26 April 2009

That's All, Folks!

All good things must come to an end... and the Unnecessary Children's Book Sequels That Never Were is now over (and I hope you thought it was good while it lasted!). Farida has a nice two part round-up of the submissions (Part I and Part II) that didn't get illustrated, but were hilarious nonetheless. Truth is, I would have tried to illustrate them all if I had the time, and I may still work up another one here and there if I get a chance. But it was a lot of fun, thanks everyone and maybe we'll do this again soon!

Here is a quick round-up of the results:

First Place: Harry and the Can of Purple Spray Paint (Kate Coombs)

Second Place: The Very Hungry Larva (Elaine Magliaro)

Third Place: Kitty's First Meteor Hurtling On A Terrifying Death Path Toward Earth (Hannah Mahoney)

And some of the Honorable Mentions:

24 April 2009

Unnecessary Sequel First Place Winner: Harry and the Can of Purple Spray Paint

Finally, the moment you've all been waiting for... First place in Saints and Spinners' Unnecessary Children's Book Sequels That Never Were Contest goes to Kate Coombs with her unnecessary sequel to Crockett Johnson's masterpiece, Harold and the Purple Crayon:
Harry and the Can of Purple Spray Paint: Whatever you do, don't call him Harold. He's a big boy now, and he wields a mean can of spray paint! Follow Harry up and down dirty alleys and streets, also beneath overpasses, in this touching sequel. Remember: when you see that magical purple tag, an H with a skull-handled dagger slashing through it, you know Harry's been there and left his mark. -Kate Coombs

So there you have it! Congratulations, Kate!

And a big thanks to everyone who submitted their awesome suggestions... and thank you Melangell and Phil for judging and of course, thank you Farida for thinking up and organizing the contest!

23 April 2009

Unnecessary Sequels: More Honorable Mentions

The Unnecessary Children's Book Sequels That Never Were Contest had a whole bunch of fun submissions that played on Shel Silverstein's The Giving Tree, so it had to make it as an honorable mention:

The Taking Tree
: Shel Silverstein's sequel to The Giving Tree proves to be much less popular, as children everywhere shun trees for fear of grabby branches and thieving twigs, and parents complain about the bad morals being conveyed to their impressionable tots. Book rated highly with test audiences, but it was later revealed that test audience consisted mainly of rhododendrons. -a.fortis, Finding Wonderland

The Tree: Co-dependent No More!
: A burst of insight leads the formerly Giving Tree to shed its unhealthy relationship with The Boy as it sprouts a new branch from the stump it has become. -MotherReader

Counting Rings: A Very Special Crime Scene Investigation of 'The Giving Tree': Using the current DSM-V (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), "Counting Rings: A Very Special Crime Scene Investigation of 'The Giving Tree'" breaks down, in a child-friendly counting-book way, the psychoses and delusions behind your child's first - and favorite - dysfunctional relationship. -Lee Wind

The Irate Stump: The Giving Tree has a few regrets . . . -Jamie Michalak

The Trading Tree: The story of a cunning tree which, starting with the offer of an apple for allowance, slowly trades a young boy out of his considerable inheritance over the course of his life, leaving him with nothing but a place to sit. -Tony Dowler (not an official entry, since he's a relation...)

And one more for good measure--the unnecessary sequel to Bread and Jam For Frances:

Brie and Foie Gras For Frances: After spending a month-long summer vacation in Paris with her parents and younger sister, Frances returns home and refuses to eat anything other than brie cheese and foie gras imported from France. -Elaine Magliaro

That's it for now. Remember to check in with Saints and Spinners on Friday to see who got first place in the contest!

p.s. there are a ton of other honorable mention worthy submissions that I hope to get too in time... unfortunately, if I spend any more time on photoshop my eyes might pop out of my skull and/or my wife might stuff my laptop down the garbage disposal (with good reason).

22 April 2009

Unnecessary Sequels Second Place Winner: The Very Hungry Larva (or Moth Madness)

Second Place in the Unnecessary Children's Book Sequels That Never Were Contest goes to Elaine Magliaro of Wild Rose Reader and her sequel to Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpiller:
The Very Hungry Larva or Moth Madness: This is the tale of a "mad about plaid" caterpillar that eats his way through all the heirloom tartans in a Scottish castle. The larva is finally caught and "kilt" by a wild and woolly sheep shearer and his weaver wife who live on the banks of Loch Lamb. -Elaine Magliaro

Congratulations Elaine, and thanks for the great suggestion! 1st Place (and maybe a few more honorable mentions) will continue to rollout during the rest of the week. Check in with Saints and Spinners for all the details!

