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"If Roast Beef Could Fly" by Jay Leno

An easy book by the former late-night host, sharing a hilarious moment from a family dinner party.

My beloved Dad, the best father ever, passed away this year and it was extremely painful. I went all out to dedicate this review talking about one of his favorite television personalities—Jay Leno. Hey Jay, doubtful you'll read this but I want to say that my dad is a respectable fan of yours and watches you every night for the good laughs and skits. So indeed having an extra copy of this book you wrote, which I gave to my dad on Father's Day some time ago, I decided to review it not just for you, but for my dad.

Having underwent through the stages of grief, as I eternally honor my father for being a great family man to us, this may likely be one of the rare exceptions reviewing a children's book here on The Seeds of Books (only doing so as my dad is a fan of Jay Leno, and is the only book I currently have from Leno). With over 30 pages of wonderfully-drawn illustrations and hilarious scenes, I'm certain adults will get a kick out of reading a true story from Jay himself. Flying roast beef? Yeah, continue reading.

Jay respectably talks about both his mom and dad—his dad being the heavy worker, calling his house work and building a "project," and his mom and her sister, Aunt Nettie, being very economical. To bring over their relatives and other family members, Jay joins his dad to build a large patio for their end-of-summer get-together with their families and relatives. Having splurged on cement and bricks, Jay helped out snatching up a rotisserie. In addition, Jay briefly spoke about his dad and his side of the family being Italian; Jay also talks about his mom and her side of the family being Scottish.

As the family and relatives are in, Jay couldn't resist staring at the delicious roast beef cooking outside, frying and sizzling its juices before his very eyes. Desperate, Jay uses his secret weapon to sample the yummy main course: a hair comb. It wasn't until his dad took in the rib-sticking protein in and notices something bizarre happening as he slices through it. It's a piece of plastic! Jay apologizes as that plastic was his comb, wanting to taste the beef. Making Drew Brees smile, Jay's dad picks up the roast beef and throws it out the window as family members and relatives witness in shock. Spontaneously, Bruce the dog catches it and munches up the large beef which, according to Jay, has never caught anything in its life. Jay's dad then informs the folks that there's plenty of food left such as cole slaw, macaroni and salad.

Finally, Jay's dad mentions leftover cement and looking to make use of it. Jay suggests building a swimming pool as Bruce the Dog begins digging in the backyard already.

A very simple yet humorous story from Jay. And like I said, adults can also get a kick out of this children's book, and of course, those who are avid fans of Jay Leno.

What's amuses me about the book is not only the story, but Leno himself unveiled this book from a segment on his show about items they found at the 99 Cents only stores. Having joked about former sidekick Kevin Eubanks' music albums showing up at such dollar stores, Jay pokes fun of his own projects showing this kids book of his, appearing at 99 Cents stores!

Whether you purchase this online, or yes, at the 99 Cents store, the story will give you some chuckles and a peek at a young Jay during his childhood. Also comes with a companion CD, which is Jay's voice, an audible guide to reading along with the story.

(This book review is for you, Papa. Thanks once again for everything and please guide us and watch over us everyday. We will never forget you. I promise we will reunite again with the rest of the family.)





  • Funny book for both children and adults.
  • Simple and funny story told by the former late-night host himself.
  • It was at one time available and sold at the 99¢ Stores.
  • Includes companion CD.
  • None.
100% (A+)
Fan Rating
Title If Roast Beef Could Fly
Author(s) Jay Leno
Description The Tonight Show's Jay Leno draws on a true story from his childhood to make a generation of young readers laugh out loud.

Little Jay's mom is maniacally thrifty, his dad is extravagant, and Jay always seems to be caught in the middle. So when Jay's dad decides that his next big "project" is going to be an ENORMOUS barbecue patio, the only way it's going to happen is if Jay, their neighbors, and Bruce, the laziest dog in America, help him out.

When the party to launch the patio arrives, there's more food than anyone could eat, and at the center is a HUGE roast beef that would do anything to get a taste of. No one will notice if he sneaks a bite, will they? That is, until Jay's plan backfires!

What is Jay's secret weapon to sample a bit of the roast beef? Will he keep his dad from finding out? And finally, what could make a roast beef fly?
Dedication "To my mom and dad, and
to my brother and
my aunts and uncles and cousins,
all of whom made my
childhood so safe and
so much fun"

ISBN 0-689-86767-0
Book Dimensions Width: 10.06″ (10 1/16″)
Height: 10.06″ (10 1/16″)
Depth: 0.44″ (7/16″)
Page Count 36
Contents --
Jacket Design by Dan Potash and Diane Hobbing
Author Photograph NBC
Published February 29, 2004
Publisher Byron Press Visual Publications, Inc.
Copyright Jacket Illustrations © 2004 by Byron Press Visual Publications, Inc., and Big Dog Productions, Inc.
Printed in United States of America
Book Format Hardcover, Paperback, Kindle, eBook
Quoted Reviews --
Best Seller's List --
Other Jay Leno is the host of the Emmy Award-winning and number-one rated The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, celebrating its twelfth anniversary in May 2004. Leno is the author of Leading with My Chin (published by HarperCollins), his autobiography. This is the first book for children. Jay was born in New Rochelle, New York, and was raised in Andover, Massachusetts. He and his wife, Mavis, live in Beverly Hills, California. In his spare time he enjoys working on his collection of classic cars and motorcycles.

S.B. Whitehead is best known for his illustrations for Entertainment Weekly and Time. He also illustrated the book Red Foley's Cartoon History of Baseball. He lives with his wife, Robin, in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
Library of Congress
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