The 2014 Children’s Choice Book Award goes to none other than conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh, who penned the darkhorse (pun intended) hit Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims: Time-Travel Adventures With Exceptional Americans. The plot is that a history teacher named Rush Revere (nee Limbaugh) and his talking horse Liberty travel back in time to meet the pilgrims. Naturally, they get into semantics on American exceptionalism. It’s worth noting that Rush Revere is the same “character” from Limbaugh’s patriotic iced tea brand, Two If By Tea.
EW didn’t receive a review copy of this book, so we have not actually read it (consider this top of my weekend to-do list), but here are some reactions from other critics: Alexandra Petri of the Washington Post described it as “historical fan fiction that Rush Limbaugh has written about himself.” Vicky Smith of Kirkus Reviews went after his style (or lack thereof), saying he had a “disdain for even the most rudimentary standards of storytelling.” On the contrary, Mark Jacob at the Chicago Tribune thought it was sweet, warm and positive. “It also has an unsophisticated and even corny sense of humor that may underestimate 13-year-olds,” he said. “But it’s never mean-spirited.” That’s generous of you, Mark.
Petri references a quote from the book, which I sincerely hope is a joke: “And here is one of the things the talking horse chooses to say to Rush Revere: ‘Maybe you should get your own radio talk show. You know, callers call in with questions and you give them advice and stuff. I’d totally call you!'” Founding Fathers, have mercy on us.
Who do we have to thank/blame for this book? Rush’s wife, Kathryn Rogers Limbaugh, who happens to be a direct descendant of our nation’s second president, John Adams. Rush gave this background on his blog: “She said, ‘You know, you’re always talking about how history is being mistaught. You’re right. You’re always talking about what kids are learning these days, and they’re not learning about the greatness of America. They’re not learning about the founding days. They’re not learning the right things about the people, the great people, the exceptional people who founded this country.'” And that’s how we got here — to Rush Limbaugh winning the Children’s Choice Book Award. What would John Adams think?
Considering the world did a synchronized side-eye upon hearing the news that Limbaugh won, the nonprofits in charge of the award clarified how the voting process works. Nominees for best author are chosen based on the best-seller lists, while kids themselves voted for the winners online. Executive director Robin Adelson of the Children’s Book Council and Every Child a Reader told The Associated Press that, “Every one of our finalists gets fake votes every year. We like to think that’s the enthusiasm of adults who love children’s books.” The poor people at the council have been receiving hate mail for supporting Rush Limbaugh when they were just trying to do a good thing and encourage kids to read. Alas, you know what they say about good intentions…