reviewed without reading


Tackle Block StopTackle Block Stop by Charlotte Towner Graeber

back in the eighties, while i was apparently distracted by glittery lisa frank unicorn stickers or something, christian publishing house thomas nelson put out a series of 12 books called “Mr. T and Me.”

these books featured the gruff-voiced, mohawked mr. t in his capacity as a youth advisor, counseling kids on a variety of subjects, because this is not at all terrifying

they were all written by Charlotte Towner Graeber and illustrated by Joe Boddy.

mr boddy!

and they all featured this on the back cover:

very approachable.

titles include (and yes – i just added most of these covers and some of these descriptions to goodreads, because it looks like i wasn’t the only one distracted by lisa frank):

The Best Bike Ever

Mr. T teaches a girl a lesson about not letting possessions become too important to us.

and, wow – does he go straight for the deity-angle:

before peeing on her bike. WWMTD?

someone on the internet has supplied an alternate title:

which is a fair reaction to a man whizzing on a little girl’s bike.

other titles in the series:

My Mr. T Doll

A lonely girl who misses her absent father feels better after Mr. T. reminds her that God cares for her.

it is unclear whether this lonely girl was comforted by the real mr. t, or if she is so lonely that she’s being comforted by that doll, but either way, one of them should tell her to close up shop and sit like a lady. jeez. not gonna be lonely for long, with that kind of behavior…

also, no one is comforted by platitudes, mr. t. weak sauce.

The Muscle Tussle

Mr. T breaks up a fight between two boys and demonstrates that brain power is more important than muscle power.

that’s easy for mr. t to say, because at least he has the option to use both. these kids aren’t intimidating anyone in that dangerous lunch line.

The Hard Luck Mutt

When two boys torment a stray dog, Mr. T. intervenes and teaches them a lesson about mistreating animals.

which seems a bit hypocritical, hmmm?

but in any case, i hope he uses his muscle power on those boys. and then ties them in a burlap sack and tosses them in the river. i pity those fools.

The Silver Squawk Box

Mr. T comes along just in time to help a girl involved in a radio theft to see the error of her ways.

INVOLVED IN A RADIO THEFT!!! if there was any doubt that this came from a christian publisher, that very awkward and square phrasing will convince you!

i hope you have a receipt for that, lloyd dobler! or that you got better at kickboxing.

The Hand-Me-Down Cap

Mr. T cheers up a frustrated boy tired of receiving second hand clothes from his older brother.

this is how he cheers him up:

“These boots are my father’s old boots,” Mr. T said. “Hand-me-down boots given to my brother and then to another brother – and another and another and another and another.” Mr T held out his feet. “Six of my brothers wore these old boots.”

mr. t is the eighth person to wear these boots in a family of people who evidently have identically-sized feet. either mr. t is a big fat liar or they do not, indeed, make ’em like they used to…

ohhh, i didn’t mean “fat!” sorry, mr. t

RIGOROUS RESEARCH: according to wikipedia, mr. t – or lawrence tureaud, does in fact have seven brothers and four sisters, so it is possible that he’s not a big fat liar. it neglects to mention if they all have the same feet.

The Sidewalk Mockers

Four boys learn about the importance of attending a worship service regularly from Mr. T.

being yelled at to go to church by a giant in his sunday-best pimp suit must be horrifying. who needs fire and brimstone when you have mr. t?

interestingly enough, i own that jacket. two of them, in fact

 photo IMG_6316_zpsbrkrw45o.jpg

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which photos sadly, do not show the true majesty of their purpleness.

Phony Baloney: The Counterfeit Kid

A boy who lies about many things is asked to prove he knows Mr. T personally.

best of all possible titles, and proof that mr. t can be summoned by lying. it seems to all work out in the liar’s favor, so maybe try this one out at home…

The Not-So-Great Place

During a hospital visit, Mr. T comforts a group of leukemia patients.

okay, first of all, that is not comfort. that is roughhousing at best, kidnapping at worst. scratch that – anal probing at worst. look at how guilty mr. t looks! stop jostling the cancer kids, mr. t!

The Somebody Kid

Mr. T helps a boy who feels he is nobody understand that he really is somebody.

existential crisis? call mr. t for some earnest staring.

you know who also exists? santa.

I’m So-So, So What?

A talk with Mr. T makes Marcy realize the importance of always trying to do her best.

that kid is really shitty at balance beam. but mr. t? solid as a rock. best at gymnastics.

but this one, the one i am ostensibly reviewing here, might just be the best of them all.

Tackle Block Stop

Mr. T counsels a boy after he’s molested by his cousin during a football game.

first of all, how intriguing is that synopsis? during a football game? how is that even possible? thankfully, internet came through:

and that cover! mr. t, are you that little boy’s cousin? those shorts are too short and that groin too close to that child who’s even making that sarcastic fellatio hand gesture. yikes.

i wasn’t able to find much more about this one on the internet, apart from this image, which is another instance of an illustration perhaps more suggestive than a book about sexual abuse of a little boy should be, especially coming from a christian publisher.

maybe move mr. t’s groin a solid seven inches back next time, mr. boddy.

i’m just unsure about this book. in most of the other books in the series, mr. t doesn’t seem wildly inappropriate. in a scolding capacity, mr. t is definitely the guy you want as he sternly pities fools for stealing boom boxes or punching puppies and those fools are suitably ashamed. but with something as sensitive in nature as sexual abuse? i don’t see him being as comforting a presence as mariska hargitay.

there, there. can you save this sobbing for halftime, sweetie?

let’s see how mr. t does.

“Mr. T scowled down at me. ‘It don’t matter who he is,’ he said. ‘When it feels wrong, it ain’t right! Don’t let nobody mess with your body.”

oh, well, that’s good advice, i suppose.

all of my reservations are evaporated! although “tackle block stop” is a poor substitute for “no go tell.”

i need to read all of these books. like, yesterday. i’m not sure how i managed to go this long without stealing a boom box or punching fools in all the lunch lines i find myself in. but i am starting to feel the urge to commit assorted wrongdoings! save me with your tough love, mr. t!

eek! compulsions suppressed!

incidentally, this author also has a book called FUDGE RACK, which i so wanted to be another in this series. mr. t – give these fools a taste of your mighty fudge rack!

and NO ONE has reviewed it! and goodreads wants it bad, in all-caps:

Ask the Goodreads community a question about FUDGE RACK

Be the first to ask a question about FUDGE RACK

you know you want to…

read my reviews on goodreads

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