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Pity the Fool

The Best Bike Ever: Mr. T and Me
Graeber and Boddy
1985

Submitter: I work at an elementary school library in a small town in California.  I came across this treasure the other day – it has somehow survived several recent weedings, and was actually checked out a couple times last year!  The plot concerns a girl who spends more time washing and polishing her bike than riding it.  When Mr. T makes an appearance at a local mall, her older sister steals the bike and dents the fender on her way to see him.  To the younger sister’s horror, Mr. T grabs the bike and rides around gleefully, then lectures all the kids on honoring god rather than their possessions – I love how intently the kids are listening!  Mr. T pops the dent out, lesson learned, everyone goes home a little wiser.

Holly: Is it me, or is Mr. T’s head really big in these pictures? Especially the second one.

20 Responses to Pity the Fool

  • i want this book. brilliant. and i have my 7 year old over my shoulder saying ‘he’s cool’ 😉

  • While the artwork is impressive (at least in my opinion), I think that this is the STUPIDEST concept for a book imaginable!

  • Wow, Mr T is a prophet !

  • And B.A. spakest unto Murdock, and sayest thus, “I’m gonna bust yo face for drawin me with no neck, fool!”

    I get the premise – Mr. T’s character on A-Team was a pretty good role model for kids in the 80’s. It just seems pretty silly, though.

  • Mr. T is a devout Christian, after all. I’ve even seen him on TBN a few times while flipping through the channels.

    That being said, I’ve always been a Howling Mad Dog Murdoch girl myself.

  • “Sometimes things are too important to us” says the man with thousands of dollars worth of gold around his neck.

  • I like how the blue-haired girl in the second picture tilting her head with that expression makes her look like she is thinking ‘What on Earth is this? What am I doing here?’ For some reason it reminds me of the ‘my agent’s fired’ look.

  • I never knew Mr. T was religious. You learn something new every day, I suppose. And I had the first thought as moklspa: What the heck is this guy doing lecturing kids on worshipping God instead of possessions when he’s wearing a shitload of expensive gold jewellery?

  • You supposed to leave out verbs in your sentences, little readers.

    Also, I remember reading that the Mr. T wears gold chains as a sort of sublimation of the chains that slaves wore.

  • If its being checked out a few times a year, should you weed this book?

    Anyone else have this in there head reading this?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=25l0drSzEv0

  • SO AWESOME. Is it too late to update my Christmas list?

  • To those who’ve commented on the lesson about materialism coming from a man wearing all those gold chains: I saw a video once where Mr. T said that he wore all those gold chains to remind him that his ancestors were brought to America as slaves. Make of that what you will.

  • Good lord, I pity the fool who drew these illustrations! Mr. T’s head does look huge in that last one and his entire body seems off in the middle two.

    Mr. T was cool but I am and always will be a huge Dirt Benedict fan. Yum, yum!

  • I love the “olympic star” line. What event is this? The People-Wearing-Gold-Chains-And-Combat-Boots-Riding-Kids’-Bikes-Athalon?

  • Mr T is very inspirational : I will now carry as many gold-plated tools as possible in my belt to remind me that my ancestors were part of the working-class.

  • Sometimes it baffles me that certain books have circulated as much as they have… I don’t think circulation is enough of a reason to keep a book. If I had a falling-apart version of a classic, I would replace it with a new copy, not keep it because it was still circulating.

    In this case, you can’t replace “The Best Bike Ever” with another copy of itself, so I would look for replacements for the possible reasons the book circulated (a book with a cool person-of-colour on the front, a book about a bike, a book with a simple title that beginning readers can read — and possibly, a book with a religious moral, and a book with a character that parents remember from their childhood). That’s a lot of replacements for one book, but you probably already have some that fit one or more of the “reasons” in your new acquisitions.

    I did some browsing and there are some interesting picture books by Spike Lee, Will Smith, and Denzel Washington that might fit the bill. There is also “William’s Treasure” by Dan Reeder a book about a Dragon that might fit in as a “book about not being too materialistic”

  • A few years ago I found a Mr. T & Me book about a boy who was abused by his cousin until he ran into Mr T, who told him it wasn’t his fault and that he needed to tell an adult. I wish I knew where it was so I could scan a few pages for you

  • If this book was about teaching God versus possessions to kids, I’d like to see someone yank those gold chains off Mr T’s neck and wear them, and see what Mr T’s reaction would be. I bet it wouldn’t be as calm as the kids reaction in the above illustration.

  • @Fantasio – Your comment just made my day.

  • So the lesson is, if you hang on to books like this long enough, the original, out-dated series will be re-made into a big pop-cult hit and become relevant again?

    Nobody tell the Children’s Librarian….