Tag Archives: humor

Complementary Characters

24 Jul

I’ve mentioned before that my twin sister has always been far more outgoing than I. Sometimes that was hard.

Scan 2

Here we are dressed up for Hallowe’en. Despite my smile ( am the groom), I was not that happy about this costume because I wanted to be the bride and the bride always gets more attention My sister was taller & the dress fit her. I think I was too short for it. In spite of my initial feelings about this costume, I remember having a really good time in this costume. I’m a bit curmudgeonly and grumble about doing things or going places, but generally end up having a far better time than I expected.

And so it is with Unicorn & Goat in the fantastic Unicorn Thinks He’s Pretty Great by Bob Shea.


Narrated by Goat, we learn how life changes when Unicorn arrives. Anything Goat does, unicorn does better and Goat is not pleased. However, Goat soon learns that it’s not always easy being Unicorn. Nope, it’s not all rainbows and glitter. Together, though, Goat & Unicorn can be an unstoppable team.

This book reminds me of two other books I like to use that show how friends balance each other out:

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There are a lots more out there. Why not share your favorite and then give these a try.

Friends with feathers

18 Jul


Flora and the Flamingo  by Molly Idle is wordless and yet a beautiful story unfolds, figuratively and literally.


When book opens, these two are not friends. Not enemies either, but the tension is palpable.


Then, slowly, Idle unfolds the story with flaps to lift


and beautiful two-page spreads that illustrate the twists and turns of an evolving friendship.



Even though this is a very pink book, boys will certainly enjoy the story. There are lots of ways to use wordless books in the library and classroom, or at home,  and this would be an excellent addition to all three.

As I was reading Flora and the Flamingo,  I had vision of the dancing hippos in Fantasia  and The Dance of the Hours was playing in my head. This book will leave you feeling just as satisfied.

Monkey business

15 Jul

In 1979, when my niece Rachel was still a tiny tot, she would come over to our house, grab me by the hand and ask me to read the 1979 National Geographic article about Jane Goodall and the Gombe chimps. When I asked her to tell me what a monkey said, she would say “OOO, OOO, OOO”. She’ll probably die hen she finds out I’m writing about something she doesn’t remember.

There a great new graphic biography out about Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey and Biruté Galdikas, by Jim Ottaviani and Maris Wicks.


Primates: The Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey,and Biruté Galdikas recounts how these three women were recruited by Louis Leakey to study chimps, gorillas and orangutans.

On a more amusing note, Mac Barnett has Count the Monkeys,  one of the most fun counting books I’ve seen in a while.


What I like most is that the ages are full of whimsically interactive directions that keep the reader engaged, like this page, where the readers are asked to put their arms over their heads and roar.


Go ahead. Try one or both.You won’t regret it.







Winger: Top of the library pile

11 Jul

Because I spent 10 days focused on knitting the “Kiss Me, Hardy” Pullover, I now have a giant stack of library books and a great dilemma. Which do I read first?  Since I am mostly a logical person, I have sorted them by due date and Winger by Andrew Smith, rose to the top.


Ryan Dean West is a 14-year-old ruby-playing junior at a private school. He plays rugby and has bait of  a potty mouth. We meet him at the beginning of the story, as two football players are attempting to dunk his head in a toilet. I’d heard a bit of a buzz about this book, so although it began with typical teenage boy dialogue and hijinx, I suspected it would be worth reading. Ryan Dean is really likable and I couldn’t put the book down. Andrew Smith lets us see into the mind of a teenage boy. What’s there is disgusting, funny and sensitive. Like all of us, Ryan Dean is trying to fit in and figure out the world, It is rare that I laugh out loud and cry at a book, but I did both with this one. By the end, all  could say was “WOW”!

I don’t want to give too many details & spoil it, but you should read this one. It reminded me of Spud by John Van de Ruit,


which came out 5 or 6 years ago, and which left me feeling the same way. If you haven’t read that one, it is also worth your while.


A Mouth-Watering Graphic Memoir

10 Jul

Portland, OR gets called Beervana, but it is a great place for good food, too. I just live a couple of blocks off “Restaurant Row”, where NE & SE 28th cross Burnside. Lucy Knisley has a great graphic novel out.


RELISH: My Life in the Kitchen, celebrates her development as a foodie as would be a great read for young adults who love food & memoir, as well as those of us who are older than the author. Not just a straightforward, chronological narrative, she shows us significant culinary points and discoveries in her younger years,


as well as offering some of her favorite recipes. like this one for huevos rancheros.


This is a fun read that will get you thinking about your life in the kitchen.It might even inspire you to write your own kitchen memoir.

