Thursday, November 10, 2005

No smoke, plenty of fire

I've been trying to get to the bottom of the story about the Stalinized illustrator photo of Clement Hurd on the back of the newest edition of Goodnight Moon, in which the cigarette in Hurd's hand has been replaced by ... well, nothing. I'm told HarperCollins is "preparing a statement" and I will submit to you any received forthwith. But is the outrage genuine or is it, as Anastasia Krupnik once said, "just a thing kids do to be cool"? I mean, had they simply swapped the photograph for another, no one would have made a peep. I personally get more exercised about the fact that the trim size of the book seems to keep getting larger--the darn thing is supposed to be cozy, not plasma-screen-sprawling. Anyway, HarperCollins is (are, I guess, is how Chairman Murdoch would put it) already going to hell for colorizing Charlotte's Web, so, really, how much lower could they go?

But the whole dust-up makes me miss the late Bill Morris, Harper children's books library promotion director, terribly. Bill adored smoking, and I'm sure this is giving him a good laugh. Goodnight, Bill.

8 comments:

Virginia Slim said...

Well, I'm appalled that Harper won't let Clement Hurd smoke any more. He's dead, for God's sake, what harm can it do him?

Chris Barton said...

I'm firmly in the leave-the-photo-as-is camp, but my six-year-old says he favors the altered photo. Not that he himself would want to take up the habit based on a black-and-white photo of a dead illustrator, but other kids might...

Liz B said...

I'm against changing the picture; I'd prefer they use another photo, or even crop this one so it's only his face. But to erase something that's there scares me. On the other hand, my mother, who is a teacher, is all for the change. She is also a smoker who is very careful never to smoke when a kid could see here (so never during the school day).

Cynthia Leitich Smith said...

God, I miss Bill. I was always amazed by how he seemed know literally everyone who walked through the door at each publisher party. And I so enjoyed his wit.

Featured a link to your blog on Nov. 6, btw. Welcome to blog land.

Best, Cyn

Anonymous said...

I am quite sure that both Bill and Clement are looking down at us now in between puffs of an eternal cigarette.

Stephen V Funk said...

stop the madness... vote SMOKE today... www.goodnightreality.com

Laurie Kessler said...

As an elementary school teacher, I prefer a photo with no cig. However, they should have selected another picture, because the photo-shopped hand minus the cigarette looks kinda weird.

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