In the animated movie, Madagascar, there's a scene where the villainous 'Foosa' are attacking the lemurs, and things get crazy, and someone starts shouting, "It's a Good Book!" before they are shushed (Look for 'good book' in the script here: http://www.script-o-rama.com/movie_scripts/m/madagascar-script-transcript.html)

What is "it's a good book" referring to? What is the joke?

I seem to recall originally encountering a similar joke in Mad Magazine 20+ years ago, but I didn't get it then either.

Is there some movie or show or play where during some apocalyptic scene, someone is yelling 'it's a good book', possibly in reference to the bible?

Update: apparently they are actually yelling 'it's a cookbook' - the script-o-rama script was in error (as was my recollection).

2 Answers 2


What is "it's a good book" referring to? What is the joke?

Unfortunately, you have been deceived by script-o-rama!

The actual dialogue in the film is,

It's a cookbook! It's a cookbook!

with the title of the book being "To Serve Lemur".

This is a reference to an episode of The Twilight Zone, where aliens visit Earth [under the pretense of peace] and then try to eat humans. They have with them a book whose title is eventually translated as, "To Serve Man". I.e., it's a cookbook on how to prepare and serve humans.

"The Twilight Zone" To Serve Man (TV Episode 1962) - IMDb

It is actually referring to the sci-fi short story titled, "To Serve Man" by Damon Knight, which inspired the Twilight Zone episode.

  • 1
    The Simpsons had a brilliant Treehouse of Horror parody of this.
    – m1gp0z
    Feb 11, 2019 at 21:41

Immediately before that line is "TO SERVE LEMUR". Presumably, there is a cookbook called "To Serve Lemur". It's a good book; i.e. knowing how to prepare lemur is a good thing to know.

This is presumably a reference to [note: spoilers for another work]


  • I think you may be right - in this version of the script, it says "it's a cookbook!" springfieldspringfield.co.uk/movie_script.php?movie=madagascar Also mentioned here, noting Twilight Zone: eeggs.com/items/45141.html
    – shaneb
    May 2, 2018 at 19:42
  • Of course this doesn't explain what I saw in Mad Magazine many years ago... but this is definitely a step forward! Thanks!
    – shaneb
    May 2, 2018 at 19:49
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    @Acccumulation With all due respect, just based off your answer, it sounds like you haven't even seen the film, since they never say "it's a good book!", but instead, just refer to it as a cookbook. So, I'm not sure why you're trying to justify the good aspect of the OP, since it's not true to the film. -1.
    – Charles
    May 2, 2018 at 19:50
  • @Charles "it sounds like you haven't even seen the film" More precisely, I don't have eidetic memory, and can't recall verbatim the dialogue of a movie from 13 years ago. Faulting me for an error in the OP's citation seem a bit odd to me. May 2, 2018 at 19:56
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    @Acccumulation IMO, it's good practice to first verify an OP's claims before trying to explain them. Otherwise, it can come back to bite you, just as it did you in this case.
    – Charles
    May 2, 2018 at 19:57

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