Note: Contest judges were the worldy and wise Melangell and Phil. Thanks guys!

21 April 2009

Unnecessary Sequel Honorable Mention: Wet Dog, Wet Dog, What Do You Smell?

Tomorrow, Saints and Spinners will announce the 2nd Place Winner in the Unnecessary Children's Book Sequels Contest. Until then, here is another Honorable Mention via a submission from Yat-Yee (and not just because she asked nicely... though she did):

An unnecessary addition to Eric Carle's iconic Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? series: Wet Dog, Wet Dog, What Do You Smell?

...or if you want one of Penguin's newer/edgier designs, try the Penguin UK Modern Classics version:

That's it for now! (Hope that didn't gross you out too much!)
Remember to check in tomorrow at Saints and Spinners to find out who is the second place winner of the Unnecessary Children' Book Sequels That Never Were Contest!

20 April 2009

Unnecessary Sequel Third Place Winner: Kitty’s First Meteor Hurtling on a Terrifying Death Path Toward Earth

Third Place in the Unnecessary Children's Book Sequels That Never Were Contest goes to Hannah Mahoney with her sequel to Kevin Henkes' modern classic, Kitten's First Full Moon:
Kitty’s First Meteor Hurtling on a Terrifying Death Path Toward Earth: Henkes goes for the dark side in the sequel to Kitten’s First Full Moon. Please note that scenes of worldwide panic and of the apocalyptic destruction of the eastern seaboard may not be appropriate for the very youngest readers. -Hannah Mahoney (Copy Manager, Candlewick Press)

And then of course (as with all successful children's books these days), comes the blockbuster movie adaptation:

Congratulations Hannah, and thanks for your winning submission! 2nd and 1st Place (along with more honorable mentions) will be coming up throughout the week. Check in with Saints and Spinners for all the details!

Note: Contest judges were the eminent Melangell and Phil. Thanks guys!

19 April 2009

Unnecessary Sequel Honorable Mention: Where The Wild Things Aren't

The wise judges (Melangell and Phil) have spoken! Check in with Saints and Spinners tomorrow (Monday) as she unveils the results. She will announce the winners and I will post the illustrations here. In the meantime, there were a lot of great submissions for a sequel to Where The Wild Things Are, so I was compelled to make one:

Thanks to everyone for their creative suggestions, and stay tuned for more throughout the week!

Where the Wild Things Aren't: a loving commentary on boredom and conformity. -Greg W.

Where the Wild Things Aren't: After seeing his pediatrician and a child psychologist, max is prescribed medication for his anger management issues and night terrors. -Rocco Staino and Cynthia Sandler

Where the Wild Things Are Having a Bash: Max grows up and leaves home for Carousal State College--the biggest party school in the country. There, he meets other "wild things" and sails off with them into drunken oblivion every weekend. Of course, when he sobers up on Monday mornings, his Friday night dinners are always cold and moldy. -Elaine Magliaro

Where the Wild Things Aren't: Max grows up, becomes an accountant, marries the nice Jewish girl next door and spends the rest of his life in painful anonymity. -The Library Lady

Wild Things: A Tropical Theme Park: This picture book is a story about an important industry called tourism. In it, we welcome you to a tropical paradise reached by some pretty clever chronological sailing. See our monsters in their very specially designed habitat and later you can even watch a trained monster show while sipping on banana daiquiris as the sun sets over the ocean. Written and developed by Imperial Corporate, Inc. just for you. -Kate Coombs

16 April 2009

The Paper Bag Princess

Author: Robert Munsch
Illustrator: Michael Martchenko

The moral of The Paper Bag Princess is a welcome and subversive take on your standard fairy tale fare. A pretty princess loses her clothes and realizes in the end that she doesn't need all those pretty clothes to be a princess. She emerges stronger, more independent, and wielding a new vision of femininity that serves her well as she battles dragons, close-minded boyfriends, and the wedding industry.

Unfortunately, I think the message of this book may have been too subtle because the moral seems to have been lost on some of our modern day princesses. Whereas the original Paper Bag Princess shed her clothes in a bold act of defiance, bravely discarding the trappings and confines of traditional femininity, today's female royalty are shedding their clothes for an entirely different reason.

The phenomenon was thoroughly examined in Ariel Levy's Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture, and will be further explored in Almeta Grayson's new book Paper Bag Princess, which profiles the disturbing trend of sexual exploitation as a route to fame. (exhibit A: Paris Hilton; exhibit B: Kim Kardashian).

From Publishers Weekly: "These sobering portraits force the reader to question a society that not only encourages this brand of sexploitation, but rewards it with prime time TV deals and endless magazine covers. A well-balanced but jarring social critique, Paper Bag Princess will change the way you watch TV... and how you see the world."

