Late-night demagogue Stephen Colbert’s highly anticipated effort for young readers is cowritten by Aaron Cohen, with contributions from Paul Dinello, Rob Dubbin, and Scott Sherman, for an estimated total of 62 words per author. The story follows a metal pole forced into existential crisis by the permissive liberal establishment; he meanders through seamy ponds and tawdry strip clubs before discovering the redemptive power of jingoistic nationalism. I recruited my nephews Victor and Henry, ages 8 and 10, to help me assess the merits of the volume.
Me: So what do you guys think, bearing in mind that if you insult the book, Uncle Adam will never get to go on Colbert’s show?
Henry: I don’t think little kids are gonna understand the words. And this is way too stupid for somebody my age. If they change the words, it could be good for, like, a 3-year-old.
Victor: Why is there a stripper? You don’t usually see strippers in kids’ books.
Me: That’s an interesting point. Can you see this being taught at your obnoxious Brooklyn prep school? Maybe to teach you about patriotism?
Henry: What’s patryism?
Me: Patriotism means, like, loving your country.
Victor: Maybe by some weird coincidence, they could use the book for a writing exercise, like to study how words are spelled. But I doubt it, because there’s a million books in the world.
Me: But it’s kind of funny, right? There’s a bunch of puns about various types of poles. Is pole-related wordplay passé now?
Victor & Henry: (No response.)
Me: Do you guys know who Stephen Colbert, the guy who wrote it, is?
Victor: Vice president?
Me: Because of the suit he’s wearing in the picture?
Me: What do they teach you at that school, anyway?
Henry: Yeah, stuff.
Me: Could this book secretly be for grown-ups?
Henry: No way. Definitely not. It’s too stupid for us.
Victor: But you never know what some grown-ups are gonna like.
(via ‘Go the F*ck to Sleep’ Author Mansbach on Colbert’s Childrenâs Book - The Daily Beast)