Who Done It?

Jon Scieszka, Author
Edited by Jon Scieszka. Soho Teen, $17.99 (368p) ISBN 978-1-61695-152-8
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In Scieszka’s anthology, which benefits Dave Eggers’s literary nonprofit 826NYC, 83 authors provide their alibis for the murder of editor Herman Q. Mildew (“the most hated man in ALL publishing,” as Peter Brown puts it). Most of the backhanded eulogies and professions of innocence that follow—from Libba Bray, John Green, Maureen Johnson, Lemony Snicket, Mo Willems, and many others—are two- to three-page essays. “Of course I wanted to murder Herman Mildew. Please understand, I want to murder people all the time, and I never do it,” writes Mac Barnett, who then lists other hateful people he hasn’t killed. Elsewhere, a murderous tweet comes back to haunt #gayleformanicepickkiller; an annotated illustration shows a suspicious looking Adele Griffin and Lisa Brown with straitjackets and voodoo dolls; and David Levithan riffs on William Carlos Williams (“herman mildew ate/ the plums/ that were in/ the icebox/ and I was pissed”). Jokes about royalty statements, missed deadlines, and editorial cruelty may be a bit inside-baseball for the average reader, but teens should be entertained by the range of imagination and humor on display, while seeing favorite authors in a mischievous new light. Ages 12–up. (Feb.)
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