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Original Essays | September 30, 2014

Benjamin Parzybok: IMG A Brief History of Video Games Played by Mayors, Presidents, and Emperors



Brandon Bartlett, the fictional mayor of Portland in my novel Sherwood Nation, is addicted to playing video games. In a city he's all but lost... Continue »
  1. $11.20 Sale Trade Paper add to wish list

    Sherwood Nation

    Benjamin Parzybok 9781618730862

Original Essays | September 30, 2014

Benjamin Parzybok: IMG A Brief History of Video Games Played by Mayors, Presidents, and Emperors



Brandon Bartlett, the fictional mayor of Portland in my novel Sherwood Nation, is addicted to playing video games. In a city he's all but lost... Continue »
  1. $11.20 Sale Trade Paper add to wish list

    Sherwood Nation

    Benjamin Parzybok 9781618730862

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Kids' Q&A

Adam Rex

Describe your latest project.
Pssst! is basically a cautionary tale for people who don't know how to say no when asked by zoo animals to run personal errands for them. But I don't want it to sound like too much of a "message" book. It also has penguins wearing bicycle helmets.

I'm no good at describing my own work. Here's what the publisher says:

A child, a visit to the zoo, animals — sounds like good, simple all-American fun. But there's something different about this zoo. These animals want things. Unusual things. What will they do with them?

See, that's better, right? Draws you in.

My first novel also comes out this October — The True Meaning of Smekday.


  1. Pssst!
    $4.95 Used Hardcover add to wishlist

    Pssst!

    Adam Rex
    "A very funny excursion." Publishers Weekly
  2. The True Meaning of Smekday
    $6.50 Used Hardcover add to wishlist
    "Who knew the end of the world could be so hilarious?" Publishers Weekly
How did the last good book you read end up in your hands?
It got in my hands because I borrowed it from my sister. It's still in my hands because I accidentally spilled a bottle of Guinness on it and she doesn't want it back.

What was your favorite story as a child?
The Monster at the End of This Book, starring lovable, furry old Grover, by Jon Stone and Mike Smollin. Or maybe Are You My Mother? by P. D. Eastman.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A famous artist living on a horse farm. I was kind of a sissy.

Why do you write books for kids?
I guess one of the reasons is that picture books and kids' novels are among the kinds of stories I like. I just recently went from The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin to 365 Penguins by Fromental and Jolivet to The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen, and it felt great. Like you're using all the parts of your brain.

It's immensely satisfying to be read by kids, though, because they adore books so much. Every title they pick up becomes a landmark in their young lives, and I think it only gets harder and harder to have that kind of impact on people as they grow older.

Name the best Simpsons episode of all time, and explain why it's the best.
Hard to pick. I love "You Only Move Twice," the James Bond-esque story that introduced evil genius/terrific boss Hank Scorpio, who I think has to be the best character to only appear in a single episode.

What's your favorite holiday and why?
If everyone liked Halloween as much as I do, it would probably be my favorite holiday. I'm often the guy at the party in the full-body, home-made robot costume that weighs twenty pounds and lights up, when everyone else is just wearing dime-store fangs or has a sheet over their head.

So I'll say Christmas.

If you could pick anyone to illustrate one of your books, who would it be and why? Conversely, if you're an illustrator, for what author would you like to illustrate?
I'd gladly give up illustrator duties if I could work with James Jean.

As for whom I'd like to illustrate — can someone talk George Saunders into writing another kids' book? Or talk David Rakoff into writing his first one? What about John Hodgman?

÷ ÷ ÷

Adam Rex is the illustrator of The Dirty Cowboy by Amy Timberlake, Ste-E-E-E-eamboat A-Comin' by Jill Esbaum, and Small Beauties by Elvira Woodruff. He wrote and illustrated Tree Ring Circus and the New York Times bestseller Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich. Adam lives with his wife in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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