In an event billed as “A Fortunate Stage Talk,” actor Neil Patrick Harris, of Doogie Howser and How I Met Your Mother fame, who currently stars as Count Olaf in the TV adaptation of A Series of Unfortunate Events, will reunite with Chris Harris (no relation), who was the executive producer of How I Met Your Mother, and A Series of Unfortunate Events author Lemony Snicket. They will talk up their fall books from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, but, as Neil says, expect “lots of laughs and Scrabble-worthy wordy banter”—and perhaps some literal magic, since, as a bona fide magician, he no doubt has some tricks up his sleeve to delight the audience, starting with his debut children’s book.
The Magic Misfits is the first in Neil Harris’s series about a slightly offbeat group of children who love the craft of magic. Assisted by their wise magic mentor, they try to get to the bottom of suspicious happenings in town, exposing the shenanigans of all sorts of charlatans who sound like escapees from the pages of A Series of Unfortunate Events. “Two of my favorite things are magic and reading, which collided with two new favorite things: my twin six-year-old children,” Neil says.
The Bad Mood and the Stick, Snicket’s new picture book, illus. by Matthew Forsythe, demonstrates how negativity—in the form of a stick—can move from person to person, wreaking havoc. But, adds Snicket, even when there is negativity in the air, “something wondrous can happen.”
Snicket wants parents and children to realize that the world is an unpredictable and confusing place, and it’s made even more confusing to children when adults tell them that the world isn’t so fickle. The author advocates that people just accept the world’s capriciousness, even if they cannot bring themselves to revel in it.
Despite his book’s theme, Snicket promises not to bring any negativity into Javits, “because there are enough people already at Javits in a bad mood. There’s something about a large, windowless convention hall that brings out grumpiness in people.” Even though booksellers may feel pessimistic as they wander around Javits, he says, that can be alleviated by discovering a book that “can cause such delight that they forget the inevitable troubles of bookselling.”
Chris Harris did not originally set out to publish the collection of poems that became I’m Just No Good at Rhyming and Other Nonsense for Mischievous Kids and Immature Grown-Ups, his picture book, illus. by Lane Smith. The poems were originally written for his children, because they were “super serious babies who were highly skeptical of the world,” and he wanted to make them laugh with “weird” rhymes. Writing a book, he observes, was “magical” and a “fun escape” from writing for television, which, he says, “is a very collaborative process. It takes hundreds of people to create a TV show, while when writing a book, I can hole up in a cafe and type something out, and what I write is what people will read.”
Today, 2–3 p.m. Neil Patrick Harris and Lemony Snicket will engage in conversation, moderated by Chris Harris, on the Main Stage.
Today, 3:30–4:30 p.m. The three authors will sign copies of their books in the Autographing Area: Neil Patrick Harris at Table 1, Lemony Snicket at Table 2, and Chris Harris at Table 5.