"The first children's book to incorporate the four pillars of hip-hop
-Free Will Press
In a world where most independent children's books are really just twisted fairytales for angsty young adults comes Free Will Press' Turntable Timmy. Double-T is an 8- (almost 9-) year-old kid who wants to be the best Skratch DJ in the world, and his book explains all about how he plans to reach that goal.
Author Michael Perry (Daniel's Ride) has penned rhymes so natural that you can't help but rap them, even if you were raised on folk music as a child, like yours truly. The illustrations by San Francisco-area graffiti artist Doug Cunningham (Wave Twisters) are good children's book faire, with lots of distinct, bright colors. Timmy himself shows exquisite character design, and purple skin, which neatly removes race, and keeps the focus on the hip-hop.
Within the hip-hop community, Perry has gotten lots of support, apparently selling out of copies at b-boy conventions. Mainstream children's book sellers have been more wary, although Perry is certain that hip-hop isn't going anywhere, so the unease some folks have with the culture will eventually calm itself down. Perry is not the only person who thinks this way, as apparently he and Cunningham were approached by Pixar representatives who wanted to turn Timmy into an animated series. Perry and Cunningham ultimately felt uncomfortable with the loss of creative control (and what they felt to be a pitiful financial offer), and killed the deal. Still, the best hip-hop has always been underground anyway.
Even if you're not a fan of unusual children's books, you may be interested in the audio CD that comes with Turntable Timmy. The legendary DJ Qbert provides three (unnamed) tracks which are quite good. The first has Qbert scratching up Turntable Timmy's name over a good hip-hop beat, while the second has Qbert backing up Perry's rapping of the book itself. The third and final track seems to be Qbert playing around with an old children's record reminding kids to brush their teeth. If you're a fan of the lighter side of hip-hop, you really can't pass this up.