Jewish World Review March 21, 2003 / 17 Adar II, 5763

Lori Borgman

Lori Borgman
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Consumer Reports

Madonna: Like an Author | So now Madonna is writing books for children Could someone please give me a sedative? Nothing heavy, just something to knock me out until Thanksgiving when the book tour should be over. Pardon me if I don't preorder.

Madonna has already published one book. The title was "Sex." Don't look for it in the children's section of the library next to "Grover Goes to School" or "The Little Engine That Could." It was a an X-rated number with nude photos of Madonna. Although the content was miserable, commercially it was a hit. It became a bestseller which just goes to show that you should never ever underestimate the buying power of the demographic that loves to look at pictures.

If Madonna is writing books for children, what next? Anna Nicole Smith writing a book for brides-to-be on Wedding Etiquette? How about Howard Stern penning a tome on the virtues of modesty, monogamy and abstinence? Maybe the Osbournes could produce a down-home family cookbook"Comfort Foods We (*&!@#% Love." Or maybe Robert Blake could do a book and audio set on the "Ten Secrets to a Happy Marriage." Makes about as much sense as Madonna writing childrens' books.

Madonna's publicist says the material girl has toned down now that she's married and a mother of two. Then again, publicists get paid handsomely to say just about anything. No doubt there's nothing like a couple of small children to take the shine off the nuclear-warhead brassiere. I would imagine kids underfoot also put a real dampener on gyrating in front of burning crosses, too.

Madonna is not the first one to cash in on her name and tap the children's market. Danielle Steel, the prolific steamy romance writer known for creating characters that have rippling muscles, strong Greek profiles, and do a lot of sweating and panting, also cranked out a series of children's books. There was "Freddy and the Doctor," "Martha's New Puppy" and "Max and Grandma and Grandpa Winky." They were OK. I take it back. They were lame, which is what Madonna's children's books are destined to be.

My question is, why them? Why the pretty people? Why the rich and famous? Madonna's already made a fortune by cornering the market of violence, vulgar and sleaze. She's sure to turn a handsome profit with her new anti-war video featuring Iraqi children and mangled, bloody limbs. Why does she need the early reader set, the innocent Berenstain Bear crowd, and the wide-eyed Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day readers as well? Why punish children just because Madonna has good Like a Virgin name recognition?

Last week, I read parts of a novel written by a 13-year-old boy. I'll bet you this Dell QuietKey keyboard I'm typing on (a possession I would not easily part with) that his writing was more creative, more imaginative, more poetic, and more touching, than what some of these star celebs crank out.

Too bad somebody deserving can't get a break. Maybe the next Beatrix Potter or Tomie dePaola. Somebody who hasn't polluted pop culture, simulated such violent and grotesque sex acts that even MTV has registered objections, mocked the major faiths of the world and capitalized on impending war with a perverse violent video. Surely there's a couple of thousand writers out there with good hearts and sweet stories, yearning to publish enchanting tales for young readers with tender ears.

Madonna's book does have a sweet title. But you're sure not going to read it here.

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JWR contributor Lori Borgman is the author of I Was a Better Mother Before I Had Kids. To comment, please click here. To visit her website click here.

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© 2001, Lori Borgman