Tag Archives: humor

Très drôle

18 Sep

The rain has finally returned to the Pacific Northwest. The smell of smoke in the air has been replaced by the scent of damp earth and I imagine those fighting fires are celebrating. Those of us who prefer cooler, wetter weather are celebrating, too. It is as though we have crossed a line: life before the rain, life after the rain.

And that gets me thinking about My Pictures After the Storm by Eric Veillé.

More witty than funny, this picture book proves that a picture is worth a thousand words.


The book, which has a cover that is reminiscent of a board book, is simply a collection of before and after pictures, all of which have a


We have Back to School Night tonight. The picture of me after BTSN will be more about exhaustion than humor.




27 Oct

I have a couple of boys who truly laugh out loud when they read. They are young 6th graders. They like funny books and they really get into them. The class will be reading silently, then, suddenly a snort or a chortle erupts. The best part of this is that these boys seem to be oblivious to the effect of their outbursts. They blithely carry on reading.

Jonathan Follett and Matthew Holm must have had in mind when they wrote Marvin and the Moths.


 I can picture them chortling as they read this book, which I won in  Goodreads Giveaway. For my part, I found it a little slow to get started and stereotypical, but it will be a welcomed addition to my classroom library.

Publisher’s Summary:Matthew Holm, the Eisner Award–winning co-creator of Babymouse, teams with his childhood best friend for a hilarious prose debut.

Middle school is off to a rocky start for Marvin Watson. Doomed to misfit status, his only friends are a girl with major orthodontics, the smelliest boy in school, and the trio of sarcastic man-sized moths that live in his attic.

No one said middle school would be easy! Also, no one said that Marvin’s town would be threatened by mutant bugs, including a very hungry, Shakespeare-quoting spider. But life in the suburbs is full of surprises. Will Marvin be the one to unravel the mystery behind the mutants and save the town? Or will he be too busy with the real threat: his first school dance?!

This hilarious send-up of middle school has the humour of James Patterson’s I Funny, the underdog hero of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and the zany action of NERDS… and features illustrations by co-author Matthew Holm, New York Times bestselling illustrator of the Babymouse series and Sunny Side Up.

Plus: talking moths!


Custard and Parasols

27 Jul

Instead of spending Monday night glued to my radio listening to the speeches at the Democratic Convention, I went to Powells to meet Gail Carriger.


She is the author of the Finishing School series I finished in April.She was in town promoting her newest novel, Imprudence, the sequel to Prudence, and the second book in the Custard Protocol series.

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Unlike many author presentations, Carriger gave a very brief presentation, covering topics she is asked about a lot. She spent most of the time answering questions of the packed house. Through the wide range of questions, we got to know Gail Carriger’s sense of humor, writing routine and plans for the future.

I’ve been reading her series out-of-order. I started with the Finishing School series, the began The Custard Protocol.  Now, I have her first series, The Parasol Protectorate,  in my queue.  Each of these series is unique unto itself, but they are all set in the Steampunk world she created and there are some characters that overlap. I loved how Carriger explained that each of these repeating characters seem to be a little different in each series because are shown as perceived by protagonist of the series. I was impressed and that helped explain why the Lord Akeldama of Prudence is so different from the Lord Akeldama of The Finishing School.

Of course, I took my moment to get my books signed and chat for a few moments with Gail.


When I got home, I learned I had missed some fabulous DNC speeches, but I didn’t mind. I could watch them online. I had enjoyed a marvelous evening and had a new book to read.

A Little Funeral Humor: A Slice of Life Story

4 Aug


After my father’s funeral on Saturday, most people were going back to my eldest sister’s house for a reception. I drove there with my twin sister, her husband and my mother, who wanted to stop at her place on the way home so she could change clothes and drop off the flowers and urn.

When we got to her apartment building, we dropped Mom at the front door so we could park, telling her we’d carry everything in. After parking my brother-in-law, Tom, took the flowers, my sister, Andrea, took purses because she had a key to Mom’s building, and I carried the urn. Once in the building, we pushed the button for the elevator and got on as soon as the doors opened. We didn’t realize it was going down until it started. No matter. It was only one floor down.

When the elevator doors opened in the basement, a very tall man and a short woman got on. Realizing what we carried, the man avoided eye contact. The woman  took it all in with her eyes. You could see her looking at the flowers, reading the words on them: Husband, Father, Grandfather. She looked at me, the bearer of the urn, and said, “Is that him?”. All I could do was nod.

It was all over in a moment. The doors opened on the 3rd floor and they stepped out. As soon as the doors closed, we burst into laughter. I’m sure they could hear us as we travelled all the way up to the tenth floor.

A funny week – the HAHA kind, mostly

23 Jan

Yesterday was a hard day, generally, in 4th grade. All 4 teachers seemed to have some spot of trouble to help kids with. On the other hand, there were also lots of funnies in my class this week I have to share a couple.

1. While he was practicing note-taking about Duke Ellington for our biography unit, V leaned over to me and said, “When we are older e, Z and C are gonna find each other and get an apartment. Then we will have a band.” I told him I hoped they’d track me down and invite me to their gig, a Duke Ellington vocal word. Then, I couldn’t help myself. He was so serious I added, “If I’m old and in a wheelchair, I’ll find someone to push me there.”

2. I’m reading The One & Only Ivan  aloud. The word amends came up because it says that zoos are where humans make amends. I was attempting to explain the meaning of amends when a little voice piped up with. “That’s probably why, at church, they end with Amen.”

3. Working on MLK timelines, a kid mispronounced Burmingham as Burningham….not funny haha, but apropos.

4. Today, a pair was having some trouble working together. One of them said “Who even voted D at our table?”. Well, I moved D to work with another student and had a heart to heart with the speaker. I told him I would have cried if I were D. The the speaker said, Well, D only wants to work. She doesn’t ever mess around.”. I replied, “That’s why I put her there.”.

