This is a partial transcript from Your World with Neil Cavuto, September 15, 2003, that was edited for clarity.
Watch Your World w/Cavuto weekdays at 4 p.m. and 1 a.m. ET.
NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Madonna is playing down her sexy image these days. The Material Girl hawking a new children’s book in Europe. The English Roses will be the first of six books released in more than a hundred countries in 42 languages. Will her celebrity status guarantee a sell-out?
Let’s ask Brenda Bowen, the executive vice president, publisher of children’s hardcover books at Simon & Schuster (search).
Brenda, thanks for joining us.
BRENDA BOWEN, SIMON & SCHUSTER: You’re very welcome.
CAVUTO: Is this going to do well?
BOWEN: I think it will. I think it will. I think Madonna’s celebrity does guarantee it success.
CAVUTO: All right. But, still, this is the same woman who a decade ago was coming out with an X-rated book on nudity and God knows what else.
BOWEN: That’s true.
CAVUTO: Would I want my kids reading this?
BOWEN: I don’t know. That’s up to you to decide for your own children, but I think there will be a lot of...
CAVUTO: Let me ask you. Let me ask you. Would you want your kids reading a Madonna’s children’s book?
BOWEN: Well, I have no objection on principle. I have a 9-year-old daughter who is not crazy about girlie books, and this is a fairly girlie book. So I don’t think she’d read it.
CAVUTO: OK. So you would not be influenced by the Britney kiss or any of the other stuff and you’d say go ahead, read it.
BOWEN: I work with a lot of children’s book authors. There are all different kinds, and some of them have children, some of them don’t. It’s what’s down on the page that counts, I think.
CAVUTO: All right, but a lot of children watch the MTV Awards, right?
CAVUTO: And a lot of children saw that kiss, right? I’m not saying that it’s right or wrong. But this is the same woman who’s going to write a kid’s book. I don’t now. Call me stupid. A disconnect?
BOWEN: Well, no. I think that what she’s done is she’s written a book for a younger audience than those who might have watched the MTV show. She’s written a picture book for, say, you know, 6- or 7-year-olds rather than for the teens who will have watched that show. Let’s hope that the 6- and 7-year-olds are in bed by the time the MTV Awards are on.
CAVUTO: I don’t know about that. So, in other words, you’re saying that this has a guaranteed crowd of parents as well, who would be willing to buy a Madonna children’s book for their children.
BOWEN: I think they will buy the book. Whether they read it to their children, whether they just have it on their coffee table because it is made with very beautiful paper -- we didn’t make it at Simon & Schuster.
We have lots of other great books at Simon & Schuster. This is not one of them, but I think parents will want to own it because they own her CDs and they’ve been following her for years and years.
CAVUTO: Do you find, though, that the fact that it was launched in so many countries in so many languages was to offset the fact that maybe she might not do well in this country, but she’d do well, let’s say, in France.
BOWEN: Well, I didn’t really think that. I thought that Madonna’s stardom is worldwide, you can pretty much say that she is known throughout the world, and I don’t think it was a ploy to keep attention off the united states.
CAVUTO: Well, why would I think that then when I know that her appeal has declined in the United States?
BOWEN: Well, again, I’m not her publisher or her publicist. I’m just looking at it from an industry point of view. Maybe they think the focus should be in Europe because they have more markets to sell. Forty-two countries, apparently, are buying it. So maybe they needed to have a stronger launch there, and they took the U.S. as something for granted.
CAVUTO: All right. Brenda Bowen, we’ll see what happens with this at Simon & Schuster. Appreciate it.
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