101 WAYS TO BUG...

bug disney
Lee Wardlaw


If you’re a clueless adult . . .  

1.)             ask how many children’s books she writes a day.

2.)              ask when she’s going to grow up and write real books.

3.)              ask if she’s written anything you would’ve heard of.

4.)              ask if she’ll give you an autographed copy of her latest book…

5.)              …for all 18 of your grandchildren/nieces/nephews/hamsters.

6.)              ask if she makes enough money to support herself and family.

7.)              ask why she picked such a terrible illustrator for her picture book.

8.)              ask if she’ll read the children’s book you wrote and give you a brutally

honest opinion – then get huffy when she does.

9.)             ask if she’ll introduce you to her agent/editor – then get huffy when she doesn’t.

10.)                   ask why her book is so expensive …

11.)                   … and why you can’t find it at Costco.

12.)           never buy her books (or any books, for that matter) from an independent  bookstore.

13.)                    complain that the local independent bookstore doesn’t carry her book, but don’t bother to                    ask the store to order it.

14.)                     tell her you’d write children’s books too – if only you had the time.

15.)                     tell her: “Your book is too good for kids.” 

16.)                     tell her:  “I hope you’re teaching them kids today plenty of good morals.”

17.)                     ask her if she wrote _________________ (insert name of terminally sappy, poorly written book that sells 1 million copies a year) and when she answers No, say:  ‘Oh, that’s too bad. That’s my favorite book.’

18.)                      if she answers Yes to #17, refer to #’s 4 and 5.

19.)                      ask how much she pays the publishing companies to publish her books.

20.)                      ask if she’s still writing juvenile books – then elbow her in the ribs and say:

‘Juvenile! Ha-ha! Get it?’

21.)                     call the children’s literature genre ‘kiddie lit’.

22.)                     describe her picture book as ‘cute’.

23.)                     don’t take her humorous books seriously.

24.)                     ask when she’s going to write a Newbery medal-winner.

25.)                     ask when her book will be made into a movie.

26.)                     tell her you’ve got a fantastic idea for a book and that if she writes and

  sells it, you’ll be happy to share a small percentage of the profits with her.


If you’re a kid . . .  

27.)           email her and say:  “I have to write a book report about your book. Could you tell me what it’s about?”

     28.)            “I also need to include an author bio.  Could you tell me everything there is to know about you?”

     29.)            “Oh, and please write back quick. The report and bio are due tomorrow.”

30.)                 write a fan letter addressed to her as Mr. Lee Wardlaw.

31.)                 write a fan letter begging her to please, please, please write back – but forget to include your name . . .

32.)                 … and your return address.

33.)                 write her a letter saying:  “I hate reading.  My teacher is making me write to you.”

34.)                 write her a letter saying:  “Wow!  I thought you were dead!”

35.)                 don’t read any of her books before she visits your school.

36.)                 during her school visit presentation, yawn.  Loudly.

37.)                 during her presentation, fall asleep.

38.)                 snore.

39.)                 during her presentation, engage your neighbors in obnoxious whispering…

40.)                 or giggling…

41.)                 punching…

42.)                 passing notes…

43.)                 passing gas (and laughing uproariously about it).

44.)                 mispronounce her last name as Wardlow, Weirdlaw, Warlock, or Warthog.

45.)                 call her Lee Anna.

46.)                 ask her to autograph a book written by someone else.

47.)                 ask her to autograph your copy of her book:  ‘To the smartest, funniest, cutest kid in the entire world.  I owe every speck of my success to you.  You’re my B.F.F.  Hugs and kisses, very gratefully yours, your groveling servant…’

48.)                 ask her to autograph a scrap of paper ripped from your notebook.

49.)                 encourage all your friends and all their friends to rush up with scraps of paper to be autographed, too.

50.)                 ask her to autograph a scrap of paper for your best friend’s cousin’s niece on account of she couldn’t come to school today because she’s sick…

51.)                 …and lives three states away.

52.)                 forget about the autographed paper scraps and allow them to slip from your binder and litter the school parking lot near her car where she can’t possibly miss seeing them as she’s leaving for the day.

53.)                 ask her to autograph body parts. 

