Have I Got a Book for You! Hardcover – Aug 1 2009
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Quill & Quire
The title of Mélanie Watt’s newest picture book pretty much says it all. Have I Got a Book for You! is a self-reflexive and broadly comic parody of self-promotion that invites its young readers to become critical consumers of advertising. Mr. Al Foxword, salesrat, makes a hyped-up pitch for the very book in our hands. Al’s previous customers include a mole (buyer of the Deluxe Dirt Vacuum), a fish (happy purchaser of an umbrella), and a penguin (proud of his latest acquisition, a fridge). Watt lays out Al’s pitch with characteristically zesty design and exaggerated, colourful cartoon images, playing off the stereotype of the sleazy salesman with plaid jacket, bow tie, and toupée. Throughout, she sends up advertising claims and sales pressure. (“Buy now! Quantities are limited!” “What’s better than this book? TWO books!!!”) In the small print on the back page, Watt thanks her editor “for buying into all my ideas, especially this cheesy one,” leaving the reader laughing, or perhaps feeling like an idiot for having forked over $17.95. This reviewer is definitely in the former category.
... a self-reflexive and broadly comic parody of self-promotion that invites its young readers to become critical consumers of advertising.
Driven by a particularly artful use of page turns, this makes compelling reading. Have your credit card ready.
Jokes and interactive fun are the point here ... Give this to Mo Willems’ legions of Pigeon fans.
Foxword’s clever sales techniques make this book funny to the hilt.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
In this book, Al is trying to sell us a book. He is speaking directly to the reader and he is using every sales pitch known to man. Al could easily get a job on a late night infomercial program. He has an answer for every objection.
When I was a school librarian, I was always trying to "sell" my students on books. This book is perfect for sharing aloud with students. Kids will be laughing their socks off.
The story has a surprise ending that will put a smile on the face of your most serious child. I LOVE this book! Young children will find the book funny and entertaining. Older students will recognize the salesmanship techniques that Mr. Foxword is using. This book is a great example of persuasive writing. Get this book today...you will be glad you did!
He won't sell you Sleeping Beauty because that one will "put you to sleep," nor will he try to sell you a math book because that one is NOT fun (not at all). He won't sell you a book about cooking broccoli because it will "leave a bad taste in your mouth." Naturally the dictionary is out for obvious reasons. Before he goes any further with his sales pitch, Al says he would like to compliment you on what you are wearing today. He's going to throw you a few pitches that will entice you to purchase a very special book. He'll make sure you buy the book in a specified number of minutes AND will throw in a special bonus. Al says "I know what you're thinking: `Al, this is just too good to be true!'" Do you know which book the master salesman, Mr. Al Foxwood, is trying to sell?
This is a totally daffy book about a slightly shady salesman that you simply won't be able to resist. Of course if you remember salesmen like Crazy Eddie from New York or have a few hard sell salespeople in your area you're going roll your eyes and chuckle just picturing them when you see Al in action. This book has every sales pitch I've ever heard from "I'll make you an offer you can't refuse" to "Buy now! Quantities are limited." You've come to the right place if you want to buy a book, but if you want lemonade you're out of luck!
VC, Children's Librarian, Portland, OR
When all else fails, Al's got a surefire trick to get his book sold. "You break it, you bought it!" with a realistic looking die-cut "ripped" page at the end.
I read this at a toddler storytime, and it was a little over their heads. The parents were nodding and smiling, though. I think older kids, especially those with a budding skepticism of commercialism, will enjoy this offering. Put this in the hands of kids who've been bugging you for every last thing they've seen on TV and see if the message sinks in.