Madonna, who is writing a children's book series based on the Kabbalah, on the state of children's literature: "Now I'm starting to read to my son, but I couldn't believe how vapid and vacant and empty all the stories were. There were like no lessons, just all about princesses and like the beautiful prince arrives and he takes her for his wife and nothing happens, no efforts are made. Nobody asks her what her opinion is, or I didn't see anybody struggling for things. There's like no books about anything."
God Bless the West, that it is so free, so rich, so forgiving, that it awards millions of dollars to someone who thinks “there’s like no books about anything” is an impressive summation of her thesis. Interesting how she’s just finding this out with her son; apparently it didn’t occur to her with her daughter, the child she made with her personal trainer. You suspect that she had a professional Reader to tell tales to the tot while she hit the nightspots. Maybe the kid's nickname is "Beta."
We go through dozens of books here every week, and the princess quotient so far stands at Zero. As in Zed. As in None. The books break down into several categories:
Triumph over uncontrolled defecation. These are the potty training books, in which the heroine gets a new potty, expresses doubts, gives it a whirl, succeeds, buys new big-girl underwear, and lives continently ever after.
Alphabet books. There is royalty present, but never a princess; always a Queen, who is usually quite quiet under her quilt. In my day the Queen was often known to play Quoits, but that game has been lost as a reference. I didn’t know what it was then; had to look it up. (It’s like horseshoes.)
Richard Scarry books. These are gentle tales of rabbits and cats who occasionally need to be spanked. I was startled when Gnat handed me “Naughty Bunny” one day, since I’d read that one as a child. It’s full of good lessons: the little SOB pushes his friend, spills his cereal, writes on the wall, and gets the hairbrush applied to his disobedient ass and sent to bed to cogitate on his sinful nature. In the end he reforms, because - to put it in Madonna terms - “efforts are made.”
Saturday, April 19, 2003
Lileks takes on Madonna's desire to write her own children's books because she doesn't like what is out there for the littl'uns.
Posted by Betsy Newmark at 8:49 AM