Book Review: Have I Got a Book for You! by Mélanie Watt

by DerdriuMarriner

Have I Got a Book for You! by Mélanie Watt describes a salesman's efforts to sell his best-selling book and thereby models advertising, marketing, publicity, and sales pitches.

Advertising, marketing, publicity, sales are about profit-making products:

Advertising accounts for some of the education and experience which appear on Mélanie Watt’s author- and illustrator-filled curriculum vitae. It becomes the driving force behind the 2009-released picture book Have I Got a Book for You! The storyline concerns salesman Al Foxwood, whose business card gives the pushy telephone number of Buy-1Now.

Even though he does not flaunt gold fillings or jewelry, Al dresses like the hard-selling, quick-pitching, results-oriented salesman of the month that he is. He exhibits all of the advertising, marketing, publicity, and sales steps through which fresh graduates, new hires, and stickler professionals progress. For example, he finds a friendly touch and a personal connection by insisting upon being called by his first name.




Al Foxwood's snarky selling style includes dismissing a broccoli cookbook as leaving a bad taste in the reader's mouth.

broccoli: Brassica oleracea var. italica
broccoli: Brassica oleracea var. italica

Bad-mouthing, baiting and switching, glad-handing, testimonials factor in


Al goes on to supply testimonials -- in true bait and switch style -- from customers satisfied with such diverse product lines as:

  • an aqua umbrella for a fish;
  • a deluxe dirt vacuum for a mole;  and
  • an icebox 2000 for a penguin.

His pitch hints at uncanny abilities to correlate demand with supply and to debunk such rival products to his current push-item -- his purported best-selling book -- as :

  • boring dictionaries, mathematics textbooks, Sleeping Beauty storybooks; and
  • distasteful cookbooks, especially those entirely devoted to … broccoli!

He intersperses manipulative compliments -- such as liking customer predilections in clothes masterfully highlighting their best physical features (usually eyes)-- to establish emotional connections and foster trustworthy familiarity. 


Among his creative sales pitches, Al Foxwood suggests purchasing copies of his books for use as decorative coasters!

Hannah Lobley - Paperwork: Coasters ~ Recycled paper and books using wookworking techniques
Hannah Lobley - Paperwork: Coasters ~ Recycled paper and books using wookworking techniques

Gift-giving, miracle-making, number-crunching, super-sizing keep sales pitches going


The increasingly desperate salesman justifies a rush to purchase by throwing in a “Reading is swell!” bookmark for free. He further knows that quoting relevant statistics and revealing survey results can be deal-breakers in:

  • appealing to friendly competition among peers;
  • keeping up with the Joneses;
  • making unexpected, unnecessary purchases seem need-driven, not emotion-guided; and
  • promising 100% make-overs, as attested most persuasively in before and after eyewitness images and testimonials.

But customers remaining unconvinced after the above-mentioned strong-arming leave Al with no option other than resorting to:

  • recommending extra copies as coasters, disguises, door-stoppers, gifts, hats, height-enhancing mats; or
  • suggesting all 742 copies as a book fort, whose duct tape generates for Al additional sales in humungous quantities. 


Have I Got a Book for You! by Mélanie Watt ~ available via Amazon

The bestselling author-illustrator and creator of publishing sensation Scaredy Squirrel presents a character you just can't say "no" to: salesman Mr. Al Foxword. Al can sell anything.
Mélanie Watt stories

Leaving no unsold copies behind prompts unexpected measures


The grin-flashing, plaid-clashing salesman makes desperate efforts to pressure customers into scrambling for limited supplies. He finally narrows the gap between inventory and sales by dishonestly terrorizing parents shopping with awkward-stage children. Each copy’s last page offers a lower outer edge seemingly ripped by clumsily curious hands and therefore warranting payment by the supposedly responsible children’s parents.

So Have I Got a Book for You! provides second- through fourth-graders aged 7 to 9 years with culturally enriching, educationally entertaining insights into the advertising, marketing, publicity, sales world’s front-line representative, the door-to-door traveling salesman, thanks to:

  • Kids Can Press Ltd.;
  • Tara Walker, editor; and
  • Mélanie Watt, author/designer/illustrator/jacket designer of the Hamburger Font BF text’s digitally assembled charcoal-penciled artwork. 


Have I Got a Book for You by Melanie Watt

Uploaded to YouTube on October 1, 2010 by ues lib ~ URL:



My special thanks to:

  • Talented artists and photographers/concerned organizations who make their fine images available on the Internet;
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University for superior on-campus and on-line resources.


Al Foxwood's pitch for repurposing multiple copies of his books includes the popular evergreen practice of serving as doorstops.

pile of books as door stop: also tethered with recycled ribbon
pile of books as door stop: also tethered with recycled ribbon

Sources Consulted: Have I Got a Book for You! Sells in English and French


Watt, Mélanie. 2009. Have I Got a Book for You! Toronto, Ontario, Canada; and Tonawanda, NY, U.S.A.: Kids Can Press Ltd. 


If nothing else works, Al Foxwood resorts to the adage, "You break it, you pay for it," by mangling the edges of back pages.

damaged book
damaged book
the end which is also the beginning
the end which is also the beginning

The Fox: black t-shirt ~ available via AllPosters

1913 artwork by Franz Marc (February 8, 1880 – March 4, 1916)
The Fox, 1913
Ad AllPosters

Me and my purrfectly purrfect Maine coon kittycat, Augusta "Gusty" Sunshine

Gusty and I thank you for reading this article and hope that our product selection interests you; Gusty Gus receives favorite treats from my commissions.
DerdriuMarriner, All Rights Reserved
DerdriuMarriner, All Rights Reserved
Updated: 03/17/2015, DerdriuMarriner
Thank you! Would you like to post a comment now?



You might also like

Book Review: Scaredy Squirrel by Mélanie Watt, in Scaredy Squi...

Scaredy Squirrel is title #1 in Mélanie Watt's Scaredy Squirrel series. The K...

Book Review: Chester, series title #1 by Mélanie Watt

Chester by Mélanie Watt delights readers of all ages, beyond the target audie...

Disclosure: This page generates income for authors based on affiliate relationships with our partners, including Amazon, Google and others.
Loading ...