Another Lit Scandal

The Book Standard‘s Kimberly Maul reports that children’s author Harriet Ziefert’s latest book, A Snake Is Totally Tail will not be released in April, because it bears striking similarities to another children’s book by Judi Barrett.

When Kirkus Reviews children’s editor Karen Breen received a review copy of the book, she told Kirkus sibling publication The Book Standard that she immediately recognized close similarities between it and Barrett’s book and that she was sure that title had been used before. Comparing the advance readers’ copy of Ziefert’s book to Barrett’s, it’s obvious right away that 12 of the 23 lines in Barrett’s version are repeated in Ziefert’s, including identical concluding lines: “A dinosaur is entirely extinct. This book is finally finished.”

In response to The Book Standard’s inquires, Blue Apple Books released a statement in which Ziefert says, “I have no recollection of ever seeing Ms. Barrett’s book—though it would be foolish of me not to consider the possibility that I might have seen it decades ago and that its structure and some of its language imprinted themselves somewhere on my subconscious.”

In 11 of the 12 instances in which an animal is mentioned in both books, the language is duplicated word for word, for instance: “A crab is conspicuously claws,” “a duck is quantities of quack” and “a porcupine is piles of prickles.”

You can read the full article here.