Breaking up is hard to do

30 Jun

I’m currently reading one break up  book  ( Going Vintage by Lindsay Leavitt )


and  listening to  another in the car ( An Abundance of Katherines by John Green).

In  Going Vintage, sixteen-year-old Mallory learns that her boyfriend is cheating on her with his cyber “wife”. As she looks through some of her grandmother’s things, she decides life was simpler in the past. She rebels against technology by following her grandmother’s list of goals from 1962, with help from her younger sister, Ginnie.

In  An Abundance of Katherines, recent high school graduate and former child prodigy, Colin has been dumped for the nineteenth time by a girl named Katherine. He sets off on a road trip with his hirsute and Lebanese  best friend,  to try to find some new direction in life while also trying to create a mathematical formula to explain his relationships.

Both are funny and poignant. Both make me think about what I was like as a teen. Both are worth reading.

The Mighty Lalouche: A Mighty Fine Book

5 Jun



You must read  The Mighty Lalouche, written by Matthew Olshan and illustrated by Sophie Blackall.

Laloche is a postman with nimble hands, fast legs and strong arms. He lives in Paris with his beloved finch, Geneviève. When he loses his  job to modern technology, he is desperate to find a job that will keep Geneviève in the manner to which she has become accustomed. Then one day he sees a sign asking 3 very important questions:




And thus, Lalouche becomes a sparring partner at a boxing club, even though he is small and rather bony. The mayhem he cause is the wring is sensational as is the message about doing what you love.

The illustrations are knockouts! Sophie Blackall has completely captured  France during the Third Republic.  The details as he adds are exquisite. You can see how she did it at her blog:  Sophie Blackall.




Pig Tales from Portland

29 May

I don’t really think this is a trend, but I have come across two novels by Portland authors that feature porcine characters. One is for young adults, one is for younger readers. Both are worth reading.


Poison, by Bridget Zinn, is funny. As I was reading it, I thought about how few YA fantasy novels are funny. The heroine, Kyra, keeps coming to the wrong conclusion. Her pig, Rosie, just smiles dreamily at her and loves to snuggle, when she’s not following the scent she’s supposed to be tracking. The Princess and heir to the throne is outspoken. On top of all this good stuff, Zinn creates a world of potioners and poisoners, people who fight with chemistry. As I finished the book, I was thinking that, although the problem came to a conclusion, it would be great to read more about this world Zinn created. But I can’t, because Bridget Zinn passed away two years ago of colon cancer at the age of 33.

On a happier note, the main character of  The Adventures of a South Pole Pig, by Chris Kurtz, is Flora, a piglet on a mission.


She is not content wallowing on the farm and longs for adventure. when she escapes from her pen, she discovers the world of sled dogs and decides it is her destiny. When Fate lands her aboard a ship bound for the South pole, she assumes she is to be a sled pig, although he reader quickly realizes that Flora has come to the wrong conclusion.When the ship  is wrecked and all seems hopeless, an unexpected heroine emerges. Can you guess who it is?  Young readers will love this tale of adventure and reaching for your dreams.

Scatology for Beginners

26 May

It’s Sunday morning so you might be thinking I made a spelling error in the title. Perhaps you expected Eschatology for Beginners. Eschatology is the theological study of end times, death, judgement, heaven & hell. Really deep  serious ideas.  No, I really meant scatology. Scatology is the study of poop. Sometimes deep, but often funny, just like Brief Thief.


Author Michael Escoffier tells the hilarious story of Leon, who eats a big breakfast & has to go. Alas, after answering the call of nature, he realizes there is no toilet paper. Fortunately, he spies a pair of undies on a branch, uses them, then tosses them in a bush and walks  away. Then comes the voice. Is his conscience pricking him? It would seem so and Leon has some regrets but makes amends. Just when you think the book is over, there is a twist, which made me laugh out loud.

Kris Di Giacomo’s illustrations are humorous and I like that Leon and the voice have different fonts.

What made this an especially funny book is a kindergarten incident I had a couple of weeks ago. I was walking through the kinder hall and a little voice called to me from the boys’ bathroom, “Teacher ,help.”. Standing in the doorway was a kinder boy with his pants around his ankles. He looked unharmed.  I couldn’t really get him to explain what was wrong but managed to get his name and his teacher’s name. I hustled to her room and she came to the rescue. She knew the right questions to ask and it turned out that there was no toilet paper in his stall. She told him to go look in the next stall and voila, problem solved.  Potty stuff happens all the time and it often makes for a great story. I shared my kinder story at a staff meeting. I bet you can easily find a young reader who would find Brief Thief hilarious.

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