Some days, you want to get in your car, drive to NYC, find an editor, and shake him or her for a while shouting, “HOW? HOW DID YOU LET THIS HAPPEN?? WHY IS THIS BOOK OUT OF PRINT???”
Or maybe that’s just me.
I had to go whole years coping with this feeling at least once a month during that sad, sad time when the Choose Your Own Adventure, Goosebumps, and Babysitters Club series were all out of print. It felt personal. Every other day, I’d have some kid jumping up and down happy when I’d give him the one bedraggled, multiply-taped-together Choose Your Own Adventure book we had left, and I’d have to wonder why publishers would so willfully choose not to make money. With the recent decision to republish the Babysitter’s Club series, I can now focus all my ire on the Animorphs being out of print. (Oh, yeah, Scholastic, I’m talking about you. You thought bringing back Goosebumps and the Babysitters would make me forget about the Animorphs, but I am not that easily bought. You published and marketed those things effectively, and the gaps in my collection are ALL YOUR FAULT.)
Last week, though, in my quest to find books that are Halloween-y that aren’t really about Halloween, I found a new book to be angry about: Ghost Eats It All! by Janee Trasler. It’s about a ghost (named Ghost—this is becoming something of a trend) who eats things. Each spread has a simple sentence about what he’s eating on the left-hand page, and on the facing page, we see Ghost eating the item in question. Beside him, there is Monster, licking his lips. As the story goes along and Ghost eats more things (an egg, an apple, a cake), Monster goes from hungrier to annoyed to downright angry. Adding insult to injury, because Ghost is transparent, Monster (and the reader) can see all that food right in his stomach (undigested, obviously). Finally, Monster decides to take action in an ending that is bizarre and completely right. This book is 7” square, and its size, basic sentences, food-based storyline, and focused, non-scary, bright illustrations make it just right for toddlers (and beginning readers, for that matter). For adults, that bizarre factor is also sly and pretty funny. (It is, dare I say, even slightly demented.) When I found the book and read it and fell in love, I thought, “I need to buy more!”
And you know what happened. Out of print. Also, we only own one copy, and we’re the only library in the ENTIRE COUNTY that owns a copy.