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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Sordid Taglines: Doing Children’s Lit Classics a Wrong

Moving house, home, and family does something to a woman’s brain. If that woman is me, it makes her ponder great intricacies of life, to say nothing of ballsy marketing plans. And today it all began with this book:

LittlePrincess5

I suspect that we Americans are generally more familiar with The Secret Garden as our preferred Frances Hodgson Burnett classic than this little number. Still, it shows up on the occasional Summer Reading List and occasionally gets adapted into films, for good or for ill. As long as you can bust through the child reader’s expectation that the book is going to be about an actual princess, you’re generally in the clear.

Still and all, it got me to thinking. Originally published in 1905 the book is technically in the public domain. And so I wondered what an enterprising soul might do with it if they wanted to hock it to the masses. How could you sell it to 21st century child readers in the most blatant, shameless manner possible? The answer? Kooky taglines, my friend.

With that in mind, here is a crazy conglomeration of famous children’s books with brassy, ridiculous taglines, possibly more likely to cause perturbation amongst the adult masses than interest with child readers. It’s the B-movieazation of classic children’s literature. And I love it.  Here they are, along with some of the odder images I’ve found over the years of these books.

A Little Princess: One orphan has the power to conjure up magic in an attic. But is any of her spellcasting true?

LittlePrincess14

The Little Prince: In the desert, no one can draw you a sheep.

littleprincestatue

Holes: Treasure, blood, revenge and more.

Holes8

Half Magic: Be careful what you wish AND WISH for.

HalfMagic2

When You Reach Me: Sometimes the life you save is your own.

WhenYouReachMe3

One Crazy Summer: Fight the power.

OneCrazySummer

A Wrinkle in Time: Science, God, Magic and one crazy pulsating brain.

WrinkleInTime5

The Secret Garden: You only THINK you’re alone.

SecretGarden3

Harriet the Spy: You only THINK you’re alone.

HarrietSpy4

Charlotte’s Web: You only THINK . . . oh, fine fine. The idea’s played itself out.

WilberCharlotteStatue

Any you’d care to come up with as well?

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About Elizabeth Bird

Elizabeth Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.

Comments

  1. A Little Princess is one of my all time favorite books. I have certainly read it more than that other book. The tag you wrote works… But yet doesn’t. Someone looking for tales of wizards from it would be disappointed. More apt would be a tag about how your attitude affects your present and your future.

    • Elizabeth Bird says:

      True enough. Though, to be fair, taglines are often misleading too.

    • I used to read it literally over and over until I was sick of it – every day, another re-read of Little Princess. Then I’d put it away for a few months until I remembered I loved that book and pulled it out ag…

      huh.

      You know, in retrospect, this was the third clue* I was really autistic.

      * Ignoring heredity, of course, because if we brought up my family we’d know I was autistic before I was even conceived.

  2. A Little Princess: Who Needs Parents?

    The Little Prince: Who Needs Parents?

    The Secret Garden: Who Needs Parents?

    etc.

  3. Stuart Little–Where Does It End? NO ONE KNOWS!