The GODZILLA Movie Scrapbook!
 James Preller
Language: English Release: 1998
Publisher: Scholastic
Pages: 32
Genre: Fiction ISBN: 0590572393

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Back Cover
Nicholas Driscoll

Along with writing one of the seemingly endless book adaptations of GODZILLA (1998) released by Scholastic, Jigsaw Jones author James Preller is responsible for The Godzilla Movie Scrapbook!—an eccentric, if quite brief, means of retelling the basic story of Deanzilla once again… only this time via a faux special report released after the climax within the context of the film's world, purporting to tell the true story behind the monster's attack, and the heroes who saved what was left of Manhattan.

Now, I was no fan of Preller's, shall we say, conventional retelling of the American Godzilla story in GODZILLA: A Storybook. That book, though aimed at a young readership, still felt blunted and weak in its storytelling. Perhaps because of the greater creativity allowed in this production, Preller is able to imbue the prose with a bit more verve. Composed in a journalistic vein, Preller manages to sketch in some unexpected details in the form of brief news articles pertaining to particular key events from the movie. We get a little glimpse into the life of the Japanese sea cook who survives Godzilla's initial attack, for example. Sprinkled throughout the book are pseudo newspaper headlines (“Panic Hits New York!”, “Cameraman Risks Life for Daring Photo”)… one of which actually includes a misspelled word (“Mysterious French Secrect Service Agent Involved!”), which is pretty accurate to the status of a lot of real newspapers these days. A panoply of uninspired lines from the movie have also been liberally inserted into the design, popping out with big, multi-colored text on almost every page with such examples of genius and originality as “We have an emergency.”

The multi-colored dialogue drops are just one part of an overall gaudy design ethos that pervades throughout the publication. Like many kids magazines, loud colors and garish designs dominate each page. The usual attempt to defeat boredom in young readers by throwing splash and dash over shallow content and calling it good enough for ignorant kids, isn't aided by the fact that, as usual, most of the photos are of the actors, and Godzilla is barely represented. The strongest impression I got from looking through the shots was how much of an odious ham Matthew Broderick was in this movie. Even the asinine cover showcasing a close-up of G's back spines is preferable.

My (used) copy did not come with the six-foot poster that originally was included in the publication. Yes, six foot—because size does matter after all. I bet the poster didn't show Godzilla either. I wonder if it even had a close-up on Godzilla's eye or something. Perhaps a reader could provide such information? I am certainly not going out of my way to procure another copy of this book.

Preller's Scrapbook, while mildly superior to his Storybook, is still thimble-shallow. While the prose is punchy and fun, nothing else is worth the cash, and the book is just ugly. In this case, despite the good bits, I have to say that “Scrapbook” proves an apt descriptor.