24 May 2008

Curious Indeed

Several genres of short, full-color, hardcover books mimic picture books for kids, and are even marketed as such, but really aren't. Among them are parodies, those I-love-you-more books for new mothers, many celebrity picture books, and graduation gifts.

And among this season's graduation gifts, I noticed during Karen Day's No Cream Puffs signing last week, is Curious You: On Your Way! To create this title, Houghton Mifflin commissioned a non-narrative text from Kathleen W. Zoehfeld (not that you'd know her name from the cover or catalog), and then digitally pasted those words over the illustrations from Curious George Takes a Job (and perhaps some other Curious George books by H. A. and Margret Rey).

As a Curious George fan from way back, I think I'd have been charmed to receive a crisp new copy of Curious George Takes a Job when I left college. I'd have been less than pleased by this volume. Most "gift books" feel like they've been designed for people who aren't comfortable with real books, and are really looking for a greeting card with a $16 price on it.

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