What is it with celebs and writing children’s books? Well it’s quite simple really. Children’s books are short, you can always ‘co-write’ them (co-written will be in teeny tiny letters and means ‘written by someone else’) hire a good illustrator and whay hay! Instant cred. Possibly. I can’t see legions of small children rushing to Waterstones to pick up a copy of The English Roses where Madonna, one of the richest women in the world, exhorts how money doesn’t make you happy by dreaming up a character called Lotsa de Casha. If the parents are fans maybe. But apart from a few exceptions, which I actually can’t think of – are there any? – children’s books written by celebs don’t sell that well. Because children don’t give a shit that the author looks great in a leotard at 50, or is married to a famous chef. They just want a good story.
No – this is what annoys me: If Geri, Madonna and now Jools Oliver were to simply say: “Children’s books are a bit shorter and easier to write and by writing one myself I may just scrape up a bit of literary kudos and as I’m famous it’s bound to get published by some fame dazzled publishing house,” then I would give nary a toss. But it’s the ‘we’re actually doing YOU a favour’ routine that fucks me off. Big time.
Madonna wrote her execrable series of preachy-screechy books because she wanted to share her spiritual wisdom. And show that “we are all connected to each other on a soul level.” And now Jools Oliver is going to write a children’s book because she “couldn’t find enough good simple stories for children.” Has she been walking into greengrocers or butchers shops by mistake? “Could I have a great, simple story for children?” “Er I’m sorry madam. We only serve fruit and veg here.” That’s the only way I can imagine she missed the literary ramblings of Roald Dahl, Babette Cole, Melvyn Burgess, Phillip Pullman, and J.K Rowling. Thank God you’ve come along to save our little ones from this stream of literary dross.