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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: humor, Most Recent at Top [Help]
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1. ZOO DIARY - Thanksgiving - a fowl day for turkeys

In recognition of the up-coming U.S. Thanksgiving holiday.


ZOO DIARY – TURKEY’S DILEMMA

 
SCENE: CITY ZOO

Thanksgiving eve. The zoo denizens are upset with the zoo directorate having not been included in the Thanksgiving celebrations

RAT

Once again, we’re not included in Thanksgiving celebrations

ZEBRA

Did you really expect to? I mean, why should they? Who are we? Merely the tools in which they make money. That’s all - and how do they thank us? Closing the zoo for the day so we can’t even expect extra treats from visitors. This is so typically…human
 
SOUND: GOBBLE-GOBBLE… GOBBLE-GOBBLE….

RAT

What’s that noise?

ZEBRA

Noise? What noise? Are my stripes straight?

RAT

You don’t hear that?

ZEBRA

‘You are magnificent… Those teeth…those sparkling eyes…’

RAT

Maybe if you’d get your face away from that mirror and stop admiring yourself…

ZEBRA

A person has to make sure that he looks good from every angle. Being the sole representative of the zebra specie in this zoo comes with a responsibility. A daily body examination is necessary to ensure that all my black stripes are evenly spaced on my perfectly white skin. ‘Yesssss! Perfection personified!’

RAT

Far be it to burst your bubble, Zeeb…

ZEBRA

…I am not zeeb - or zebby - or zeeby-baby. I’m a zebra. Z-E-B-R-A!

RAT

Gotcha Zebby-boy – like I was sayin’ – the way that I see it, the stripe on your upper right leg doesn’t well…match the left

ZEBRA

What?! You must be mistaken. It’s not possible… How could this be? I just checked it not two minutes ago and it was perfectly aligned

(MANNY, the boa constrictor slithers in)

Hey – how ‘ya doin’?

RAT

Manny – you’re out. Free. Did you eat lunch, yet?

ZEBRA

Yes Manny – I do hope they’ve fed you some nourishment. I mean, it’s important to keep up your strength. We don’t want you slithering around hungry looking for anybody, heh-heh…

RAT

That’s the last thing we need - being that we’re your friends and all - that is to say, we don’t want you to experience hunger pangs…

MANNY

As I remember, I had a nibble a month ago but no in between snacks since then. Sure is quiet around here. No humans to knock on the glass of my enclosure. One day...one sweet day...someone is gonna hit hard enough to break the glass and they'll find out why my knick-name is Mr. Squeeze

NOISE: GOBBLE-GOBBLE  GOBBLE-GOBBLE…

RAT

There it is again. Sounds familiar-like

(a turkey suddenly drops down from a tree)

TURKEY

Save me!

ZEBRA

A tree chicken. How unique. 

TURKEY

I am a turkey who requires sanctuary

RAT

Listen chicken sweetheart…

TURKEY

…turkey…I am – um – an endangered specie. Yes – that’s it - and am declaring myself on the extinct list thus requiring sanctuary

ZEBRA

You must be someone important judging by your extensive vocabulary. All cultured and important species have an extensive vocabulary – and a beautiful body, of course (zebra looks at himself in the mirror) You handsome fool!

 TURKEY

I am very important. In fact, I can state with absolute knowledge that I am number one on everyone’s hit list, today

MANNY
(slithering closer)

Well I for one, believe you. You do look very appealing – in an endangered species way of course

RAT

Wish we could help, turkey, but we live out in the open with nowhere to hide

ZEBRA

I could send a protest letter to the Zoos of America if that could assist you in any way

TURKEY

I am doomed!

MANNY
(slithering almost directly in front of TURKEY)

Well turkey – really feel for you, in the true sense of the word. I just happen to live inside in a huge glass enclosure that has lots of hiding places.  Why don’t you come back to my place and check things out? I live alone and there’s nobody to bother or see us

TURKEY
That’s a very generous offer on your part –

MANNY

-          Manny –

TURKEY

Manny

MANNY

Anything for a friend in need.

(the two start to make their way to MANNY’s place)

(cont’d.) Did anyone ever tell you that you have a beautiful, full body. I bet under all those feathers, you have nice firm flesh

TURKEY

The farmer took good care of me up until before Thanksgiving. You can see for yourself when we get back to your pit.

 MANNY

Oh I intend to

TURKEY

Can I give you a hug?

MANNY

Later…when we’re alone…they’ll be plenty of hugging to go around

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2. I Laughed Until I (fill in the blank): Humor in YA literature

Yesterday, we had a great discussion on #readYAlit Twitter chat about humor in young adult literature.  It's a nebulous genre because humor can mean something completely differently to one person than another. 

