Readers of alternative newsweeklies across the country have for years enjoyed the comic strip "This Modern World" by Tom Tomorrow. When I was at Seattle Weekly during the Bush years, we carried the strip and readers sent letters telling me that it kept them sane. No one is better at seeing through the madness of contemporary politics and media than Tom's wise penguin "Sparky."
Now, it's time for another generation. Tom Tomorrow has written his first children's book, The Very Silly Mayor (Ig Publishing, $17.99). In true Tom Tomorrow style, the book is a terrific civics lesson for kids about the dangers of group-think politics.
We all know about very silly mayors (or mayoral candidates). Some want everyone to ride bikes! Some want to build tunnels they can't pay for! Some tell people to go holiday shopping in the middle of a riot! In Tom's imaginary town, the Very Silly Mayor has an idea a minute too: Let's have the cops wear clown suits and make everyone paint their houses purple and green! Sure, he sounds like Seattle's Paul Schell on acid, but if only real mayors had ideas that were so benign!
The Very Silly Mayor has a very simple message, but it's a good one to be reminded of at election time.