Submitter: I just found another awful book for your page, this one is the PITS!! Well, it’s about fruit trees so “the pits” is probably a great way to refer to it… The part I really liked is the list of books on the back cover Baker had already published AND the forthcoming titles!!
[It] reminds me of gardening done by Bob Ross – I expected to see a chapter called “Happy little fruit trees” with an instruction that would sound like “And maybe this little peach tree lives right here… all happy & content to be a part of the world!” Eh, it was the 70s, & like now, everyone wants everyone else to think positively I guess.
Holly: Jerry Baker is from this area of Michigan. In fact, his home library is where Mary works! (At least, his business PO Box is in that town…) Jerry Baker’s books are very popular in public libraries around here. We wouldn’t DREAM of weeding them. Our patrons would riot! He’s a lovely gentleman, and his books are quirky and cute.
However…I can see how the submitter, who is from another state, would make the connection to Bob Ross. That’s pretty funny! If you don’t know any more about the author, the books could seem gimmicky and over-the-top with the cutesiness. This is a good lesson for all of us. Local author trumps content (in this case – not always!!!), and a personal connection to an author can change our view of the book’s content. Around here, we see Jerry Baker’s name and instantly order the book for the library. In communities that are not familiar with him, the books can be seen in a whole different light. There’s something to be said for local fans! There’s also something to be said for connecting live appearances to books. Authors are people, and they have a persona that sometimes carries over into their books. Jerry Baker is that guy with the catch-phrases. To us, it’s charming. To outsiders who only see the print version, that charm may not be so obvious.