Monday, September 6, 2010

Worst Author Photos - Kids Edition

I read Shel Silverstein's The Giving Tree for the first time today to my four year old daughter today and man what a bummer that book is. It starts off depressing and just gets worse. It's got the same bleak, Schopenhauerian melancholy as the suicide-inducing Charles Schulz and his allegedly funny Peanuts strip. But I didn't really want to talk about the book itself so much as the author photograph right there on the back cover. Good God that's an intimidating author pic for a children's book. Now I know the author photographs on my books aren't exactly heart warming, but you really have to strike a balance between insane (Patricia Cornwell next to her helicopter) and elusive (Michael Faber walking in a field in the snow with his back to the camera). The late Shel Silverstein's pic strikes no balance. It is not good, although it didn't apparently hurt his sales.
Anyhoo I was telling my older daughter about the Shel Silverstein author photograph and how freaky it was and she delightedly informed me that in Diary of a Wimpy Kid there's a whole riff about that author pic and there's even a scary drawing of the pic done by the Wimpy Kid himself. The Wimpy Kid's father repeatedly threatens him with the promise that if he doesn't "brush his teeth Shel Silverstein from The Giving Tree will get him" which is pretty funny stuff.