Books by Jay Leno

Released: March 23, 2004

What does it mean when a publisher specifically instructs that a review of a celebrity-written book not appear before its publication? Nothing good—and late-night star Leno's maiden offering for kids lives up to this promise. Leno takes a promising concept—the overachieving dad's new "project" (in this case, a new patio with rotisserie)—and grinds it into the dirt. Jay (big-jawed even in childhood), his dad, and the family dog, Bruce, pile into the car to the Hardware Supermax, load up on supplies, and haul it home to the clucking of his thrifty mom's tongue. When the patio is finally built, little Jay starts shaving off bits of the inaugural roast with his comb—which then melts onto the beef, at last precipitating the act that inspires the title. The tale is told at the top of the authorial lungs, with no modulation in tone whatsoever. What in a cleverer craftsman's hands could have been a terrifically kid-centered tale about parental foibles becomes a non-stop shout; magazine-illustrator Whitehead's accompanying pictures suit the text perfectly, matching its lack of subtlety decibel for decibel. A CD with Leno himself performing the text reveals that his reading is as tone-deaf as his writing. (Picture book. 5-7)Read full book review >