Then they read aloud bad reviews...of their own books.
Now in yet another unlikely way, authors and illustrators of books for young people have come together. Well, not them...their creations.
In 2013, a phrase fusing two popular children’s book titles skidded into my head: “I Want My Cat in the Hat Back.” Perpetual tip of the hat to Jon Klassen (I Want My Hat Back) and Dr. Seuss (The Cat in the Hat).
It was immediately followed by an image, which a talented designer friend named Tim Connor kindly made real:
Next thing I knew, I was hunting for other recurring words in titles of other beloved children’s and YA books to brainstorm more “merged sequels.”
The results feature a madcap mix of time-tested classics and modern favorites (plus one I wrote, because it worked). Another savvy designer friend, Derek Wolfford (also a musician and the curator of the Bill Finger Appreciation Group on Facebook), generously agreed to produce the sixteen concepts I came up with. (What I did as an attempt at a thank you—scroll to last image.)
Twice upon a time...
Disclaimer: All of these works are, of course, copyright their respective creators. As you saw, whichever book cover formed the backdrop of the mashup is the one whose author (and, when applicable, illustrator) credit is intact. This was due only to design logistics. Full credits:
- Fancy Nancy (Jane O’Connor/Robin Preiss Glasser) + Nancy Drew (Carolyn Keene)
- Harold and the Purple Crayon (Crockett Johnson) + Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse (Kevin Henkes)
- Curious George (H. A. and Margret Rey) + George and Martha (James Marshall)
- Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! (Mo Willems) + The Magic School Bus series (Joanna Cole/Bruce Degen)
- Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (Judith Viorst/Ray Cruz) + A Sick Day for Amos McGee (Philip C. Stead/Erin E. Stead)
- Stuart Little (E.B. White/Garth Williams) + Little Gorilla (Ruth Bornstein)
- The True Story of the Three Little Pigs (Jon Scieszka/Lane Smith) + The Story About Ping (Marjorie Flack/Kurt Wiese)
- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (J.K. Rowling) + Harry the Dirty Dog (Gene Zion/Margaret Bloy Graham)
- Babymouse (Jennifer L. Holm/Matthew Holm) + The Mouse and the Motorcycle (Beverly Cleary)
- Clifford the Big Red Dog (Norman Bridwell) + The Big Red Lollipop (Rukhsana Khan/Sophie Blackall)
- Encyclopedia Brown (Donald J. Sobol/Leonard Shortall) + Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? (Bill Martin, Jr./Eric Carle)
- Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery) + Green Eggs and Ham (Dr. Seuss)
- The Library Lion (Michelle Knudsen/Kevin Hawkes) + The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (C.S. Lewis)
- Skippyjon Jones (Judy Schachner) + Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus (Barbara Park/Denise Brunkus)
- Walk Two Moons (Sharon Creech) + Goodnight Moon (Margaret Wise Brown/Clement Hurd)
- Bill the Boy Wonder (me/Ty Templeton) + Wonder (R.J. Palacio)
Suggestions for more? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter.