FAQ with Zeldar the Great, author of the parody The Rabbit Who Wants to Go to Harvard.
(From Quartz magazine: “The Rabbit Who Wants to Go to Harvard is a picture book inspired by another bunny-based story that had parents in a frenzy last year, The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep, which shushed and murmured kids into slumber…This book…takes kids and parents on a journey to that collegiate paradise: Harvard…Along the way, readers meet Adderall Aardvark, who doles out the eponymous focus-enhancement drug. There’s also Admissions Officer Owl, who has a line of 34,295 other rabbits out his door, and Kollege Koach Kitty, who sits atop a pile of cash…The book, written in second-person with the same instruction-based formatting as the original story by Swedish author Carl-Johan Forssén Ehrlin, mocks the over-the-top requirements kids need to gain admission into elite colleges.”
Some sample lines:
Since Kollege Koach Kitty is wise, I will do what she tells me, thought Ronald.
“Join a varsity sports team.” Ronald did as Kitty told him.
“Take up an orchestral instrument.” Ronald did so now.
“Publish a scientific paper in a nationally recognized journal.” Ronald did so, now.
“Don’t worry about your essays, Ronald. I will write those,” said Kitty.
Q: Zeldar, you’re a hypnotist, magician, and part-time limo driver. What made you want to write a children’s book? What qualifies you to write a book like The Rabbit Who Wants to Go to Harvard?
A: The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep was a mega-bestseller that “relaxes” kids with what they call “psychological techniques” to make them do what mom says. This is right up my alley. I can hypnotize a forty-year-old accountant in Vegas to strip naked and hand over his wallet in front of three-thousand screaming drunks. So when I met a mom at a…um, at a playground…yeah…I met her at a playground…and she was whining about this and that and I can’t get my kid to sleep even though I tried this mind-control book and whatever, I was like, “Lady, I can get your kid to bend to your will and do whatever you want, so let’s think big here.” I saw there was a huge market out there in the kiddie psychology control type business. And what do moms want? Power.
A: There you go again, that face. Like I’m making this up? They don’t call it the Mommy Wars for nothing. It’s brutal out there. Okay, say you’re on the playground. Mom #1 in her Lulu Lemon workout gear and real diamond stud earrings and this and that says, “Oh, my kid sleeps through the night. Oh, of course my kid puts himself to sleep. He has since day one. La la la!” That’s war. SHOTS ARE FIRED. But what if your kid won’t go to sleep? What if you are one of those parents who buys The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep and it doesn’t work? I mean, it works for like, a lot of kids, right? Sure. But not all of them. So what, those kids are losers? Those parents are failures? No! Those parents and kids have bigger, better goals.
Look, there are two kinds of kids out there: The ones who sleep and the ones with plans. I’m from Vegas, so I know this about human nature. So now you’re back on that playground. Mom #2 in her puke-stained hoodie and three-days-without-a-shower hair and this and that and whatever can say, “Oh, isn’t it cute that your kid’s so sleepy. Well, mine’s not a slacker like yours. Mine’s preparing for Harvard.” See what I’m getting at? Power. War. Winning.
Q: But why write a book about higher learning? You don’t seem the, ah, type.
A: Tell you the truth, my first proposal to those book people was The Rabbit Who Wants to Get Into My White Van. My friend Lenny suggested it. What? Jeez. You book people have exactly zero sense of humor. So I tried, The Rabbit Who Wants to Go Potty. It was all about relaxing your sphincter, real basic hypnotism, relaxation technique stuff—what? I’m not allowed to say sphincter? Yeah, that’s what those book people said, too. Like that book wouldn’t be a hit for sure. Whatever. So after a bunch more ideas, I hit on the Harvard thing. Then I just had to go in and change a few words.
Q: But you didn’t really write the book. You had help.
A: Hey, I don’t beat my own bongos either. What? Sheesh. Is my publicist crying? She is. Someone hand her a hankie. My next book is going to be The Rabbit Who Can Take a Joke.
A: I understand that there’s a character in your book named Adderall Aardvark. Do you see anything wrong with that? Is that too edgy for parents? Is that something to joke about?
Q: Ha! You shoulda seen the stuff those book people cut. I could write a whole sequel. We had a character named–oh, my publicist is having a cardiac now. Like, okay. Let go of my arm, Katie. Breathe. In. Out. Deep breath. You okay, hon? See–I relax them like crazy.
Q: Have you met the author of The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep? How does he feel about your book?
A: He loves it. I mean, I haven’t actually met him or whatever, but see, here’s how it works: Parents buy The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep and The Rabbit Who Wants to Go to Harvard at the same time ’cause, you know, parents will believe anything. Then, if his book doesn’t work, instead of leaving nasty one-star reviews all over Amazon that call him a fraud and a fake just cause their kids aren’t the sleepy types, they just open The Rabbit Who Wants to Go to Harvard and then they’re happy. It’s win-win for everyone. Except, you know, maybe the kid, who probably just wants to throw stones and stick stuff in his ear and whatever. But they definitely wouldn’t let me write The Rabbit Who Wants to Stick Stuff in His Ear. Like, kids would buy that like crack…like, um, candy. I mean, that’s what kids are really into. But kids don’t have any cash. I’m learning about this business real quick like. It’s all about mom and dad and grandma and whatever.
Q: So people should buy The Rabbit Who Wants to Go to Harvard and The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep together. Like, as a gift set?
A: You’re not as dumb as you look. Kidding! You do not look dumb. Boring, maybe, but not dumb. Okay, kidding. Forget it. Here’s how it works. Look into my eyes. Good. Stare. Deeply. You will count slowly, backward from ten, nine, eight, seven…you are getting sleepy…six…your eyelids feel heavy…five…but you are not asleep…four…you are under my power…when I reach one, you will log onto Amazon.com and buy The Rabbit Who Wants to Go to Harvard…three…you are feeling peaceful…you are feeling ready to buy the book, now…two…You will buy The Rabbit Who Wants to Go to Harvard and then The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep and you will be the hit of the baby bath or, what, shower? Baby shower or whatever…I don’t really get invited to so many of those things…here comes the link…you will click the link when I say…One!
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FAQ with Diana Holquist, ghost author of the parody The Rabbit Who Wants to Go to Harvard.
Q: Diana, you had to work with Zeldar the Great to write The Rabbit Who Wants to Go to Harvard. How’d that go? He seems a little, um, rough.
A: Zeldar was fantastic. He is truly a literary genius.
Q: Was the book Zeldar’s idea?
A: Yes. Everything funny and good in the book came from Zeldar. I fixed the syntax, punctuation, stuff like that. And Chris made some cute pictures. But I think we can all be clear where the genius lies.
Q: Your eyes are kind of, distant. Are you okay?
A: I am great. Thank you.
Q: It’s like, almost, you’ve been hypnotized or something. I’m like, waving my hand in front of your face, and you’re not even blinking.
A: Zeldar is the best. Hail to Zeldar.
Q: Can I get a little help here? I think someone better call 911.
A: Buy the book. Here are the links. You will be very happy…
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