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HALLOWEEN by Jerry Seinfeld


by Jerry Seinfeld & illustrated by James Bennett

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-316-70625-6
Publisher: Little, Brown

What do you get when you cross one of America’s most successful comedians with one of childhood’s most sacred days? A very funny picture book . . . for adults. Seinfeld’s (SeinLanguage, not reviewed) maiden effort for a child audience reads exactly like one of his stand-up routines: “. . . the first time you hear the concept of Halloween when you’re a kid, your brain can’t even process the idea. You’re like, ‘What is this? What did you say? Someone’s giving out candy? Who’s giving out candy? EVERYONE WE KNOW is just giving out candy?’ ” The narrative moves back and forth from the second-person address to a presumed adult audience to recollections of his own travails as a trick-or-treater. Parts are just gut-splitting, as when he finally gets his coveted Superman costume-in-a-box and realizes that the cruel reality is that it that it looks more like “Superman’s pajamas.” Magazine illustrator Bennett contributes high-energy paintings that depict a chubby-cheeked, youthful Seinfeld in a variety of dizzying perspectives that capture the momentum of the text: the bowed profile of child-Seinfeld trudging out the door in his baggy Superman costume, lantern-jawed plastic mask—and the winter coat his mother makes him wear—is priceless. But however well executed technically, it’s still, deep down, not a book for kids; the stance of the narrative necessarily demands a backward-looking audience, not an audience that is still living the experience of Halloween. Kids will like the bright illustrations and the consuming enthusiasm for candy, but ultimately there’s not much else there for them. The publisher labels the book for “all ages”—change that to 30-50, and you’ll get a much better match of product to audience. (Picture book. 12+)