This past week Dalko Publishing announced a new children’s book that will reshape the canon of children’s literature for decades to come. Dalko sent their stocks soaring with the announcement of a surprise sequel to a pillar of modern youth — “Everyone Poops.”
The title of this surprise sequel? “Everyone Dies.”
Strangely, however, this instant classic is being published by a different author and publishing company than its storied predecessor, causing some to raise questions about its origins. I emailed Esai Dankur, the author of the upcoming “Everyone Dies,” expecting there to be an easy explanation for the disparity between the two books. He offered to meet me, and the story that emerged is potentially more compelling than the riveting narrative of “Everyone Dies,” if such a thing is even possible.
Dankur, a creaky-jointed but clear-eyed man in his late 60s, met me in a roadside diner in New Mexico. In a conspiratorial tone he told me that it was “within 15 miles of my suburban condominium,” but the odd phrasing and a poorly-hidden chuckle under his breath suggested he was trying to deceive me, though I didn’t know what reason he had to lie to me.
The conspiracy he laid before me over the course of the next five hours and nine minutes could fill more than a few children’s books, but for brevity I’ll omit the parts about the Colombian drug cartel and the Ayatollah. Looking back I’m not even sure how they were connected to the rest of the story. Dankur might just be racist.
The main part of Dankur’s story, which somehow always felt rushed even as he strung together continuous sentences for over five hours, involves a personal manifesto he wrote in the early ‘70s.
“I had finally put the finishing touches on my survival bunk — uh, I mean, furnishing my suburban condominium, and I was ready to warn the world about the impending — actually, it would probably be quicker for you to just read it for yourself,” he said, before pulling out an 1,100-page stack of typewritten pages that seemed to be held together in the corner by a single, six-inch-long staple.
“I sent it to every publisher I could find, including apparently Kane/Miller [the publisher of “Everyone Poops”], not realizing they did children’s books,” he said. “And five years later, without giving me any credit or royalties, they published an edited version of it under some Japanese guy’s name! Look at the title! Look how they stole my book!”
The manuscript was titled, “Everything is Shit!” and bore no resemblance to the 27-page children’s classic, “Everyone Poops.”
“They just edited out a few parts and changed the name!” he yelled. “And they thought that would trick me? Fools! They owe me millions in royalties!”
Dankur has spent the last 40 years filing lawsuits and petitioning around the world to get his claim to the book recognized. To support himself financially in the meantime, he started working on a second book to pay the bills until he could earn his rightful royalties from Kane/Miller.
That second book is “Everyone Dies,” and it has finally come to fruition. Dankur refused to explain how he wrote an 1,100-page manuscript by age 22 and then spent 40 years writing a 25-page children’s book.
“Now the joke’s on Kane/Miller!” Dankur raved. “While they’ve spent all their time and resources fighting off my relentless legal maneuvers, I’m capitalizing on the ‘Everyone Poops’ brand and starting my own series to teach kids about the grim realities of life.”
Like the original “Everyone Poops,” the book explains how various animal species, though they have different lifespans, all eventually die, with vivid illustrations of the animals’ corpses on each page.
I won’t spoil the ending, but I did get a sneak peak of future products Dankur has in mind for his book series. For kids, they include titles such as, “Everyone Hurts,” “Everyone Stops Believing in Santa,” and “Everyone Came From a Vagina.”
He’s also considering starting a similar series for parents. He’s already started the first book in that series, entitled, “Everyone Has Pre-Marital Sex.”