a non profit Children's Book Fair and I can tell you of more than one instance where a celeb name has drawn extra attention to all the authors that were involved in the event. Sometimes it works for more people than just the celeb ;-)

Robyn Hawk
OC Children's Book Festival, Teen Stage Coordinator
http://www.kidsbookfestival.com/
follow us at: @kidsbookfest
http://www.facebook.com/OCCBF


message 25: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks | 6636 comments Mod
I think it goes both ways. I don't believe that a celebrity author should automatically be seen as a possible "great author" just because of his/her celebrity status. On the other hand, it is also not very fair to automatically assume that a celebrity author must be a bad or mediocre author. What is important is the end product. If the book is interesting and well-written, it should not matter wether the author of said book is a celebrity or not. And, yes, if said book is well-written and interesting, there probably is no harm using the author's celebrity status to market the former, especially if it encourages children to read. However, this should never be used for unacceptable, badly written or uninteresting books. An author's celebrity status must never be used to market books that are severely lacking in quality.


Ilene, Brandy and Val, Real Dogs with Real Tales Fine (httpgoodreadscombrandyandval) I agree with Robyn and Gundula that if a celeb name can get a child to pick up a book or want to continue reading, that's great! I also agree that having a big name can definitely draw people to a cause and that celeb might really have a good book. I think what causes the ire is the preconceived notion that because an individual is high-profile, it necessarily means he/she can be a successful author and is therefore worthy of all the additional $$$ spent for marketing over several "nobodys" who are worthy of chance too and who have been plugging away.


message 27: by Brenda (new)

Brenda | 192 comments I would like to add Henry Winkler he wrote the Hank Zipzer series.


message 28: by Kathryn, The Princess of Picture-Books (new)

Kathryn | 5457 comments Mod
Just wanted to mention two picture books by celebrity authors that I actually thought were pretty good. Winners Never Quit! by Mia Hamm (about soccer and sportsmanship) and Just the Two of Us by Will Smith (about his love for his son).


message 29: by ABC (new)

ABC (mary6543) | 341 comments Can I just say I have nothing against Steve Martin? I was in a rotten mood when I wrote that post against him in 2007!

I actually want to read his autobiography--am planning to read it this month.


message 30: by Kathryn, The Princess of Picture-Books (last edited Oct 01, 2010 02:41PM) (new)

Kathryn | 5457 comments Mod
Kirei wrote: "Can I just say I have nothing against Steve Martin? I was in a rotten mood when I wrote that post against him in 2007!

I actually want to read his autobiography--am planning to read it this month."


Haha! Well, thanks for setting the record straight. I like Steve Martin and have been really curious to read some of his work. I have heard good things. I wanted to see his bluegrass group perform when they came through on tour but tickets sold out before they went on sale to the general public! :-( I think it's great he is so diverse and talented with his artistic interests. I'll be eager to know how you like his autobiography.

Maybe we should alter the title of the thread to just "Celebrity Authors"? Hope no one minds???


message 31: by Kathryn, The Princess of Picture-Books (new)

Kathryn | 5457 comments Mod
Has anyone else read Bernadette Peters' new book Stella is a Star. I seem to be one of the few who didn't love it...


message 32: by Kathryn, The Princess of Picture-Books (new)

Kathryn | 5457 comments Mod
I suppose this technically qualifies as a "celebrity" book (though "celebrity" of a slightly different nature)... just curious if anyone has read President Obama's new book Of Thee I Sing?


message 33: by Lisa (not getting friends updates) (last edited Nov 17, 2010 11:43AM) (new)

Lisa  (not getting friends updates) Vegan (lisavegan) | 1077 comments Kathryn wrote: "I suppose this technically qualifies as a "celebrity" book (though "celebrity" of a slightly different nature)... just curious if anyone has read President Obama's new book [book:Of Thee I Sing|947..."

I'd never heard of it. But, I'll bet it might be good. That family is so wonderful. The girls seem so lovely.

And: Yes, I'd consider it a celebrity book. Obama isn't first and foremost a writer, especially of children's books.


message 34: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks | 6636 comments Mod
I don't have a problem with Barack Obama writing a children's book (which I have not read), but I don't think it is necessarily right for him to have published this while he is in office.


message 35: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks | 6636 comments Mod
I think it does appear sometimes that celebrity authors seem to be able to get published much easier and with fewer hassles than non-celebrity authors (and, from the article, it also seems that they tend to be able to sign more lucrative contracts as well). I have no problems with celebrity authors if they are actually talented and write material that is interesting, worthwhile and a joy for children to read. However, I have definite problems with a celebrity being able to publish simply because he/she is a celebrity. I think that has unfortunately occurred at times, and that is also unfortunate for those celebrity authors who are actually talented, because they tend to be dismissed due to their celebrity status and because some celebrities have seemingly been able to publish books that were not all that good.


message 36: by Kathryn, The Princess of Picture-Books (last edited Nov 18, 2010 11:06AM) (new)

Kathryn | 5457 comments Mod
Gundula wrote: "I think it does appear sometimes that celebrity authors seem to be able to get published much easier and with fewer hassles than non-celebrity authors (and, from the article, it also seems that the..."

