Written by the stars: assessing the unlikely celebrity authors of children’s books

As John Cena and Lupita Nyong’o ink deals to write kids literature, they join a surprisingly long list of celebrities trying to appeal to a younger audience

John Cena is a man of many talents. He can wrestle. He can rap. He can play the piano. He can do the voice of cartoon bulls. And now, inevitably, he can write. Cena’s first children’s book – Elbow Grease, a story about a plucky monster truck – will be published by Random House in October.

Related: Bryan Cranston brings back Walter White but John Cena still hosts a mediocre SNL

Continue reading...

Hot guys wanted: Chris Evans, Tom Hardy … who’s next for CBeebies Bedtime Stories?

As the BBC’s parental-respite service continues its fine tradition of giving mums something pretty to look at, we ask who can follow Captain America Chris Evans is going to read a CBeebies Bedtime Story soon. Actual Captain America, from all three thousand Captain America films, will sit down and lull the nation’s toddlers to sleep with a sonorous reading of Even Superheroes Have Bad Days by Shelly Becker and Eda Kaban on 10 May. Admittedly this is probably more interesting to parents than toddlers. My two-year-old, largely speaking, doesn’t care about the box office grosses of the people reading stories to him. He’s over the moon if they happen to be softly spoken and sincere like Nadiya Hussain from the Great British Bake Off, and actively less over the moon when, say, David Hasselhoff ends up bellowing a broken assembly line of words that sound as if they’ve been ...

Type casting: the worst novels by Hollywood actors

With Tom Hanks announcing a collection of typewriter-themed short stories, which other stars have tried and failed to become bestselling authors? Tom Hanks has written a book. Titled Uncommon Type: Some Stories, Hanks’s book is a collection of 17 short stories, each in some way involving a typewriter. It will be released in October and – if it’s all to the same standard as Allan Bean Plus Four, the short story Hanks wrote for the New Yorker in 2014 – it’s going to be pretty good.
But let’s be clear: even if Uncommon Type ends up as the most rapturously received work of printed fiction ever written by an actor, that will largely be because most books written by actors are dogmuck. Allow me to ignore the good ones (hello, Steve Martin and Hugh Laurie) and focus on the very worst. Continue reading...