This started out as a standard satirical post, but I have to admit that I am legitimately disturbed by this. Maybe it's because I'm getting to the age where the idea of fatherhood is not just a distant and abstract concept, but I consistently find myself flipping through the TV saying to myself (or my wife), "Our children will not watch TV. We are moving to a remote cabin in the woods where E! cannot find us." Call me a prude, but the idea of raising a daughter in a world where sex tapes are a legitimate path to stardom scares the sh!t out of me.

A Lighter
Note: For a more thorough discussion of the actual Paper Bag Princess, see Fuse #8's profile of the book, which came in at #70 in her Top 100 Picture Books List.

15 April 2009

Unnecessary Children's Book Sequels Contest - Honorable Mention: I Am Still A Bunny

While the winners of the contest are still being determined, here is something to give you a taste of the Unnecessary Children's Book Sequels Contest results. This is a great entry that didn't quite make the final cut, but I couldn't resist making a cover for it. This one is a sequel to the classic I Am A Bunny and comes courtesy of Charlotte of Charlotte's Library:

"I Am Still a Bunny" by Ole Risom.

We've already spent one fun-filled year with Nicholas the Bunny. Now the cute rabbit takes another trip through the seasons, in which he continues to be a passive, isolated observer of the pagent of life. "In spring, I watch other animals making friends." Children will be comforted by the fact that flowers still bloom, leaves still fall, and Nicholas is still watching them.

In case the resolution is not clear enough for you to read the quote at the top, it says:

"A devastating meditation on the nature of passivity in a society obsessed with hyper-engagement. If only we could all still be bunnies."
-Jonathan Franzen, author of How To Be Alone

Thank you, Charlotte for that awesome suggestion! Stay tuned for more soon...

Note: Not all of the contest illustrations will be children's books re-imagined as books for grown-ups... but I reserve the right to scratch that book design review itch when necessary.

14 April 2009

Bottom Shelf Books Redesigned: Goodnight Moon

While prepping for the Unnecessary Picture Book Sequels Contest (the results of which we will begin revealing any day now), I remembered a feature that I'd been wanting to do for a while: Redesigning classic picture book titles as grown-up novels. I think it's because I've spent too much time stalking Book Design Review and other such sites that appeal to an amateur dork like me.

So here is the first installment... Goodnight Moon redesigned as a noir-ish novel:

Wild Rumpus At The White House

09 April 2009

Everyone Poops Trailer

My friend Karin sent me this... the perfect way to jumpstart an otherwise lethargic Thursday morning!

p.s.: I realize that there have been an inordinate number of posts about poop lately. I can't explain it, but I am doing my best to rectify the situation. (no pun intended.)

06 April 2009

Unnecessary Sequels Contest Still Going Strong!

The Unneccessary Children's Book Sequels That Never Were Contest over at Saints and Spinners is still going strong! You've got until Friday to submit your winning entry. Go to Farida's site to see all the rules, but basically, submit your entry and judges will choose the top three submissions. I will then attempt to illustrate or photoshop-ustrate the winning entries for your viewing pleasure. Winners get their choice of prizes!

So think hard about your favorite children's books (or if you need to jog your memory, check out Fuse #8's definitive list of Top 100 Picture Books) and imagine the bizarre and unnecessary directions that they may lead...

To get you primed, last week we brought you the delightfully squirm-inducing Millions of Rats (see above). We've gotten some really good responses so far, so too keep the momentum going here is another unnecessary sequel--the follow up to Leo Lionni's heartwarming classic Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse... Alexander and the Logitech MX610 Wireless Laser Mouse!

From the press release that never was:

"In a bold new joint venture to promote cross-industrial synergy, the Lionni estate has partnered with industry leader Logitech to launch a new series of children's books that will teach children about the importance of compassion, the beauty of friendship, and the advantages of the cutting-edge technology that only Logitech products can provide. Now available at your local Best Buy. "

Now go join in on the fun and GIVE US YOUR BEST SHOT!

02 April 2009


For those of you who have ever wanted to win that prized jar of jellybeans, you have to CHECK THIS OUT. My uber-talented friend Oliver Uberti is a Design Editor for National Geographic (a.k.a the Dream Job) and put this mind games blogpost together.

And using his prescribed method of estimation, I came within 100 jelly beans of the correct answer! Hot Diggigity Donuts! Now if I could only travel back in time to the third grade...

Also, be sure to check out Oliver's website. He gives you an insider's look at the thought processes behind the pages of National Geographic, which (if you're a dork like me) is like freakin' candy (a giant jar of jelly beans, if you will).