Fuse #8

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Why Is This Book Out-of-Print?

You are a children's librarian. Every Wednesday morning at 11:00 you face at least 50 screaming toddlers and their world-weary caretakers in the laughable exercise some people label, Toddler Story Time. Don't let the name fool you. What these caregivers want is a blessed half an hour of peace in which you, by some miracle, are expected to be able to charm these raucous little babes into some kind of semblance of order.

This being a library, you are also expected to read books alongside your usual repetoire of hand rhymes and songs. There is, of course, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See, which you sing to the tune of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. There is Jessica Souhami's Old MacDonald which is, again, sung. But you've gotta have a book you can lead off with. One that will capture the attention and love of all the kids in your audience, who are between the ages of 18-24 months. So you turn to the only book that has never let you down. The sole book you don't have to sing and that every single person can appreciate. It is:

The dreadful irony? This book is out-of-print. Now I know there are Random House people who read this blog. I know this because Random House appears to be the only publisher with their own URL. Every time someone from that publisher visits this blog, my Sitemeter records it. So Random House, I have good news. It's time to reprint a sure-fire winner. I even have the personal assurances of Jon Buller that if you want him to redo the illustrations he will. But here's the real reason I'm writing you. New York Public Library has ONE, count 'em, ONE copy of the book in its system and it's the book I use every single week with my toddlers. By now the book is sticky, and smelly, and if I don't keep a close eye on it it tries to crawl into a heating vent to die. I would like to replace it but, oh me oh my, I can't buy a friggin' copy because IT'S OUT OF PRINT!!!

Please rectify this situation at once. I promise you that I am one of thousands of librarians who feel this way and that if you do as I ask you'll all make bundles of moolah and each and every one of you will be able to retire to the Bahamas at the age of 42.

Thank you.


At 12:04 PM , Blogger Adrienne said...

I second the motion.

At 12:10 PM , Blogger Brooke said...

Ugh! My library system -- this includes all the libraries in the county -- doesn't have one stinkin' copy of this book at all. I've never read this book, and it looks like I never will. Lousy, lousy, lousy!

At 2:54 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yikes! I regularly (weekly) subdue & entertain 40 or so kids of the ages you mention for a full half hour. I only repeat books every few months. Quit your bellyaching, and get on with it. Aren't you at the best library in the world? Use the vast resources at your fingertips, and a little creativity!

At 3:57 PM , Blogger fusenumber8 said...

Oh goodness me. This was, as we say in the business, an example of a storytime. Yes of course I switch out the books. However, I felt that this book, the BEST book, should probably be available to the public at large.

So as to your "quit your bellyaching", are you suggesting that I NOT demand that this book be reprinted? Unless I am very much mistaken, I was complaining in the piece about "The Noisy Counting Book" being out-of-print. This is not a Gosh-Do-I-Dislike toddler storytime rant, nor would it ever be. Now calm down, have a cookie, and take me to task on something I'm actually guilty of. Sheesh! People.

At 4:48 PM , Blogger Nancy said...

Wow. I checked eBay. No copies. Amazon has 9 for sale, used, starting at $90!!!!

At 9:38 PM , Anonymous buller said...

What a nice surprise to come across your brief for reprinting THE NOISY COUNTING BOOK. On one hand, I can understand Random House's reluctance. When it was intitially published, it was not enormously successful, in terms of total numbers of copies sold. But, for whatever reasons, it does seem to have been enormously successful with those people who did buy it. We constantly get emails from people asking us where they can get a copy. We get letters from teachers at preschools whose lone copy is, like yours, on the verge of disintegration. And we get letters from grandparents who would like to give a copy of their kid's favorite book to the newly-arrived offspring of that kid. The title of the book, as well as many other valuable suggestions, was supplied by the legendary editor Ole Risom. From your lips, Fuse . . .

At 9:43 PM , Blogger Ellen said...

I'm a retired librarian, but I can relate to your pain. I actually cried when I discovered that The Fat Cat by Jack Kent was out of print and my last copy had mysteriously disappeared.

At 3:29 AM , Anonymous Kara said...

My favorite resource for thinking of ways to keep groups of small children entertained is: The Eentsy, Weentsy Spider: Fingerplays and Action Rhymes by Joanna Cole. I love that book!

I don't know the Noisy Counting Book but it looks cute! My library doesn't have it :(

At 10:07 PM , Anonymous Susan said...

This is good, very good. Now that your blog is the mad hot thing of the children's lit world (ah, stop the blushing,you know it's true)you can use your new power for good! Suggesting (in a sweet yet forceful manner) that wonderful out of print books be reissued (or...here is where you insert idle threat). We start (okay, you start) with the Doug Florians and Peter Spiers and let publishers know we ain't just whistling dixie.

At 11:10 AM , Blogger fusenumber8 said...

Hmmm. I like what you're saying. Perhaps I should have a permanent Why Is This Book Out Of Print feature on my sidebar. Something you see right from the start.

All right, then. Let's do this thing!

At 12:22 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I happened to buy this book for my son at a yard sale, having never read it. I just went online to order copies as gifts for neices and nephews. I was sad to see that it is out of print and that the only copies available are $90. My soon to be 4 year old loves it and 1 yr old twins laugh at him enjoying the Ga-Dunk!


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