Leno Book Asks 'Where's The Beef?'

Late night television talk show host Jay Leno, shown in this May 5, 2002, file photo in New York, said on Tuesday, July 22, 2003
His day job comes on television long after bedtime, so most little kids may discover Jay Leno for the first time as a children's author.

Leno, host of NBC's "The Tonight Show," said Tuesday he's written a picture book, "If Roast Beef Could Fly," based on a family cookout in which mischief led to a ruined rotisserie of meat.

"I was a little kid and I was fascinated by the roast beef going around the spit," Leno said. "So I took out my little plastic comb and stuck it in the meat. At one point the comb caught on the string used to tie the roast beef. So I went, 'Oh, oh,' and I didn't want to break the motor. So I said, `OK,' and I walked away."

"When my dad brought the roast beef out, he started to cut it and then — clunk! — a big piece of plastic fell off and the meat was pink underneath," Leno said. "Of course everybody was — 'Eww!' — sickened by this, and my dad started yelling in Italian, picked up the roast beef and threw it out the window."

"It's mostly a family story," Leno added. "It's about my mom and my dad. And I come from one of those homes where every Sunday was a huge Italian dinner with cousins and aunts and uncles."

"If Roast Beef Could Fly," illustrated with drawings of "little Jay" by artist S.B. Whitehouse, is set for publication next summer.

This will be Leno's second recent foray into children's entertainment. He is also the voice of the blustery superhero The Crimson Chin on Nickelodeon's popular cartoon "The Fairly OddParents."