Watt, M. (2009). Have I Got a Book for You! Tonawanda, NY: Kids Can Press.
Appetizer: Mr. Al Foxword is quite the salesman. He's sold a refrigerator to a penguin and an umbrella to a fish. And now, he's written the perfect book for you. And he's more than willing to tell you why.
As with Melanie Watt's other picturebooks, Have I Got a Book for You! is exceptionally creative and meta-fictive.
But I have to say, I did not enjoy it as much as her other books. Not nearly as much. I think Al's characterization captured "slimy salesman" a little too well for my tastes. While I do realize that this is a large part of the humor here. But you have to know, I hate TV commercials and salespeople that get in my face. It's well ingrained that when I see a pushy salesperson, I'm more likely to run in the other direction than listen. So, Al gave me the run-away-run-away-NOW vibe.
So, for me, this story was a bit frustrating to read.
How about you, few but dear readers, have any picked up Have I Got a Book for You!
"Now that I have your attention, let me introduce myself."
"But I know what you're thinking: "Al, I don't need all this incredible stuff. I just need a GREAT BOOK!" Well, this is your lucky day, my friend!!!"
"If you buy my book in the next 10 seconds, I will throw in your very own, top-of-the-line...BOOK MARK!"
To Go with the Meal:
Since Al is such a wonderful salesman, children could follow his example and design a product for them to sell in a presentation before the class (with poster boards, of course!). A teacher could encourage the students to pretend they're Al in the hopes that it will ease nerves about being in front of the rest of the class.
Another option would be to critique the type of commercials that Al is parody of.
This book could also be used as a fun read, especially since it presents reading as fun. In response to reading, students could make their own picturebooks that feature them as the main character, making an argument about who their story is worth reading.
Tasty Rating: !!!