First, let me begin by reiterating a remark by another Amazon.com reviewer (D.C.). I agree D.C.'s remarks that, "This means that the art is reproduced at about 25% of it's original size, making the text completely UNREADABLE! Maybe this book is aimed at a younger generation, one that can watch a complete film on their iPhones."
In my own judgement, I found that about 15 percent of the reproductions were too small to be easily read.
TOO SMALL TO READ. Regarding the complaint about small reproductions, half of THE MADISON AVENUE PRIMER, with art by Wallace Wood, is readable, but the other half of THE MADISON AVENUE PRIMER, was reproduced in a shrunken version and cannot be read, except perhaps with a magnifying glass. THE MADISON AVENUE PRIMER is one of the best of all the stories in Mad Magazine, not only because the art is by Wallace Wood, but also because one of the raisons d'etre of Mad Magazine is to parody Madison Avenue's advertising agencies.
TRUNCATED STORIES. Many of the stories are truncated. The most unfortunate example of this is IF KIDS DESIGNED THEIR OWN XMAS TOYS, with art by Jaffee. Only two illustrations are shown from the original story. The original story had about ten illustrations. I own all of the Mad Magazine issues from the year 1957 to 1965. Therefore, I am able to determine when a story is re-published in its truncated form, and I am also able to determine when a story is reproduced in a shrunken form.
OMISSION OF THE BEST MATERIAL. My biggest complaint is that this book omits much of the very best material, in particular, material that was published between 1958 and around 1963. In my opinion, nearly everything published by Mad Magazine after the year 1968 or perhaps after 1969, is not particularly exciting, not particularly clever, and not particularly original. Unfortunately, Mad Magazine has not re-published any of the issues from the years 1958-1963. What is especially disappointing is that the magnificently clever work by WALLACE WOOD is, in essence, lost to the American populace. In particular, I love WALLACE WOOD's story about little children who ask their daddy what they do at work, WALLACE WOOD's parody of the Night Before Christmas, and WALLACE WOOD's depiction of a pushcart evolving into a grocery, which evolves into a superdupermarket, and which finally evolves back to an ordinary pushcart. These three stories, in my opinion represent the pinnacle of cleverness and genius for this particular genre. Unfortunately, none of these three stories were included in the book under review. At present, WALLACE WOOD's body of work is represented by a couple of books devoted to him. While I have not seen these, it is my guess that these cover only only his SCIENCE FICTION drawings, which are perhaps a bit too risque for many customers, and it is my reasoned guess that these books fail to include any of WALLACE WOOD's work from Mad Magazine.
To summarize, one problem with the book under review is its failure to highlight the most clever and original of Mad Magazine's output, that is, work published from 1958-1963. Although I was glad to see some representation of Wallace Wood's work, I was disappointed to see that my three favorite creations by this artist were not included. Another problem is that the book failed to reproduce the full-page presentation from Mad Magazine issues -- I mention this because the magazine, as published, contains little cartoon drawings in the margins, and amusing cryptic comments configured to tantalize the curious mind.
Is there anything good that I can say about the book under review? Yes, I liked the story about William Gaines refusing to do business at a restaurant, because of the restaurant's stringent requirement that male customers wear a tie.
Another good point, is that the book under review can inspire readers to explore specific issues of Mad Magazine, or perhaps specific years in the history of Mad Magazine. For this particular use, all that is needed is just fragmentary stories. Perhaps that was the intention of the editors who prepared this book.
Hopefully, some day another editor will put together another compendium of Mad Magazine's best output, where the result will not be as damaged and mutilated as the book under review. And that is my summary of this book. It is the case that this book has damaged and mutilated the original stories, by reproducting the stories in a truncated form, and by reproducing parts of some stories in a shrunken form that is too small to read.