5. Our OBOB  (Oregon Battle of the Books) battles started last week. I tell the kids they should always say something. Twice this week, kids made random guesses that were right. the best was to a 3rd grade team who were asked this question  about  The One & Only Ivan. They had no idea, but took my advice to heart and decided to say 45. Imagine the surprise on their faces when they heard that their answer was correct. We had a good laugh about that.

That got me thinking about Kid President’s Twenty Things We Should Say More Often

Any funnies in your week?



Imaginary friends

12 Dec

As a twin, I never needed an imaginary friend, but I know lots of people who had one when they were young. My favorite belonged to a roommate I had in Colombia. Her imaginary friend was named  Chalk Lipstick.

In Dory Fantasmagory by Abby Hanlon, Dory’s older siblings won’t play with her because they say she acts like a baby.


She also has endless energy, a vivid imagination and imaginary friends. Since her siblings won’t play with her, she spends a lot of time with her imaginary friends  outsmarting the monsters all over the house, escaping from prison (aka time-out), and exacting revenge on her sister’s favorite doll.

Her imagination actually helps solve the problem with her older siblings. When Dory (aka Rascal) becomes a dog she’s invisible to the little-girl–stealer but appealing to her older brother, who, it turns out, always wanted to have a dog.  Unfortunately, with this success, Dory refuses to turn back into a little girl, which turns her siblings against her again. In a final act of bravery,however, Dory proves that she is no longer a baby.

This is a great book for kids ready to move on to chapter books. Dory is six and has a very strong and compelling voice. Child-like drawings with hand-lettered speech bubbles add to the true to life humor of this book.

This would be a great  read aloud or early venture into chapter books.

Wilbur, Ivan, and now, Audrey

7 Dec


Wilbur is perhaps the most famous farm animal to escape the slaughterhouse. Ivan was not destined for the slaughterhouse, but he faced a grim future. And now we have Audrey.

From the publisher: Audrey is a cow with poetry in her blood, who yearns for the greener pastures beyond Bittersweet Farms. But when Roy the horse tells this bovine dreamer that she is headed for Abbot’s War, the slaughter house, Audrey knows that she must leave her home and friends sooner than she ever imagined. With the help of a whole crew of animals and humans alike, Audrey attempts to escape the farm she lives on–and certain death. Cleverly written as an oral account, this unique illustrated tale of an animal on the run, told “to camera”, uses over thirty narrative voices, including six humans, four cows, three sheep, two sheep dogs, one pig and a very silly rooster. Full of heart and humor, Audrey (cow) is ultimately a very human story about life and death, friendship, and holding on to one’s dreams–based more or less on a true story.

This is great book for taking to kids about voice. With so many characters, it is hard to believe that each one has a unique voice, but they do! Dan Bar-El is an artist with words. One cow’s grief over losing her son is compared to “a mist like we’d get on gray, foggy mornings that made the farm seem as if it were fading away along its edges”. Humor, realism, sadness, adventure and a lot heart make this a wonderful book, and an excellent read aloud. It would also be fun to create a class writing project trying to emulate this style in different setting, depending on what you are studying.

I highly recommend Audrey (cow). It would make a great gift for an elementary school student if you are still looking for books to give during this holiday season.

Read this and you’ll feel better

21 Nov

It is a simple story. Cow meets car. Cow gets car. Cow loses car. You get the picture.


I mean that literally and figuratively because the text is minimal.



But what a great read aloud. I can just imagine the kids and I laughing belly laughs. Even though the text is, essentially one word, it’s all about your tone. It is a good book to teach kids about reading with expression and about the effective use of punctuation. Here’s the page that will make you crack up:


Bet the kids ask you to read that one again. It’s like reading the apple poem in  Love That Dog by Sharon Creech.

I wonder what directions David LaRochelle gave to tho illustrator, Mike Wohnoutka, that helped him create such vivid pictures.

Are you ready to rumble?

19 Nov

Remember how, when you were a kid, you thought The Flintstones was funny, then, when you were older and watched it again you saw there was a different level of humor? It takes some talent to pull that off. And guess what! Jon Scieszka and mac Barnett have pulled it off in their new book, illustrated by Matthew Myers


Yes, it is a picture book, but there is a story behind the story. Clearly, Grandma has given Alexander the book Birthday Bunny. Alexander went through and made some improvements.



It is too hilarious. As I read Alex’s story, I loved seeing what he changed. The “original” book art is reminiscent of kids books of my youth. Alex’s improvements include readers smudges and cross outs, along with the text so you can see how creative he is. Yes, it is violent, but this is the story a boy like Alex would love.

It got me thinking: I could go to Goodwill, pick up a bunch of old mediocre books, bring them in and have kids rewrite them and improve the illustrations. No violence, though, It’s a school assignment.


26 Oct

When I heard David Shannon interviewed on NPR about his newest book, I had to get it. It’s about head lice.


The artwork is classic Shannon, but I think the whole concept of Lice-a-palooza is brilliant, but still icky.


Head lice ice the power to make us shiver and giggle, often simultaneously. As a teacher, getting notice that someone in you class has head lice, just deflates you. And makes your head itch. The kind-hearted secretaries at my school chuckle the whole time they check my hair, at my request, after I find out that someone I teach has head lice.

Although, funny, Shannon manages to what the lice are doing (feasting on blood) with a cool vampire-lice picture. He talks about the shame and humiliation people feel, how they can get lice, and how to clear it up. It is a war and he explains the battle strategy.

This book would match up nicely with Nicola Davies’ more detailed What’s Eating you? – Parasites the Inside Story.


My apologies if I’ve made you itchy.

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