by Sherrly Connelly)
“Are You My Boyfriend?” by C.B. Bryza is a riff on P.D. Eastman’s “Are You My Mother?”
P.D. Eastman had the right idea, but the wrong generation.
Instead of writing “Are You My Mother?,” the initial-named children’s book writer could’ve been on top of an even more exciting wave in publishing: board book parodies for adults.
This month, a new satire, C.B. Bryza’s “Are You My Boyfriend?,” hits bookshops — the latest book seeking to profit on a mini-boomlet that has followed the obscene success of “Go the F— to Sleep” by Adam Mansbach in 2011.
That classic parental bedtime lament — the perfect gift for anyone raising a newborn — led to another hit, “Goodnight iPad,” a dead on parody of the ripe-for-parody “Goodnight Moon,” and boosted sales for the adults-only “All My Friends A re Dead.”
“You pick up one of these books and you expect it to be cute, and maybe it’s not so cute,” says Avery Monsen, who co-wrote “All My Friends Are Dead” with Jory John. “That can be funny.”
“Go the F— to Sleep” by Adam Mansbach was a huge hit.
Bryza’s “Are You My Boyfriend? A Picture Book for Grown-Up Children” follows the format of Eastman’s earlier work — with a twist: a young woman opens another wedding invitation in front of a refrigerator door plastered with such “Save the Date” nuptial notices. And like the bird searching for its mom, she asks herself, “Where is my boyfriend?”
She wanders high and low: The boyfriend is none of the people she meets: not the tough guy, the wealthy cad, the artsy lad or the gay guy. But there is a happily ever after.
Another parody to be published this month is “Movies R Fun! A Collection of Cinematic Class for the Pre-(Film) School Cinephile,” by Josh Cooley.
The author, a Pixar artist who worked on “Cars” and “Ratatouille,” was inspired to write after his daughter was born and his days of couch-surfing to R-rated movies were drawing to a close.
If you can’t watch ’em, draw ’em; Cooley illustrated classic scenes from films such as “Pulp Fiction,” “The Shining,” “Taxi Driver” and “The Silence of the Lambs” to make them look as though they’re suitable for the kids.
“Bi-Curious George” is clearly an adult-themed version of those innocent tales of a mischievous monkey.
Of course, they’re still adults-only stuff: “You talking to me?” asks Travis Bickle, albeit pictured in storybook style.
Not every kid’s book parody does well, of course. “Dancing With Jesus: Featuring a Host of Miraculous Moves” ended up not living up to its hilarious title, and “Bi-Curious George: An Unauthorized Parody” by Andrew Simonian sold just 1,000 copies, according to Nielsen BookScan, which tracks such things.
That’s a pity because the book is a dead-on satire — in this case, featuring a little monkey who ends up in the arms of the man in purple beret. Raucous, though adults-only, hijinks ensue.
Side bar: Achieving parody
Here are the hits in the new mini-genre of kids book parodies for adults.
“Goodnight iPad” by Ann Droyd is a satire of a children’s classic.
“Go the F— to Sleep”
1.25 million copies sold.
Adam Mansbach’s satire opens, “The cats nestle close to their kittens now/The lambs have laid down with the sheep/You’re cozy and warm in your bed, my dear/Please go the f— to sleep.” Nuff said.
138,000 copies sold
Adam Mansbach’s “Go the F— to Sleep” was a successful satire of sleepytime books for kids.
JAMES KEIVOM/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
The book by Ann Droyd (a pseudonym for children’s author David Milgrim) is a spot on send-up of Margaret Wise Brown’s classic “Goodnight Moon” — instead of bunnies and other things that say “Hush,” the house is filled with electronic devices. Finally, the old woman tosses all the Blackberries, Nooks, even the MacBook Air out the window. “Good night buzzing, good night beeps, good night everybody who should be asleep.”
“All My Friends Are Dead”
72,000 copies sold
Avery Monsen and Jory John’s dark-humored story centers on a woebegone dinosaur who complains that all his friends are dead, a handbag snarks that all her friends are so last season, while a sock laments that his only friend has gone missing.
“Pat the Husband”
29,000 copies sold
Kate Merrow Nelligan took the treacly “Pat the Bunny" and turned it into a metaphor for marriage. Readers are invited to pat the husband, pull down the window on his car to give him directions, or search the armchair to help him find the remote.