Saturday, April 30, 2011

"Sweeten the Medicine"

TO: McNealy, Deb
FROM: Robertson, Scott
SUBJECT: Get the Boys to Read Initiative

Mrs. McNealy,

All of the editors in the Young Adult division have been racking our brains to come up with new ways to get boys ages 12 to 14 to read. While we have seen some success with graphic novels, we believe greater progress can be made with a modern updating or re-branding of classic children’s literature to make these titles appeal to modern boys in this key demographic. Here are the outlines for the series of updated classics we are calling Reading Will Make Girls Overlook Your Greasiness.

Bridge to Terabithia

Katherine Paterson’s timeless story about the friendship between Jess Aarons and Leslie Burke in rural Virginia and the fantasy world they create in their backyard deals with powerful themes of jealousy, fear, and death. In the updated edition we have changed the name Jess Aarons to Cody Wifi and he is now a fifteen year-old motocross champion with x-ray vision who crash-lands his dirt bike into a sorority house while filming a stunt for a new Papa Roach music video. Scenes in the original that dealt with death will be updated here by more appealing scenes of Cody using his x-ray vision to compile a database of what style of underwear each coed prefers. We are keeping the beautiful friendship Cody has and modernizing it so in the new version instead of Leslie Burke, his friend is an Apple iPhone loaded with all the latest apps.

Tuck Everlasting

Deciding to become immortal may have been a difficult choice in 1975 when there was little more to do than stare at streams and play with twigs. But in our online culture of unlimited streaming television shows, immortality is no longer a dilemma, it is a necessity. Our version chronicles the life of Carter Plasma, a fifteen year-old immortal mixed-martial artist from Cancun, Mexico who owns a hotel that only admits college lesbians. A skateboarding shaman tells Carter that he will lose his immortality unless he can get one hundred lesbian couples to make out with each other at midnight. In the original immortality was provided from a spring, but in the 2.0 version we have modernized it to come from a corrupt iTunes download of a Linkin Park single.

The Phantom Tollbooth

This 1961 classic of absurd humor by Norton Juster follows young Milo’s adventures through the Kingdom of Wisdom. While this story may have entertained children in the pre-Internet age, it simply isn’t stimulating enough to hold a modern child’s attention. The updated version will follow Zeke Twitter, a fifteen year-old with six million YouTube subscribers for his "Your Favorite Band Sucks" series, on his adventure through a real-life videogame where he earns points for being rude to adults. As a nod to the original, Zeke at one point encounters a tollbooth attendant named Norton Juster and says, “Toll this, grandpa,” before throwing a Nintendo DS at him.

We believe these updates will reverse the declining reading rates among boys ages 12 to 14. If the revised content isn’t enough to attract them, each book will also feature a brand-new cover depicting naked lesbians having sex.

We are also working on a licensing deal with Doritos to incorporate their Nacho Cheesier powder into the pages to cause a Pavlovian attraction to these new titles, and we are in discussions with school boards to allow Abercrombie and Fitch models to work the Book Fair. Please let me know what you think or if you have any suggestions of more ways to incorporate nude women into the plots.

-Scott Robertson

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