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Jim Carrey, existentialist children’s author

Comedian's new book looks at death and loss from an existentialist perspective. Did we mention that it's for kids?
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Corrina Allen, September 24, 2013 2:02:11 PM

How Roland Rolls is the title of actor and comedian Jim Carrey’s new book for kids. The book hits shelves today, and it’s got big, colourful pictures by one of the animators behind the movies Thumbelina and A Troll in Central Park, fun nursery-rhyme-like text, and what Carrey says is an important message about death. Yep, you read that correctly.

The book’s main character Roland is a wave rolling his way across the ocean and facing different challenges along the way. One of those challenges is dealing with the eventuality of hitting the shore, which Carrey uses as a metaphor for the end of life. “It sounds like such a silly little thing to have a children’s book,” the actor told The Hollywood Reporter, on a break from filming Dumb and Dumber To with Jeff Daniels, “but it’s been a really profound experience for me. I think it’s something a little more than children’s book. It’s a very big subject,” he admits, “and I’m hoping not only to make kids feel good and be part of that moment at the end of the day where adults share themselves with the kids they love, but I also want parents to go to bed feeling good about the world too.”

Carrey hopes that his the book will help to alleviate the fear of loss that some children feel – “whether it’s death or stuff or status, any of that,” he says. “One of the things I’ve always wanted to talk about or deal with is the fact that kids have profound feelings and profound questions that people don’t give them credit for. They think about life and death and, ‘What happens when something happens to Mom? What happens when something happens to me?’” says the first-time author, adding “I believe those are questions that need to be answered for kids; all of these questions I really had a lot when I was a child.”

The actor dedicated his book to his preschool-aged grandson who’s probably just old enough to enjoy it (if not completely understand the message behind the story). However, the material in How Roland Rolls is probably a little too sophisticated for some readers, regardless of their age…

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Corrina Allen

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