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Book pulled due to similarities to earlier work

‘A Snake Is Totally Tail’ has same title, closing lines, as 1983 release
/ Source: The Associated Press

A self-published book by children’s author Harriet Ziefert has been pulled after a reviewer noted close similarities between her work, “A Snake Is Totally Tail,” and a 1983 children’s release of the same name, by Judi Barrett.

“Since I am both the author and the publisher of this book, I must, of course, take full responsibility for the text,” Ziefert, who had planned to release “A Snake” this spring through her own Blue Apple Books, said Tuesday in a statement.

Ziefert’s, whose previous works include “Sleepy Dog” and “A New Coat for Anna,” was going to give the new book a printing of 6,500, but only review copies had been sent so far. Blue Apple is based in Maplewood, N.J.

The similarities between her book and Barrett’s, including identical closing lines — “A dinosaur is entirely extinct. This book is finally finished” — were discovered last week by Karen Breen, children’s books editor of Kirkus Reviews, an industry publication.

“I have no recollection of ever seeing Ms. Barrett’s book — though it would be foolish of me not to consider the possibility that I might have seen it decades ago and that its structure and some of its language imprinted somewhere on my subconscious,” Ziefert said in her statement.

The book’s cancellation was first reported Tuesday by The Book Standard, a sister publication of Kirkus.