David Lubar

"I got a package from Gramma!" Lindsey screamed in delight.

What could it be? A dress? A puppy? Another Barbie? No. Way better. It was a brand new picture book. Lindsey loved picture books.

"What's it called, Mommie?" Lindsey shouted, waving the book in her mother's face. "What's it called? Tell me, tell me, tell me."

Mommie read the title, "Grampa Stoke has a Massive Stroke." Then Mommie smiled. "Why look, it's by that wonderful actress we like so much. The one whose series got cancelled last year."

The title didn't sound like a lot of fun to Lindsey, but she still wanted to hear the book. "Read it to me, Mommie!," she begged. "Read it, read it read it!"

So Mommie read the book. Lindsey tried to sit still and listen, but it wasn't easy. The book sucked. Big time. The rhymes didn't really rhyme. The words were so hard to read that Mommy kept stumbling over them. And the story didn't make much sense at all. Especially when the talking mice showed up carrying the oxygen mask.

"Well, all done," Mommie said as she closed the book.

"That sucked," Lindsey said. "Why was it so bad, Mommie?"

"I guess you're old enough to know," Mommie said. She put her arm around Lindsey's shoulder and pulled her close. "For starters, most celebrities are very insecure."

"What's that mean?" Lindsey asked.

"It means they don't feel good about themselves. They don't think they deserve their fame. And they're afraid people will get tired of them, or discover how stupid and shallow they really are."

"Wow," Lindsey said. "They must feel terrible."

Mommy nodded. "But they also have huge egos. They want to feel important. So they look for ways to get attention, like joining popular causes they don't really understand, or writing picture books. The problem is, they think it's easy to write a picture book. And they think the only reason to write one is to help children deal with tragedy or teach them an important lesson."

Lindsey laughed. "Silly geese. I guess they haven't read any really good books like Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs or George and Martha."

"No, I guess they haven't. They just remember the books they read when they were young."

Lindsey sighed. "At least now I know why my book sucks. Thanks for helping me cope."

"That's what I'm here for," Mommy said, tossing the book in the fireplace. "Grab the matches, hon."

Lindsey ran to get the matches, and a bag of marshmallows. "I know something that sucks even more than that book," she said as merry flames danced before her eyes.

"What's that?" Mommy asked.

"Being a celebrity," Lindsey said.

"Don't worry," Mommy said, ruffling her hair. "You're already far too smart for that to happen."

As the sucky book turned into a pile of ashes, Lindsey cuddled with her mommy and enjoyed her marshmallows. She felt sad for the celebrities, but she felt glad that she had a whole shelf full of wonderful books written by people who really cared about kids and didn't try to jam lessons down their throat. Marshmallows, yes. Lessons, no.

"MOMMY, WHY DOES MY PICTURE BOOK SUCK?" Copyright © 2004 by David Lubar

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