Sherman Ave's Ideal Celebrity-narrated Children's Books
There’s nothing like college to remind you that your childhood is dead and gone. A lot of people spend their time fighting this realization like I fight the societal norm of wearing pants when I go to Confession. To counter-balance the horrifyingly disenchanting reality of adult life, college students often blend their adult pleasures with their childhood loves, like getting high while watching Disney Channel original movies, drinking gin at playgrounds, or documenting which absurdly sexualized cartoon characters were your favorite. For me, though, there’s no better way to come to grips with reality than by having a very real, very adult celebrity read me a classic bedtime story.
But the truth is, you can only hear Christopher Walken analyze Where the Wild Things Are so many times before you start playing Russian Roulette in Vietnamese cockfighting dens. Similarly, I’m not exactly sold on Samuel L. Jackson’s reading of Go the Fuck to Sleep. It’s like he’s simultaneously trying to entertain me and NOT entertain me, which coincidentally sums up SLJ’s performance in the Star Wars prequel trilogy. And Drew Bledsoe’s promising It’s Not Going to Get Any Better When You Grow Up is another reminder of the many ways I’ve disappointed my father (not being an athlete, not getting into Yale, not closing the garage door that one time he asked me to- NO WONDER YOU NEVER HUG ME DADDY.)
We need more celebrities to step out of their comfort zones and read us children’s stories while hinting at adult themes. Northwestern alumn Stephen Colbert just wrote his own children’s book, I Am a Pole (and So Can You!),so the children’s book market is obviously about to hit a bubble. But we don’t want the Morgan Freemans and Liam Neesons of the entertainment world reading to us -- their voices are so smooth and tender that they’d put us to sleep. As young adults fighting responsibility and normalcy, we’re probably going to be smoking crack and arranging cross-dresser strip poker while we listen to these audiobooks. With those circumstances in mind, I present to you these children’s book/celebrity mash-ups.
Go Dog Go, as read by Mark Wahlberg Go Dog Go is a great book for those just beginning to read, so Marky Mark, who failed to graduate high school, is a perfect fit. Ideally, Mr. Wahlberg will avoid a tangent about how he would’ve prevented 9/11. Mark’s ability as an actor will complement his description of Go Dog Go’s illustrations: “And ah, here’s a feckin’, ah, feckin’ blue dawg, drivin’ a cah, how tha fuck’s he do that? He’s a dawg! And oh hey there red dog, whadda you up to? Say hi to your bitch of a motha fo’ me, okay? And why the fack are all these dogs in a tree? They don’t got no thumbs, how tha fack do they climb a fackin’ ladduh?"
The Very Hungry Caterpillar, as read by Lady Gaga Lady Gaga has made herself the spokesperson for the disenfranchised, so a story about a morbidly obese insect that transforms into a narcissistic and self-absorbed glory hog is right up her alley. ‘Baby, you were born to eat that apple! And that pie. And that buffalo chicken sandwich… Just be you! You’re on the edge of glory gluttony!”
The Giving Tree, as read by Woody Allen The author’s familiarity with Mr. Allen stems from watching the first 20 minutes of Midnight in Paris as well as several impersonations of the famed director-cum-statutory rapist. The man seems to be wracked by guilt, so a story about a boy who takes literally EVERYTHING from his best friend without saying thank you, and then dismembers his friend, and then sits on his friend because he can’t figure out what more harm he can do to his friend, is PERFECT for ol’ Woody.
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, as read by Robert Downey Jr. Who better than Iron Man to read a story about a series of escalating dares, about living on the edge, about pressing the envelope and doing coke off said envelope and using that envelope to flag down strippers? No one. Fuck Charlie Sheen. “And then the mouse asked for “milk” to go with that “cookie,” if you know what I mean. And then the cops came to the mouse’s house with a warrant, and then the mouse turned out to be really fucking high, and then the mouse got his shit together and became really cool. The end.”
The Little Engine That Could, as read by Carly Rae Jespen Ms. Jespen’s life is so fraught with uncertainty, her dramatic reading of this classic would feel incredibly organic and emotional.
The Polar Express, as read by Tom Hanks Chet Haze Mr. Hanks is a little too hung up playing World War II with his buddy Stephen Spielberg, but his prodigal son is a perfect fit to read the book that inspired the movie that starred his father in like, seventeen simultaneous leading roles. Knowing Chet via his twitter feed, The Polar Express would likely become The Bang Bus to Miami, complete with shirtless pics and metaphysical discussions about materialism.
Oh The Places You’ll Go, as read by Nicolas Cage. Just think about it.
Author’s note: Toni Morrison was asked to read The Kissing Hand but refused because the story involves raccoons. THAS RAYCESS. Additionally, Joe Pesci and Robert DeNiro offered to read their co-authored story The Day Daddy Came Home Covered in Blood, but their submitted audiotape consisted only of the two Goodfellas actors saying “How am I funny?” and “You talkin’ to me?”
 Immediately after writing this sentence, the author broke down crying, clutching his blankie and Fuzzy Wuzzy bear. He only hopes you do the same.