54.)                 jiggle the table while she’s trying to autograph books so that her signature gets wormy.

55.)                 give her a book to autograph, and after she asks your name and writes it in the book, tell her, “Oh, that book was for my teacher.”

56.)                 tell her your name, and after she finishes autographing your book, say: “I spell my name Leessah, not Lisa.”

57.)                 ask her how old she is.

58.)                 when she tells you, stagger backward and clutch your heart.

59.)                 or say, “Wow, you’re older than my grandma!”

60.)                 or: “Wow, that’s over 100 in dog years!”

61.)                 after she’s explained for 30 minutes – complete with visual aides, costumes and sound effects – where she gets the ideas for her books, raise your hand and ask:  “Where do you get your ideas?”

62.)                 when she asks if anyone has any questions, raise your hand and tell her about the day your dog ate a jar of sun-stroked mayonnaise and barfed on the living room rug.

  If you’re a teacher/librarian . . .  

63.)                 invite her to your school to talk to the students about the writing

profession but don’t offer to pay her a professional fee.

64.)                 when she arrives at your school, greet her by saying:  ‘Oh. I forgot you were coming today.’

65.)                 or: ‘Who are you and why are you here?’

66.)                 when she arrives at your school, tell her there’s been a change in the  speaking schedule, and that instead of giving 4 presentations, she’ll now be giving 12…

67.)                 …back-to-back…

68.)                 …with no bathroom breaks…

69.)                 …and no lunch.

70.)                 make her eat cafeteria food…

71.)                 and store-bought chocolate-chip cookies.

72.)                 at lunch time, offer her a Dixie cup of lukewarm water and inform her that there’s a fast food joint down the street where you suppose she can buy something to eat.

73.)                 don’t bother to learn anything about her before she comes to visit your school.

74.)                 don’t bother to share her books with staff and students before her visit.

75.)                 don’t have the room ready for her presentation.

76.)                 rush off to a meeting so that she has to introduce herself.

77.)                 introduce her to a group of 300 wiggly first graders by saying simply: “Heeeeeeere’s the author!”

78.)                 …then leave the room.

79.)                 before she goes on stage, laugh and say:  ‘We’re on a rainy day schedule, recess was canceled, and we all ate double-chocolate cupcakes to celebrate the birth of the janitor’s new baby, so beware:  the students are feeling a little wound-up.’

80.)                 See #78.

81.)                 if the students do #’s 36-43, don’t intervene.

82.)                 sit in the back of the room and grade papers while she is talking…

83.)                 …or gossip with other educators.

84.)                 during her presentation, make sure the microphone makes intermittent  buzzing, crackling or shrieking sounds.

85.)                 forget to order her books for the book sale/autograph session.

86.)                 forget to have her check ready at the end of the day.

87.)                 complain about the content of her books without having read them.

  If you’re an editor/publisher . . .  

88.)                 sit on her manuscript for 18-24 months, then reject it with a form letter.

89.)                 After offering her a contract and exclaiming that her manuscript is in almost-perfect shape and only needs a teensy amount of tinkering, send her a six-page, single-spaced revision letter …

90.)                 with a two-week deadline…

91.)                 . . . and make sure it arrives on her doorstep on December 24th

92.)                 then go on vacation.

93.)                 push the pub date of her book back two years.

94.)                 right before her book is released, move to a different publishing house.

95.)                 forward her fan mail six-twelve months late.

96.)                 forward bad reviews three months early.

97.)                 allow her book to go out of print after only one year . . .

98.)                  . . . without telling her so that she’s left with only five copies.

99.)                 when negotiating the contract for her next book, tell her you absolutely, positively, cannot up her advance, no, sorry, not even one measly dollar…

100.)              then give a six-figure advance to a B-movie celebrity for a picture book about a skunk that can’t smell…

101.)              … but teaches them kids today plenty of good morals.


Ms. Lee Weirdlow is the author of more than two dozen books for young readers, including the novels 101 Ways to Bug Your Parents and 101 Ways to Bug Your Teacher (both Dial/Penguin).  Lee claims to have personally experienced every single one of the 101 ways listed above – twice.