A star-studded anthology with a devilish hook, whose proceeds benefit 826nyc: the fabulous literacy non-profit founded by Dave Eggers.
Can you imagine the most cantankerous book editor alive? Part Voldemort, part Cruella de Vil (if she were a dude), and worse in appearance and odor than a gluttonous farm pig? A man who makes no secret of his love of cheese or his disdain of unworthy authors? That man is Herman Mildew.
The anthology opens with an invitation to a party, care of this insufferable monster, where more than 80 of the most talented, bestselling and recognizable names in YA and children’s fiction learn that they are suspects in his murder. All must provide alibis in brief first-person entries. The problem is that all of them are liars, all of them are fabulists, and all have something to hide...
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.