book cover of The Book of Mean People

The Book of Mean People

(2002)
A Chapbook by

 
 
Pulitzer Prize-winner Toni Morrison returns with her son Slade for a second kids' book, this one a catalog of the "mean people" in a young rabbit's life. The results, happily, make for much more fun than the Morrison duo's weirdly subtle The Big Box.

"This is a book about mean people," begins our tiny hero, and almost immediately we realize that illustrator Pascal Lemaître is going to give cartoonist Matt Groening a run for his money when it comes to goofily rendered rabbits. Each "mean" person gets playful, exaggerated, kid-perspective treatment from Lemaître, whether we're seeing a towering dad who barely fits onto two pages ("Some mean people are big") or a mother who's using her nearly telescopic arm to force veggies down our hero's throat ("There are people who smile when they are being mean"). The rabbit's "Mean People" book gets assembled page by page, and no one is spared--not grandparents, brothers, teachers, not even a babysitter with an alarm clock five times the size of her head.

The Morrisons maintain some of their Big Box subtlety by begging the question--of both kids and grownups--of why and whether and which of these people are really "mean" at all. (Even young kids will see the difference between making somebody get out of bed in the morning and tearing the wings off a butterfly.) Whatever the lesson, The Book of Mean People ends inevitably, triumphantly--"I will smile anyway!"--with a joyous, naked plunge into a flowery forest. ("How about that!") (Ages 4 to 8) --Paul Hughes

Genre: Children's Fiction

Used availability for Toni Morrison's The Book of Mean People

Hardback Editions

June 2005 : USA Library Binding

Title: Book of Mean People
Author(s): Toni Morrison
ISBN: 0-606-33441-6 / 978-0-606-33441-9 (USA edition)
Publisher: Demco Media
Availability: Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


September 2002 : USA Hardback
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Title: The Book of Mean People
Author(s): Toni Morrison
ISBN: 0-7868-0540-4 / 978-0-7868-0540-2 (USA edition)
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


September 2002 : USA Hardback
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Title: The Book of Mean People
Author(s): Toni Morrison, Slade Morrison
ISBN: 0-7868-2471-9 / 978-0-7868-2471-7 (USA edition)
Publisher: Hyperion Books
Availability: Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


Paperback Editions

July 2005 : USA Paperback
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Title: The Book of Mean People
Author(s): Toni Morrison, Slade Morrison
ISBN: 0-7868-1400-4 / 978-0-7868-1400-8 (USA edition)
Publisher: Hyperion
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   


September 2002 : USA Spiral-bound
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Title: The Book of Mean People Journal
Author(s): Toni Morrison
ISBN: 0-7868-0895-0 / 978-0-7868-0895-3 (USA edition)
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU