Ok, normally when I do a book review, I try to aim for one that is either out of print, or at least published before 2000. However, I had never heard of this book before I stumbled over it at my local library, and I think for anyone not to have heard of this book is a tremendous shame, and I am therefore bound to rectify it.
I laughed my socks off at Jon Scieszka's Battle Bunny. The book is designed to look exactly like a generic, saccharine children's story that has been unceremoniously improved by a six year old named Alex. Instead of remaining a story about a bunny who thinks his friends have forgotten his birthday, the book becomes a tale of the terrible rampages of Battle Bunny against various hard-core woodland creatures, Alex, and the President (who actually does resemble a child's rendition of Obama, which I think is hilarious and makes it a unique period piece in my mind.) This book will be a welcome change of pace to both children and parents tired of doe-eyed disney rejects.
The only question this brings up for me is "What is this going to teach my child about writing in books?" I'm totally behind the imagination it takes to re-engineer a story like this. Especially for the team who put together this book because they clearly had to go through and write the lame, generic story first in a way that would translate to the butt-kicking story they would transform it into. It really plays with your brain to see what words were left in, which were taken out and re-written. But is my kid going to do this to every book in my house now? I think I'll have to specially invest in some dollar-store books that will be designated "project books".
As a child, I was raised not to write or color on my books because that's how good little children behave. We take care of our things and don't mess them up. Now as a writer and an artist, I feel like I'm profaning someone else's hard work by scratching through this and putting eye patches on that. To me, if it's in print, it's sacred! Especially now as I struggle in my quest to be published by an actual publishing house. Surely Messrs. Simon & Shuester know what "art" and what "good" is, who am I to question it.....right?
Perhaps this is a lesson in the good that can come from controlled chaos. Maybe I should take a page out of Mr. Myers book, even if I have to literally rip it out in the name of creativity!