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Mother New York: 'I Date a Hooker' and Other Stories

Mother's Book Series: Eight Tales of Irreverent Wisdom From the Indie Ad Agency

By Published on .

Perhaps the world would be different place if the copy editor who mastered Chapter 11 of the Book of John let slip the fact that "Jesus swept."

At least that's the idea behind "The Holy Bibel," one of eight mini coffee-table books just out from the folks at Mother, in collaboration with Blue Q Books. The leather-bound parody, complete with red satin placeholder, is one of eight coaster-size tomes packed with cynicism and offbeat humor. Titles such as "I Date a Hooker" and "18 Things You Never Knew You Could Do With a Small Stone" represent an agency pet project more than half a year in the making.

"Do you know how many [book] titles we considered [before settling on] 'The Evil Banana'?" Paul Malmström, creative director at Mother, New York, said of one volume's origins. Team suggestions topped 100.

This isn't the first time Mother has worked with with Blue Q, a maker of novelty gifts such as soaps and chewing gum with names like Miso Pretty and Could You Be a Bigger Bitch? In 2006, the two collaborated on package and web design for Blue Q's "I'm Not Candy" series of tart sweets ("I'm Not Straight," "I'm Not Republican" ... you get the idea).

Soon Mother and Blue Q were talking about expanding into other novelty markets, specifically a publishing imprint. It wasn't long before Mitch Nash, Blue Q's creative director and co-founder, and Mr. Malmström -- and hundreds more at Mother's London, Buenos Aires and New York outposts -- were arguing over how many volumes "The Big Book of Wisdom" merited. (For the record, three: Office, Art and Romance editions are available.)

"We're always looking at other types of revenue streams," Mr. Malmström said, referencing The Dogmatic Gourmet Sausage System, Mother's successful haute hot-dog stand that operated out of Manhattan's Bleeker Street Park for a month in August 2006 and will see its first incarnation as a free-standing shop in 2008. The Mother Book Series was a shoo-in for youth-oriented vendors such as Urban Outfitters, which has sold the brand's products for years.

"The series is a smaller collaboration between creative and creative, and so Blue Q is not a client in that regard. But when you have the ability to create what you think is going to work for a specific retailer, it's a wonderful thing," Mr. Malmström added.

He's quite proud of the final product, an effort made all the more personal by his brother Johan's illustrative contributions to The Big Book(s) of Wisdom from his home base in Sweden. Paul's favorite of the series? "'The Evil Banana' is very easy to explain. You see the stupidity immediately."

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