Ready for a laugh? It's 4th Fridays with Marcie Colleen Writing about Writing Humor in Children's Books
Chances are we all love to laugh. But how many of us have truly sat down and pondered WHAT we find funny? Well, that is precisely what I have been doing lately in preparation for this blog.
In a recent poll on Facebook, I asked fellow writers what picture books they find funny. And as predicted, the answers were varied.
Some people are particularly drawn to the personality of a character and the situations the characters are in. Others find humor in the illustrations or the author’s word choices. And some debated the humor of “potty jokes” or nudity.
Throughout the coming months we will be exploring all of these types of funny through picture book examples and engage in conversation that will hopefully leave you all laughing.
But to kickoff this topic, I scoured my personal library to bring you my own list.
What Makes Marcie Laugh ~ 3 types of humor
1) The unexpected ~ Growing up I was a huge fan of The Twilight Zone mainly because I love a good surprise or twist at the end--especially, if it leaves me laughing out loud. Lately, a favorite book with unexpected humor is “Bark, George” by Jules Fieffer.
In “Bark, George”, George’s mother is constantly trying to get him to bark because George is a dog. However, George says “meow,” “moo,” and “quack.” The veterinarian gets to the bottom of the problem, or does he?
It’s a real page turner that has its readers “tee-heeing” throughout, but leaves the real laughter until the final spread.
2) The wicked or dark ~ I happen to love Jon Klassen’s “I Want My Hat Back” but I realize that not everyone does. In fact, readers of kid lit have made a sport out of debating the brilliance or inappropriateness of the book.
In my opinion, it is a simple little tale which lets the reader in on the joke as Bear journeys through the forest looking for his lost hat, encountering lies and excuses along the way. In the end, Rabbit gets his due and Bear gets his hat back. And although none of the behavior is commendable, it does teach the lesson that there are consequences to our actions—so don’t mess with something big enough to eat you.
It’s a breath of fresh air in a world obsessed with sheltering our children from anything that we might consider scary, lest we forget the power and charm of Grimm’s fairytales.
3) The ridiculous. Lastly, I love a story that is so wacky that it keeps me laughing at the absurdity. One such book for me is “Stuck” by Oliver Jeffers. Floyd gets his kite stuck in a tree and throws his shoe to try and knock it down. However, the shoe gets stuck. So he throws the other shoe. You guessed it. Stuck. So more items are thrown. A cat. The kitchen sink. And when Floyd finally grabs the ladder he doesn’t climb up it, but throws it up into the tree where it gets stuck.
It’s the ability to just suspend my disbelief and laugh that has me rolling on the floor during this madcap tale.
Every fourth Friday of the month we will be taking a closer look at our funny bones to see what makes us laugh. Most specifically, we will be focusing on humor in picture books. You might be surprised by what we find.
So consider joining in on this exploration of what makes us laugh. And please share in the comments your favorite books that contain “unexpected,” “dark/wicked,” or “ridiculous” humor.
Ha-Ha for now,
Marcie Colleen is a children's book writer living in Brooklyn, NY and a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. She loves running, photography, cooking, playing her guitar and ukelele, and crafts. Marcie also has her own blog The Write Routine at http://writeroutine.blogspot.com/ where she shares all sorts of helpful writerly stuff, and another site http://www.thisismarciecolleen.com/ where she writes brilliant curriculum guides for children's book authors.
Meet the Friday Blogonauts
First Fridays will feature Bryan Patrick Avery, published writer , man of mystery, and professional magician among other things.
Second Fridays will feature awesome multi-award winning author Marsha Diane Arnold who will be writing about character-driven and/or nature-based books and/or anything she likes :)
Third Fridays will feature independent Aladdin/Simon & Shuster editor Emma Sector who has helped bring many books into the world.
Fourth Fridays will feature the great Christine Taylor-Butler who has published over 70 award-winning fiction and non-fiction and nonfiction books including the acclaimed new middle grade series - The Lost Tribes.
Fifth Fridays will feature the fabulous Carl Angel award-winning multi-published Illustrator and graphic designer.
Join our Tribe
and receive 7 Steps to Creative Happiness, access to free webinars, and lots more!
Your email addresses are always safe and respected with us.
Follow our Blog!