Monday, October 18, 2004

Book report

I volunteered at the Scholastic Book Fair at my son's school today, and it's always an eye-opener to see what the youth of America choose to read when they're shopping for themselves. At my daughter's middle school, the mega-sellers are not the Harry Potter books or the Series of Unfortunate Events or one of the issue-oriented novels that Scholastic always seems to be pushing; it's the pens and pencils with stuff attached to the end, like feathers or goopy sticky things, that really move. Tchotchkes are big business at book fairs, but the woman in charge of the sale at my son's school refused to put them out today, preview day, insisting that the kids should look at books and nothing but books while compiling their wish lists for mom and dad. Now of course, you can make kids look at books, but you can't exactly guarantee they're going to flock to literary classics. The biggest items of interest this morning as far as I could see were an easy-reader adaptation of the current animated movie "Shark Tale"; a book of secret codes for Playstation 2, GameCube and XBox games; and a classy little volume called "Immature Pranks" that came with a whoopie cushion attached, which of course every boy entering the gym just had to try out. Honestly, just sell them the pens.

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