Sordid Taglines: Doing Children’s Lit Classics a Wrong
Moving house, home, and family does something to a woman’s brain. If that woman is me, it makes her ponder great intricacies of life, to say nothing of ballsy marketing plans. And today it all began with this book:
I suspect that we Americans are generally more familiar with The Secret Garden as our preferred Frances Hodgson Burnett classic than this little number. Still, it shows up on the occasional Summer Reading List and occasionally gets adapted into films, for good or for ill. As long as you can bust through the child reader’s expectation that the book is going to be about an actual princess, you’re generally in the clear.
Still and all, it got me to thinking. Originally published in 1905 the book is technically in the public domain. And so I wondered what an enterprising soul might do with it if they wanted to hock it to the masses. How could you sell it to 21st century child readers in the most blatant, shameless manner possible? The answer? Kooky taglines, my friend.
With that in mind, here is a crazy conglomeration of famous children’s books with brassy, ridiculous taglines, possibly more likely to cause perturbation amongst the adult masses than interest with child readers. It’s the B-movieazation of classic children’s literature. And I love it. Here they are, along with some of the odder images I’ve found over the years of these books.
A Little Princess: One orphan has the power to conjure up magic in an attic. But is any of her spellcasting true?
The Little Prince: In the desert, no one can draw you a sheep.
Holes: Treasure, blood, revenge and more.
Half Magic: Be careful what you wish AND WISH for.
When You Reach Me: Sometimes the life you save is your own.
One Crazy Summer: Fight the power.
A Wrinkle in Time: Science, God, Magic and one crazy pulsating brain.
The Secret Garden: You only THINK you’re alone.
Harriet the Spy: You only THINK you’re alone.
Charlotte’s Web: You only THINK . . . oh, fine fine. The idea’s played itself out.
Any you’d care to come up with as well?
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About Betsy Bird
Betsy Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.
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