Fuse #8

Monday, June 05, 2006

Books You'll Never See In Your American Libraries

Once in a while you get a blindingly clear picture of the difference between American and European publishers. Blindingly. This morning my co-worker Warren showed me a particularly interesting book. We have a rather nice foreign language children's collection here at Donnell, particularly in German. Mind you, I don't have any hand in what we purchase for this branch foreign-language-wise. Warren doesn't either. He was just thumbing through the new German titles when he came across something of particular note.

In Britain its title is Mummy Never Told Me, and it was originally published in England. And in spite of the fact that author Babette Cole has written plenty of books that have successfully crossed the Atlantic Ocean, it saddens me to inform you that this one will never come here. I must say, I'm awfully sad that Amazon.co.uk isn't giving you a chance to peek inside the book because it's a doozy. Are any of you familiar at all with other works by Babette Cole? Does, for example, the title Mommy Laid An Egg ring any bells at all? Let's just say that Ms. Cole is comfortable with the human body doing what the human body does. Mommy Laid An Egg definitely raised the ire of some parents (getting banned once or twice along the way), and some have even gone so far as to call it the Children's Book Kama-Sutra. But ladies and gents, that book has nuthin' but NUTHIN' on Mummy Never Told Me. Here's the description as Amazon.co.uk sees it:
What are tummy buttons for, and how do they get there? What does the tooth fairy really look like? Why do grown-ups have hair in their ears and up their noses, but sometimes none on their heads? Why do Mummy and Daddy lock you out of their bedroom, and where do they go at night? Babette Cole explores these questions and many more with her wonderfully sharp text and riotously funny illustrations.
Sounds innocent, yes, but I have never seen so much discarded lingerie as is found in this book. Now I'm not saying the book is good or bad. Frankly, I think America would be a far more interesting place if books like this one graced our shelves more often. I'm just saying that this may well be the book that puts the Ass in Weird Ass Picture Books.


At 4:43 PM , Anonymous alamolibrarian said...

We have that book in Spanish. The moment we got it in we geared up for complaints, it didn't take long. I think my favorite illustration is of the pregnant girl leaving catholic school (the text says something to the effect of "mummy never told me why so-and-so left school). Although the naked frolicking parents are pretty great too.

At 5:13 PM , Blogger fusenumber8 said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 5:14 PM , Blogger fusenumber8 said...

Yup. I'm glad you were able to translate some of the words. I speak French, but we haven't a version in that language as of yet. And did you see the feather duster? Never have I seen a picture book use one in quite that fashion.


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