The prepublication smash hit of 2011 Go the Fuck to Sleep gathers itself for a second run at number one on the bestseller list with a slightly repackaged version that features kid-safe language.
The rhyming quatrains have been largely retained, with just the last line or two smoothed over for actual child audiences. "How come you can do all this other great shit / But you can't lie the fuck down and sleep?" becomes "You're incredibly cute, and super-duper smart, / But why's it so hard to just sleep?" after a little massage (which often casts scansion to the wind). The book's trim is larger than its original, and a few of the illustrations have been redone. In one scene, an African-American father tiptoes out of the room, as his cherubic child (maybe) nods off, where in the original both were Caucasian. But playing it straight just doesn't work for this effort. If anything made its progenitor funny, it was the juxtaposition of the parental cri de coeur against the worst excesses of the bedtime-book form. Syrupy imagery ("giant pangolins of Madagascar are snoozing") combined with equally gooey metaphorical illustrations in gleeful parody. Here, it's just another derivative piece of merchandising. The book's creators make sure readers know this: On the floor of the African-American child's bedroom, Go the Fuck to Sleep peeks out from underneath The Cat in the Hat and Goodnight Moon.
Just as manipulative as the books it claims to mock. (Picture book. 2-6)