As December progresses in its sleigh-like fashion, holiday traditions begin to unfurl. Yet not all elements of the season are remembered. Sometimes things fall from the sleigh and lie undiscovered by the wayside. If Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer re-enters your life you will recall the Island of Misfit Toys, with its ill-adapted occupants such as the train with square wheels and a boat that cannot float.
Perhaps you did not know that there is also an Island of Misfit Books? What makes a book a misfit? Its cover may commend it to the wrong audience, it may be marketed in the wrong genre, its illustrations and words may be mismatched. There are in fact numerous possibilities.
At DDG we make an annual trip to the Island of Misfit Books and bring back three of them to the store where they get special place during the holiday season. Here are this year’s guests.
First is Stop That Pickle, by Peter Armour, a picture book about a pickle running amok in a deli. The book has some fun with The Gingerbread Boy story but that is not what brought it to the store. You see the book was never ordered. We had ordered 10 copies of a different title and received Stop That Pickle by mistake. As he was being sent to The Island of Misfit Books the pickle book managed to escape from the box and we decided it could stay along with our other Island visitors.
Another book we have on hand is Mal Peet’s posthumous Murdstone Trilogy, a sublimely funny adult satire trapped in the body of a young adult book. The Murdstone Trilogy succeeds at being many things: a parody of young adult fantasy, a send-up of modern publishing, authoring and media in general, and a genuine dark fantasy in its own right. A tale of the failure of integrity and perspective, not of its attainment, the book is adult in every way a book can be, except for having been published and priced as a young adult book. Still, priced at $18.99 rather than $27.99, this is a misfit whose nature its rightful readers can take advantage of.
The third rescue from the Island Is Snook Alone. You see Snook Alone is a timeless story of a terrier named Snook who get abandoned on an island in the Aegean Sea. As Snook Alone began to be forgotten as a book, this made it mismatched with its timeless, classic appeal. The story demands a rescue and so we took Snook back to the store with us.
All bookstores have some Misfit rescues, of course. Are there any you are featuring this season?