I agree with all that, Gundula! Well said. You've saved me having to figure out how to say it myself ;-)

And, thanks for posting such an interesting article, Abigail! So relevant to our discussion!


message 37: by Janice (new)

Janice  Durante | 27 comments Lisa wrote: "Kathryn wrote: "I suppose this technically qualifies as a "celebrity" book (though "celebrity" of a slightly different nature)... just curious if anyone has read President Obama's new book Of..."</i>
I just read and reviewed [book:Of Thee I Sing
and thought it was a touching tribute both to his daughters and to the many people who have helped make this country great. I think the book will work best for one-on-one sharing rather than for reading aloud to a group.



message 38: by Kathryn, The Princess of Picture-Books (new)

Kathryn | 5457 comments Mod
Oh, good to hear a review of this. Glad you enjoyed it. Thanks!


message 39: by [deleted user] (new)

I've not read this thread in its entirety, but at first glance, I see some fans of celebrity children's books and some who boycott. I have to admit my curiosity of the books written by celebrities...but, that doesn't mean I applaud each and every one. While I'm slightly jealous that a celebrity gets a book published because he/she's a celebrity...I'm not going to deny that it just might be a good book. I look forward to checking out some in this thread that I didn't know existed!


message 40: by [deleted user] (new)

Chandra wrote: "I agree with you Dawn. My favorite celebrity authored book so far is Freckleface Strawberry by Julianne Moore. Really cute dang book!"

I've never heard of it. I'm so excited to go find it! I just love Children's books...even if they're written by celebrities! ;-)


message 41: by [deleted user] (new)

Chandra wrote: "Oh and we also really enjoyed I'm a Manatee: by John Lithgow. I saw him promoting the book and singing the little song that goes with the book and I was hooked."

Do you have to figure out the song yourself or does it come with a cd. I find myself self-critiquing my rendition of the song in Love You, Forever....would love to know how others sing it and how the author really meant for it to be sung! lol


message 42: by Brenda (new)

Brenda | 192 comments Freckleface Strawberry does look really cute.


message 43: by [deleted user] (new)

I created a listopia list to try to get more Celebrity Author ideas...

Bob Dylan wrote a book???

Also, do you think ALL of these celebrity written books were REALLY written by the celebrity or do you think they might've been written by someone else and just allowed their name to be given credit? I always wonder.


message 44: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks | 6636 comments Mod
Dawn wrote: "I created a listopia list to try to get more Celebrity Author ideas...

Bob Dylan wrote a book???

Also, do you think ALL of these celebrity written books were REALLY written by the celebrity o..."


I sometimes wonder about that as well ...


message 45: by Kathryn, The Princess of Picture-Books (last edited Feb 16, 2011 09:56AM) (new)

Kathryn | 5457 comments Mod
I'm actually kind of excited about Weird Al's new book When I Grow Up--but, then, he's already a kind of genius writer with his song lyrics, IMO ;->

One of my recent favorite favorite "celebrity books" is The Sandwich Swap. Absolutely charming and very sweet message.


message 46: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks | 6636 comments Mod
Kathryn wrote: "I'm actually kind of excited about Weird Al's new book When I Grow Up--but, then, he's already a kind of genius writer with his song lyrics, IMO ;->

One of my recent favorite favori..."


I actually have that on my to-read list, but would not have put it there except that I read your review (and Lisa's review as well) and decided that I would want to read that book. Like others, I tend to shy away from "celebrity authors"


Lisa  (not getting friends updates) Vegan (lisavegan) | 1077 comments I also loved The Sandwich Swap, and for children's novels I've always loved Mandy.


message 48: by Kathryn, The Princess of Picture-Books (new)

Kathryn | 5457 comments Mod
Lisa wrote: "and for children's novels I've always loved Mandy."

Me, too! :-)


message 49: by Leigh (new)

Leigh (leighb) The late Fred Gynne wrote two good picture books. However, he is the rare exception. Most celebs' books are just awful and an insult to the entire industry.


message 50: by Liz (new)

Liz Yardley (LizYardley) | 2 comments The issue of celebrity authors is a really good one - thanks for initiating it!
I am as opposed to celebrity authors as I am to Victoria's Secret catalogs showing models who are posing for men. Meaning? I'm tired of subversive marketing.
If the author is recognized by the young reader and they are responsible for at least 50% of the book, I think that's fine. If the parents are lining up all excited to 'meet the author', while their children are fidgeting & bored, not so good.
I've read interviews of celebrity authors who complain that they didn't want to write the book, but their publicist friend kept bugging them eg. "he/she made me do it & put me in contact with Mr/Ms XYZ who is a great writer." ... Were we all so fortunate.
But as you say, there are lots of exceptions. Most of life is case-by-case. And when a celebrity can launch a book that puts X amount of dollars into Medical Research for kids ... that too might be subversive but hey, I'm buying it. It's just a shame how many exceptional stories go untold because the author wasn't a teen idol in the 80's.
Next time you look at the shelves in the stores, you'll be able to slip the celebrity books into market categories - 'babyboomer grandparents-targeted' and 'mom/pop-targeted' & 'kid-targeted'. I don't think literature should be so fiscally roped and tethered by the mores of the group choosing it for others (I realize this is idealism). I vote we keep children's books for their readership group. And while we're at it, could we please have less 'pink'? ;)


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