The Simpsons Library of Wisdom: The Krusty Book and The Lisa Book (Harper Collins)

lisaIf you're a fan of the Simpsons (and who isn't?), these two books offer everything you ever wanted to know about a certain TV clown and Springfield's favorite overachiever.



The Krusty Book96 pgs. ea. FC; $9.95 ea. hardcover

(W / A: Various)


The books in the "The Simpsons Library of Wisdom" series should be printed on waterproof vinyl pages, because they're the perfect beach reads. Funny, inexpensive and pocket-sized, these little hardbacks are great for Simpsons lovers, and that's pretty much all of us.


The two latest books in the series, The Krusty Book and The Lisa Book, are packed with the lists, charts, parodies etc. that make the series' books so much fun, but there are plenty of misses between the hits.


You can't lose with Krusty the Clown. He's made losing an art form, so don't even try to compete. When he's not wrestling with the pain of his lapsed Jewry ("Springfield is a lousy town for knishes") you can find him selling anything and everything to make a buck. ("Krusty's Home Pregnancy Test," anyone?). You can read brief profiles of Krusty's sidekicks Mr. Teeny the cigar-smoking money, the nefarious Sideshow Bob, and the always-combustible Sideshow Mel. An account of Krusty's typical day finds him falling-down drunk at kid's birthday party, until gunfire from disgruntled mobsters makes Krusty get up and do a silly dance that leaves the kids howling. Be warned if you're going to book Krusty for an engagement, though – his standard contract calls for "a portable defibrillator within five feet of Krusty at all times."


The Lisa BookEveryone's favorite overachiever, Lisa has authored a collection of haiku for her book, including this zinger: "I am middle child / And attention must be paid! / Uh, hello? Hello?" Her heroes include "Charles Darwin, Bono and Gwen Stefani," and her new blog features "This Week's Boycotts." Her likes include "a worthy adversary," "extended sax solos," and "substitute teachers that care – really care." Her own version of MAD Magazine's "Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions" is "Smart-Alecky Answers to Environmentally Insensitive Questions."


Those are some of the goodies. To find these nuggets, though, you might have to dig through a mound of tepid jokes that give the project a hastily assembled feel. A previous volume in the series, Comic Book Guy's Book of Pop Culture, had a higher funny quotient, it seemed. A peek at the fine print reveals that these books are written by committee, so, as with each episode of the TV show, a gag can be classic or it can be so-so. Still, if you're a Simpsons geek – and in particular, a fan of various Simpsons titles from Bongo Comics – you'll find much to laugh at in these little books, each one centering on a character you love. | Byron Kerman


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