Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Go the F--k to Sleep: Children's Illustrated Book Tops the Charts with Taboo

A new picture book, Go the F--k to Sleep, written by Adam Mansbach and illustrated by Ricardo Cortés, was released by Akashic Books yesterday. But this one isn't really for the kids. Sure, the beautifully illustrated pages and lyrical rhymes should be enough to lull any wee one to sleep. But it's the weary parents who are its primary target, given the urgent, albeit subversive subtext: that putting your young children down for the night isn't always the pleasantest of tasks, to say the least.

"The cats nestle close to their kittens,
The lambs have laid down with the sheep.
You’re cozy and warm in your bed, my dear.
Please go the ____ to sleep."
The charm in this "kid lit parody," according to a NY Times article by Pamela Paul, is "not so much its profanity as its articulation of verboten parental thoughts." And it has taken off like wildfire. A pirated PDF of the color-illustrated text went viral and is still circulating around the Internet (I received my copy yesterday). But that hasn't stopped sales of the real thing. The publisher has printed nearly 300,000 copies and sold more than 50,000--many pre-ordered, according to the NY Times. The book, listed at $14.95,  has descended to No. 2 on after about a month in first position.

Adam Mansbach, 34, is a Rutgers University professor, Columbia MFA graduate and author of fiction, including Angry Black White Boy and The End of the Jews, which won the California Book Award. He got the idea for this book while trying to get his toddler to nod off so he could write, according to an article by Amy Pukerinsky.

“Look out for my forthcoming book, ‘Go the F--- to Sleep,’ ” he joked on Facebook. Enough people 'liked' the idea that Mansbach pursued it--apparently in just "two sittings." What began as procrastination (or the venting of parental frustration) became a full-fledged literary (with the exception of the expletive) endeavor. Look forward to a G-rated version for kids and a film-version by Fox.


Joanna Jenkins said...

Hi Nicole, This book is taking off like wildfire. I read Samuel L. Jackson is doing the audio book and a movie deal is in the works! Amazing, huh?

Glad my readers are coming your way. I've "met" so many great people from around the world via the blog and enjoy the interaction.

It's hard to imagine how fast your nephews are growing up. Elementary and middle school "graduations" seem a little strange until you're there-- And then, if you're like me, you have tears in your eyes. They grow up so fast.

Cheers, Joanna

barb bits said...

Hi Nicole: Interesting how the ideas that pop into your head when you're not looking for them fly. I'll pay more attention next time I'm venting.

barb bits said...

Hi Nicole: Interesting how the ideas that pop into your head when you're not looking for them fly. I'll have to get my pen ready next time I'm venting.

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