September 3, 2009

Dust Jackets, Also George Aiken Didn't Write A Parenting Book


I know she's only been around for a year and a half, but it feels like we've been bogged down in a dust jacket war with K2 since the 1960's. Once she discovered books, her perpetual first action has been to strip the dust jacket off and leave it for dead. Then we'd--I'd--dutifully explain how we leave dust jackets on books, we take care of books, and I'd put them back on.

What a quagmire. No amount of negotiating could change her. So we got down our tattered copy of Henry Kissinger's Guide To Influential Parenting. There on page 335 was the answer: "The child wins if she does not lose; the parent loses if he does not win."

So we decided to win. We declared victory, and then we pulled out. Any time a book came off the shelf, we'd just take the dust jacket off and file it away on a higher shelf. Problem solved, or at least in the process of being solved.

Until K2 somehow figured out how to reach the dust jacket shelf. She just came running out of her room with a sheaf of dust jackets; I went in to find the whole pile strewn all over the floor.

So now they've been evacuated to the roof of the book embassy, where they await the last Marine choppers to fly them to safety.


If you are the US in this particular Kissinger-esque conflict, we were France.

We had the same battles, lost them, retreated and retrenched, and lost more ground. We finally had to evacuate the field completely - We simply pulled off the jackets and I filed them away.

Luckily, my little devil is very gentle with books and minimal wear has been inflicted

As soon as Cambodia or Chile comes along, I'll send K2 over to rip their dust jackets to shreds and then pretend she had nothing to do with it.

Our dust jackets were removed at the first sign of attack and are all currently hiding in an undisclosed location where they sit until this whole mess blows over or further instructions arrive.

The real question is what those instructions ought to be. I mean, what's the point of dust jackets anyway?


A dust jacket protects the book from the domino effects of dust, shell-wear, and general finger-related grubbiness.

Greg, you could always have K2 render them in an extraordinary fashion. Grab them in the middle of the night, transport them to an undisclosed location, and THEN shred them.

The books sit vertically, so the dust falls on the top edge of the pages. The main wear on the covers is at the corners, and is either teeth marks (when kid is young) or accidental crushing. Finger grubbiness mostly shows up on the inside pages; the outside covers are either plastic-coated and can be wiped off easily, or are fabric, and don't show dirt much.

Therefore I conclude that dust jackets are meaningless except as marketing window-dressing in the bookstore. I take the dust jackets off of my own books; they're a nuisance.

My mom took a bunch of dust jackets, cut out the interesting pictures, and put them in a photo album. She found one of those those old photo albums with the sticky pages and the plastic covers. Now my son flips through the book and makes up stories with all the crazy combinations of characters and settings.
I've been meaning to let him do the same with the stack of dust jackets we have sitting on a high shelf.

Our family is so gonna do that!

Funny, my 2.5 year old son just pulled a dust jacket off of one of his books tonight- "I don't want this!"

Is that a mini trip trap high chair under the dust jackets or am i too sleep deprived to see clearly?

why yes, yes it is.

Our 16-month old has stripped all of the dust jackets from the low-laying bookshelf, and some she has torn to bits. I found her one day in the process of tearing Shel Silverstein's "A Light in the Attic" and all I could salvage was the photo of Shel on the inner flap. I put it on the fridge (high up so she couldn't finish the job) and ever since I've been happy to see Shel's bald and bearded mug smiling at me as I go for the half-gallon of neopolitan ice cream in the freezer.

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