I find it fascinating that, in all this incredible and incredulous publicity being generated by Madonna and her attempt to adopt that 13-month-old Malawian boy, almost no media outlets have mentioned this happens to coincide with the publication of her latest kids’ book, The English Roses: Too Good To Be True. With a publishing date of October 24th — two days ago — it just happened that the Queen of Self-Promotion fighting back tears on Oprah wasn’t exactly an impromptu appearance. In fact, she was set to appear there, and other U.S. talk shows over the next days and weeks, to promo the book, a sequel to her first children’s book, The English Roses. The sequel’s plot is about four little girls who, “with a whirling dervish of a teacher and a sprinkle of magic fairy dust, learn valuable lessons about friendship and surviving their first crush.” The older-by-the-minute pop diva’s first children’s story, The English Roses, was published simultaneously around the world Sept. 15, 2003, and topped The New York Times‘ children’s list for the Oct. 5 edition. “It demonstrates once again that Madonna has an extraordinary gift for communicating with children of all ages,” Nicholas Callaway, CEO of Callaway Arts & Entertainment, the book’s U.S. publisher, said at the time. According to Nielsen BookScan, which tracks sales in the United States, Madonna’s first kids’ book sold 57,369 copies in its first full week and ranked No. 5 overall. (Previous to that, her best known literary work was entitled Sex.) That kiddie book was kept under wraps: no early review copies were released, and no books were provided to guests at a launch party in London. The gimmick worked. But leading up to its publishing, Madonna grabbed headlines doing wacky stuff in the weeks leading up to its publishing. First, she smooched then 21-year-old pop star Britney Spears during the MTV Video Music Awards show on August 28th in New York City and created a media frenzy over the girl-on-girl action. Then, just days before the book was published, she told the press a deeply personal secret (like she wanted to have another child at age 45 but was having trouble doing it and was consulting doctors “because of my exercising and this that and the other, I’ve kind of screwed up my cycle a bit.”) But now the media is invading her privacy? Maybe I’m way too cynical, but this latest adoption episode really does seem to bring book publicity to a new barf level. Or is it a blowback?
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