Wednesday, August 12, 2009

News bulletin! Liar controversy resolved!


As everyone in the children's publishing knows by now, a controversy erupted over the cover of
Justine Larbalestier’s novel, LIAR, published by Bloomsbury. The original cover, which featured a Caucasian girl with straight hair, did not match the author's description of the main character, an African-American girl with "nappy" hair. Larbalestier, which is a very hard name to spell, made it known that she was upset over the cover but was told the cover could not be changed.

This led to a storm of protest from people on the Interweb who like to protest things, although you can hardly blame them in this case. A similar outcry occurred in 1969 when a Hardy Boys book (The Secret Under the Sink) was released with a cover inexplicably showing Joe Hardy dressed as a Rastafarian and Aunt Gertrude firing a Glock 19 at the family dog.

In the case of LIAR, one proposal that caught fire amongst children's authors suggested that everyone who buys LIAR should return the jacket to Bloomsbury, along with a polite note stating, "You better send me a different cover or else, chumps."

In the end, Bloomsbury recently announced that the book with be re-jacketed in time for its release in October.The odd thing is, the new cover will feature the late Bill Cullen (see right), host of the original The Price Is Right and many other game shows. We could not discover why this decision was reached, although we did receive a whispered late night phone call from a woman who said, "Everybody liked Bill Cullen, okay? Who's going to complain about him?"

Email of the day

Dear Dr. Missy,

I was thinking of going to one of those SCBWI conventions. Have you ever gone to a convention? Is it worth the time and money? What the heck does SCBWI mean, anyway?

Bev (My real name)

Dear Bev,

I went to the last SCBWI convention in New York. Well, I tried to get there but it didn't work out. First I had trouble at the airport because I refuse to travel without my collection of antique tweezers and nail clippers. It was a bad scene and the security guys got jumpy and Maced me. Big deal. These days, all that does is make me sneeze a little. After I got away from them, I thought I'd found my flight but my eyes were a little watery and I didn't read the sign quite right. I ended up flying to York, Pennsylvania.

When I got off the plane a woman pointed at me and started yelling that I was the Sweet Potato Queen of literary fame. Okay, the Sweet Potato Queen is real tall and has big curly hair and I'm real tall and have big curly hair but I'm still not her. Despite my protests, no one would listen, so I was taken to the local high school to give a talk on sweet potatoes to the student body.

Thing is, I hate sweet potatoes. I can't stand to have them near me, so my speech was mostly a lot of yelling about how people who eat sweet potatoes should be thrown out of the country because only communists would eat the stupid things in the first place. That caused a fuss and they tossed me out of the high school. Unfortunately, they still had my suitcase, so I had to fight my way back in to get it because I was not leaving my collection of antique tweezers and nail clippers in York frigging Pennsylvania.

Luckily, I was able to hitch a ride with a trucker taking a load of urinal cakes to New Jersey. Unluckily, he insisted we sing C.W. McCall's "Convoy" all the way there. It's not a bad song, not really, but it's a long way to New Jersey and we must have sang the &*^%$#@! thing a thousand times. Hey, Rubber Duck, you got your ears on?

The trucker let me out somewhere in eastern New Jersey and I caught a cab the rest of the way. I stopped off for a look in the newly-opened Museum of Socks, then hung around the Ed Sullivan Theatre for a while to see if David Letterman might show up. By the time I got to the convention site, all the SCBWI people had left. I wandered the hotel aimlessly until I found a meeting for fans of the old TV show, "Emergency." I chatted with a professional Randolph Mantooth impersonator until he started grabbing at me, then I decided it was time to go home.

Next year I'll try and do things a little differently.

Dr. Missy

P.S. I don't know what SCBWI means. It's probably one of those secret things like the Masons have. It's better not to inquire about that kind of stuff because you don't want to wake up with a goat's head in your bed or whatever it is they do.