100 Scope Notes
Inside 100 Scope Notes

Children’s Lit Commish: All Picture Books Must Appear to be ‘What Does the Fox Say?’ Sequels

In an unprecedented move, the Children’s Literature Commissioner has declared that all new books must give the impression they are What Does the Fox Say? sequels.

At a press conference this morning, the Commissioner appeared wearing sunglasses in the shape of dollar signs to outline his controversial plan.

“Have you seen this yet?” said the giddy Commissioner, before clicking play on the What Does the Fox Say? YouTube video and three of its remixes.

“The picture book based on this video is currently at the top of the New York Times Bestseller List. Numero uno. From here on out, all picture books are required to have a What Does the (blank) Say? title.”

When questioned about misleading buyers, the Commissioner was defensive.

“Hey, we’re not saying these books will be sequels. But we’re also not not saying that. If money ends up in our pockets, who am I to say no?”

The Commissioner went on to explain that all new picture books be required to adhere to the guidelines, and older books must be updated to meet compliance. When questioned on the decision to give new titles to classic picture books, the Commissioner was defiant.

“Please, I don’t want to hear any complaining, it’s easy. Where the Wild Things Are becomes What Does the Brat Say? Boom. Done. Easy. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? becomes What Do Brown Bear’s Eyes Say? Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs? What Culinary-Related Things Does the Sky Say? Chicka Chicka Boom Boom could be What Does the Offscreen Narrator Say? This isn’t difficult.”

The Commissioner also explained that wordless books could just add the word “not” before the word “say”.

(This is a work of fiction)

About Travis Jonker

Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at scopenotes@gmail.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.


  1. Thank you for the laugh to start my day! Hilarious!

  2. Perfectly in tune with my latest visit to the book store (at Harvard, no less) and asking my son, “Those Fox guys (Ylvis) must have received a nice paycheck.” I was surprised (OK, not completely) by the books but more surprised by the prominent display of the books. I know book stores are struggling but if they pinning homes on a video/song meme to carry them through 2014, there’s big trouble ahead.
    Or, so the fox says.
    PS — I stopped here as part of my 50 comments at 50 blogs over 50 days #nerdlution. I keep seeing your calendar and finally got around in my Internet car to pull into here. Nice place. Free food.

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  4. A friend of mine and mother of three (all under age 10) was thrilled when I told her about this book. Her girls L-O-V-E (yes, all caps) that Ylvis song and video and are forever singing it around the house, but none of them are big readers. She thought the book might be a good way to transition her girls to books. Maybe not the most, ahem, literary choice, but if it works, it works, right?

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