BOOKS: Whose Coat?
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, May 2003:
by John Luksetich, illustrated by Patti Kern
Imagine Nation Press (P.O. Box 172, Lakewood, CA 90714;
<www.imagenationpress.com>), 2001. 26 pages, hardcover. $14.95.
Marketing is not Whose Coat? author/publisher John
Luksetich’s forte. First he was unable to find a commercial
publisher for Whose Coat? in 17 years of trying, even though it is
eminently marketable. Then, when he published Whose Coat? himself
in an attractive format that ought to sell, he forgot to put the
price on either the book, the promotional flyers he sent to ANIMAL
PEOPLE, or the first few pages of his web site–and he advertised it
as “animal rights” literature, the kiss of death in pursuing the
library and school markets that account for the two biggest shares of
children’s book sales. To most librarians and school personnel,
“animal rights” signifies “controversy” and “trouble”–and any
mention of ideology in reference to a children’s book usually also
connotes heavyhanded propaganda.
This is all quite unfortunate, as Whose Coat? is a cheerful
tall tale that small children will beg to have read to them over and
over, and will eventually become one of the first books that these
children read for themselves. Although Whose Coat has an antifur
theme, the word “fur” never appears, there are no traps, no
depictions of cruelty, and nothing to give anyone nightmares. The
theme is really just “do unto others as you would be done by,” and
almost any child will laugh delightedly at Patti Kern’s goofy lion,
bear, and alligator in their underwear.
If Luksetich ever gets the knack of selling books, Whose
Coat? could have the enduring appeal of Dr. Seuss. It will, in any
event, be worn to tatters and fondly remembered by children lucky
enough to be given a copy of the first edition.