Posts Tagged ‘books’

Funny Men writing Funny Books for Funny Kids

November 7, 2011

As a kid, it was the male authors that had me laughing out loud. And when I look through my current favourites, it still seems to be that it is predominately the male authors that make me laugh the most.

I used to devour Edward Lear’s Book of Nonsense. It was silly. It was improbable. And it rhymed. I can still chant my favourite poem:

I eat my peas with honey

I’ve done it all my life

It makes the peas taste funny

But it keeps them on my knife

From Lear, we can go to modern day picture book legend Mo Willems, whose Pigeon, Piggie and Elephant, and Knuffle Bunny books are delightfully funny to Tedd Arnold with his Fly Guy funnies and his Parts books with literal angst for kids and the idiosyncrasies of their bodies. And when it comes to funny poetry,  I have to list my son’s favourite Australian poet Steven Herrick.

From these picture book funnies, my mind leaps to laughing with Roald Dahl who still amuses children with his quirky, twisted characters, to Andrew Daddo who ranges from gentle humour in his picture books to school boy antics in his chapter books (just using the jargon the kids throw at me). Andy “pulling a bandaid off story makes for the biggest laughs” Griffiths can get the most reluctant readers searching for his books as does Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. I enjoy reading out aloud Eoin Colfer, John Larkin, Philip Ardagh and Dave Hackett (of cartoon Dave fame – his books snuck up on me with their unexpected guffaws) for often, they will have my whole family laughing together.

My favourite male author/illustrators to this day  are the wonderful bunch of idiots over at Mad Magazine. For Dave Berg, Duck Edwing, Spy vs Spy, Don Martin and Sergio Aragones amused me constantly. I also have to give a hats off to fabulous Terry Deary who, by using toilet humour, has given us history we can laugh at and want to search out for more and more books to read.

I love discovering funny men writing funny books for funny kids. And their comedic twists seem to cross all genre interest as humour proves to be the biggest draw card for all children from voracious readers to the reluctant readers.

Do you have any favourites?

Vassiliki

Have eReader – Will Travel

June 18, 2011

or how my holiday luggage was liberated

Back in 1993, I travelled across Mexico for 3 weeks with my sister and a friend. I left Australia with 7 kgs in my backpack. I travel light. I had 2 books with me. My Lonely Planet Mexico and a novel (I am sure – yet I cannot recall the title). When I was boarding the plane to fly home my backpack was in excess of 20kg. Apart from 1 rug, 1 hammock & 1 dress, all the extra kilos were books that I had accumulated, and read, during my 3 week holiday. I had scoured bookshops, bought travel brochures from different archaeological museums and I picked up a number of discarded novels at youth hostels and resorts, as is the habit with many travellers.

Subsequent travels through Europe were no different. I would leave home with minimal luggage and I would return laden with books. On one particular trip I had so many that I mailed them, cargo style, on a 3 month ship journey as I couldn’t afford the excess luggage cost. I love reading but, en masse, it is a heavy, space consuming habit.

Last year, however, I bought an eReader while I was overseas. I loaded it up with over 80 books. Some were freebies and others were loans through my local library’s ebook lending scheme. And though I still went into a few bookshops, specialist shops, second hand shops and market stalls, I no longer needed to buy books to keep me going through a holiday. I still bought museum guides or special editions such as a collection of poetry from Wordsworth’s home in the Lakes District in England.  But for my fiction reading, I stuck to my eReader and the liberty of less weight in my luggage.

Did I read all 80 books? No. But I did read quite a few and some of those books were so enjoyable I went out and bought myself a print keeper copy.  And though, now that I am at home I rarely use my eReader due to preferring the tactile pleasure of printed books, when a weekend away is coming up or I am planning a holiday, I load up the eReader and take out the smaller suitcase.

Vassiliki