July 16, 2007

Eine Kleine Buchpenis


So German children's book author/illustrator Rotraut Susanne Berner--who illustrated that Sylvia Plath children's book I mentioned yesterday--was in talks with a US publisher [the not not-edgy Boyds Mills Press] to release her latest series of seasonally themed picture books. If Berner's to be believed, the deal fell through because she refused to redraw a museum scene so there's no bush on the nude painting and no near-microscopic penis on the nude sculpture.

So what does Berner do? In a classic "No, I broke up first!" move, she runs to Spiegel Magazine to proclaim her artistic independence and to mock her suitor's fears of attacks from prudish American activists.

Fine, Germans get to feel smugly superior for a few minutes, while Berner gloats about the book's best-seller status [seriously] in the Faroe Islands. Which is the publishing industry equivalent of touting your half-millimeter penis.

The Mini-Penis Scandal: US Publisher Turns away from Cartoon Nudity [spiegel.de via the hornbook editor's blog, read roger]


Those Germans and their nudity...it was a German children's book a friend had, written for a soon-to-be big sibling, about what it would be like when the baby comes. This is the only book I have ever seen that shows a mother breastfeeding a baby. You can see naked mommy sitting all pregnant in the bath, you can see mommy nursing and nipples sticking out, it's a lovely book - very honest about a mother's body and what happens when a baby comes. I'm sure it would NEVER get puclished in the US with those illustrations, which is such a shame.

Come on it is ridicoulus to ban the books picture because they could harm poor innocent American children. What´s up with you Americans? I think you should get rid of breasts,penises, pubic hair etc all together and become genderless. I feel pity for you all

[sounds like Spiegel knows what its audience wants to read. I'm as sad as the next German media pawn that Knut's not cute anymore. But this scandal was based on one side of one discussion between one editor of one tiny company and one illustrator popular one one island where they still eat whales. If people'd think about it for two seconds, this scandal would be about as impressive as a half-millimeter penis. -ed.]

all children's books should feature illustrated penises hidden like waldos throughout every page -- it can make story time ever the more uncomfortable and puzzling

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