Fake Children’s Books: What the Books We Make Up Say About Us
If you missed the recent 100 Scope Notes post I Will Not Retreat to a Book Cave to Eat Taco Bell then you are in for a treat. I agree with everything he has to say about this weirdly out-of-touch librarian, but one part of the Taco Bell commercial in which she appears struck me as particularly interesting. It’s this:
If you’re having difficulty seeing, the book is apparently called Kanine Crash (shouldn’t it be “Kanine Krash”?) by “Eugene Chang”. Now what we have here is yet another case of Fake Children’s Books. Happens all the times in movies and commercials. No one wants to feature an actual book so they bend over backwards to make fake ones. And, a lot of the time, actual working artists are called in to provide the art and details.
When Travis posted the video I asked if he wanted to do a joint post on the subject. He politely declined but he did point out yet another case of multiple fake children’s books:
It’s no secret that Anderson is a children’s literature fanatic. Between the From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler reference in The Royal Tenenbaums and the adaptation of The Fantastic Mr. Fox, it’s probably just a matter of time before he makes his own children’s book (Chuck Dugan is AWOL doesn’t count).
In the image above you’re seeing a still from Moonrise Kingdom. In that film these are the books being read by the kids. It’s a kind of fascinating deep dive into the kinds of book jackets you would have seen on children’s literature in the 70s/early 80s. Fascinating stuff. Here are some more:
Doozles Are Dozing is the name of this one, and you’ll see it in the trailers for The Incredibles 2. No word on who the fake author is. This pairs rather nicely with another fake bedtime book from a CGI film:
You’ll note that the author of the actual book is the aforementioned Cinco Paul alongside Ken Daurio and illustrator Eric Guillon.
For this next book series, the sheer amount of work that was poured into these books is impressive. Remember the film Gone Girl? Remember how Amy was turned into the heroine of her parents’ picture book series? Well artist Kirk Van Wormer made a whole series of covers for those books. Behold what I consider the creme de la creme of fake book publishing, right down to the fake award sticker on the front.
And the piece de resistance:
Finally, it’s not a true fake children’s book round-up without everyone favorite scary pop-up guy:
Not his scariest picture. Say, do you remember that time Netflix accidentally put the horror film The Babadook in the LGBTQ category and the internet lost its friggin’ mind? Go look up Google images of Babadook + LGBTQ sometime for fun. It just makes me so happy. Here is how the book actually appears in the film:
The Babadook, by the way, is about a super scary pop-up book. I did a post about it alongside Gone Girl back in 2015, if you’d like lots of information on it. Long story short, the book’s artist was Alex Juhasz. Would love to see some actual children’s books out of this guy sometime.
What have I missed? I know fake children’s books crop up in all sorts of places. Any egregious ones come to your mind?
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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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