More Roses Reviews
“I was a little apprehensive because of her reputation but actually she’s matured, it’s good for pre-teen girls so they don’t judge other people and who knows better about judging then Madonna cause she’s been judged,” said Jeannine Gallenstein, mother….
Read what mums think of the English Roses and some more reviews by click on READ MORE
By Kate Taylor – From Wednesday’s Globe and Mail
This week the international publishing trade has witnessed an unprecedented event. Thanks to the speed and reach of contemporary technology, a book was published in more than 100 countries and 30 languages simultaneously on Monday, with an initial print run of a million copies.
This feat follows logically from the massive marketing effort that launched J. K. Rowlings‘s Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix into the English-speaking world last June. Indeed, the same British publicity firm that handles Harry Potter orchestrated the multilingual publication of this new volume with the same secrecy and control, forcing booksellers to stick religiously to the release date and refusing to make any advance copies available to the media or the trade. The latter event was so successful it left commentators vainly searching for precedents — no book seemed to have been greeted with such widespread public anticipation since Charles Dickens released The Old Curiosity Shop in a tantalizing string of serials back in 1840-41.
The new volume that is breaking this marketing ground might seem like an unlikely bestseller. It’s a children’s book about a clique of four girls who shun a beautiful schoolmate because they are jealous of her much-praised perfections. This simple moral tale about judging others — a fairy godmother appears and offers a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the beauty’s wretched life — is then busily illustrated with images of leggy preteen girls with massive eyes.
Of course, there is only one reason why The English Roses is being published so widely and marketed so assiduously: it was written by Madonna. The pop star, who dedicates The English Roses to her six-year-old daughter Lourdes and three-year-old son Rocco, is not the first parent to wonder if her bedtime storytelling talents don’t deserve a wider audience. But when an impoverished Chicago journalist turned travelling salesman or a young London magazine editor and First World War veteran approached the professionals with their first efforts, it was the power of their imaginations not of their names that convinced publishers to back the writers who would produce The Wizard of Oz and Winnie the Pooh.
One of the more vacuous manifestations of celebrity culture — although, God knows, it’s a crowded field — is the crossover project in which the famous name tries out an new medium and is showered with attention if not outright praise for pedestrian efforts that leave the real pros and their more discerning audiences gnashing their teeth. The most popular area for these attempts used to be the visual arts, as commercial galleries conned the public into buying paintings, sculptures and photographs distinguished only by their celebrity signatures. That trend, which has stretched from the clown paintings of Red Skelton to the celebrity photo portraits of Bryan Adams, reached a nadir in 2000 when the Mendel Art Gallery in Saskatoon gave singer Joni Mitchell a solo show filled with merely competent portraits of herself and her boyfriend, an honour of which most Sunday painters are only permitted to fantasize.
Now children’s literature seems to be the favourite place for these demonstrations. Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, got the ball rolling with the publication of Budgie the Little Helicopter back in 1989, and since then Spike Lee, Jamie Lee Curtis and Jerry Seinfeld have all published children’s books. Little Red, Ferguson’s latest effort, an utterly banal and rather saccharin tale of a brave redheaded girl who saves a stranded bunny, hit the bookstores just a few days before The English Roses.
You can see the initial attraction of writing a book for children rather than anything weightier: If many might hesitate to claim a novelist’s subtle insights into the adult heart, all parents feel they know kids. And besides, children’s books are so much quicker to write. Best of all, they are subject to very little scrutiny by critics.
But if these paintings and books are seized on by a marketing machine only too happy to be shilling a known brand, the motivation of the artists themselves often seems naive rather than cynical. Told by the media and their fans that their every move is newsworthy and their every word deathless, they mistakenly assume their every creation is artistic. They can seem rather pathetically anxious for recognition in their secondary fields, as though they secretly suspect their overwhelming success in areas where thousands of talented individuals have failed is as much a matter of luck as it is of genius, and they would dearly like to see some achievement elsewhere to vindicate their image of themselves as legitimate artists.
Indeed, there is something almost wide-eyed about the belated conversion of the former Material Girl and sexual provocateuse to family values.
Madonna, who appeared at her London book launch in a demure floral print dress, is even identified as Madonna Ritchie in the author’s blurb on the jacket flap, now apparently taking the last name of her husband, filmmaker Guy Ritchie, after years of riotous living among that select crowd known internationally by their first names. Anticipating comments on the irony of this change of posture, Madonna has explained in statements about the book on her Web site that raising kids forces most people to grow up. She attributes her own emotional maturity to her study of the Jewish mystical texts of the cabala, while proceeds from her book, first in an intended series of five inspired by those moral traditions, will be donated to an organization dedicated to advancing spirituality for children.
Those who managed to grow up before they had children all without any help from the cabala may be forgiven for wondering if this really is the smartest route to success in kids’ lit. On the contrary, the enduring hits in the field — from the logical puzzles of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to the delicious nonsense of Alligator Pie and the scatalogical humour of Captain Underpants — were produced by authors who have a rare talent from remaining childlike in their sense of wonder and anarchy. It’s not that the preachy English Roses is a bad children’s book; it’s just completely unremarkable, a million copies notwithstanding.
Local Mothers And Daughters Talk About Madonna’s New Book
Reported by: Andrea Canning/Stacy Puzo WCPO
Madonna has kissed Brittany, appeared in GAP ads with Missy and turned prissy all in the last two weeks.
The multi-faceted singer was also on Oprah Tuesday promoting her new children’s book, “The English Roses“. It’s a book that teaches lessons of acceptance.
“If I leaned over and kissed you right now it would probably make national news, we could fly to New York and be on Howard Stern tomorrow but would that advance my career as a children’s author? I certainly hope not and I think that’s something to keep in mind do you want that person coming into your home as an author for a children’s book I don’t think so, I don’t as a mother,” said Kat Shehata, local children’s author.
Shehata isn’t thrilled that Madonna’s book has shot to number one on Amazon’s children’s bestseller list.
But others say she deserves it.
“She’s also a mom and I think that’s part of the reason she wrote this book. I mean everyone changes, I really… it’s a good book to get,” said Virginia Mulholland, Joseph-Beth Booksellers.
Can the woman known for her sex book and racy videos dazzle a new younger audience?
9News’ Andrea Canning read the book to some girls at Cornerstone Montessouri in Dayton, Kentucky.
They gave a thumbs up for the book but they didn’t want to talk about Madonna, just her message.
“To be nice to people not to judge how they look and act,” said one student.
“It teaches kids to be nice to people that they don’t really know,” another student said.
“I was a little apprehensive because of her reputation but actually she’s matured, it’s good for pre-teen girls so they don’t judge other people and who knows better about judging then Madonna cause she’s been judged,” said Jeannine Gallenstein, mother.