Is humor universal?  That was one question that was tackled in our chat.  Genders, experiences, and type of humor are different elements of humor that play an important part in that question.  There is guy humor and there is girl humor.  How each gender approaches it can be wildly different and how authors use it can reflect those differences.  That isn't to say either gender can't read humor that relates more to one than the other...it's just the appeal may lean toward one side more than the other.

And then there's humor that's found in serious books.  One participant wrote that humor is needed in YA literature to balance the realistic lives in fiction that can be dark and dangerous.  I have to be very careful about what I read so that I'm not focused on realistic fiction because of an incident that took places several years ago.  After booktalking, a student mentioned that it was depressing and she wasn't interested in any of them because of the mood I created with the titles I talked about.  And that student was RIGHT....so now I find as many different genres, and include humor in it. 

There are many different places online to find titles about humor that could help out any library and those wanting the "fun" side of YA lit.  If you genrefy, does it have it's own genre or it is part of each major genre (one librarian on the chat had an EXCELLENT answer to that one!)? Would you include humorous titles with those darker novels where humor peeks in every now and then (think John Green)?  Those are questions that I believe are more personal decisions, but the great thing is the exchange of ideas our chat last night held. 

And if you need a title list, never fear!  Here are a few resources you can use:

Ebsco's Novelist of Humorous YA Fiction by Tom Reynolds

YALSA's Genre Guide to Young Adult Humor

Humor in YA Fiction Flowchart

And then there is that often looked over section where you can find MANY humorous titles: Non-fiction (and dewey)!!  Here's my list of non-fiction/dewey I've read that I couldn't help but chuckle and sometimes outright laugh at:


The Stupid Crook Book by Gregory Leland

Cake Wreck: when professional cakes go hilariously wrong by Jen Yates
How They Croaked: the awful ends of the awfully famous by Georgia Bragg
How They Choked: Failures, flops and flaws of the awfully famous by Georgia Bragg
Visit Sunny Chernobyl: And other adventures in the world's most polluted places by Andrew Blackwell
Historical Heartthrobs: 50 timeless crushes from Cleopatra to Camus by Kelly Murphy
I’m Down: A memoir by Mishna Wolff
We Should Hang Out Some Time: Embarrassingly, a true story by Josh Sundquist
Emily the Strange graphic novels by Rob Reger
Happy Bunny Books graphic novels (?) by Jim Benton


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3. Planting "Seeds" - a name is a name is name...

Still making progress with "Seeds" but there are signs of a slow down, which is par for the course. It's the point where that distressing word, "blocked" begins to seep through  the conscious writing areas of my brain  and plant doubts like, "maybe the story line isn't strong enough" or plant questions that include "do you know where you're going with this?"

Rather than plug away and continue to write as is suggested in writing manuals and advocated by writing professionals, I use this as a time for reflection. Translation: time to take a rest and think about stuff. Important stuff like an analysis of the characters names and whether they match their personalities. The issue of  "Hal" the latest character addition, is on the analysis block. Initially, Hal was "Chuck" and before that he assumed the temporary name of "Steve." Not that there's anything wrong with any of the above-mentioned names but the names had to have a certain mental image to match the dialogue.

The female characters are also under scrutiny including "Sylvia" who was one of the two players in the original short version of "Seeds" Assessing her character strength and longevity involved walks around the neighborhood repeating her name to decide if the name suited her personality. Did receive some suspicious looks from passer-bys but that's goes with the play writing territory. Somehow, "Julie", was never in question and seemed right - so far.

At present I'm thinking as to whether should there be a head pigeon leading the park pigeons into a rebellion and if so, whether she/he should have a name. Further thoughts require a deep study into a strong pigeon name. Perhaps "Mac" or "Xena"..."Sunny" and whether the pigeons should have the ability to communicate to their humans in English or stick strictly to their well-known, "brrpps."

It's always a good thing to have one's writing priorities in the right place.


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4. New Voices: Jonah Lisa Dyer and Stephen Dyer on The Season

By Cynthia Leitich Smith
for Cynsations

Jonah Lisa Dyer and Stephen Dyer are the first-time authors of The Season (Viking, 2016). From the promotional copy:


She can score a goal, do sixty box jumps in a row, bench press a hundred and fifty pounds…but can she learn to curtsy?

Megan McKnight is a soccer star with Olympic dreams, a history major, an expert at the three Rs of Texas (readin’, ridin’, and ropin’), but she’s not a girly girl. 

So when her Southern belle mother secretly enters her as a debutante for the 2016 deb season in their hometown of Dallas, she’s furious—and has no idea what she’s in for. 

When Megan’s attitude gets her on probation with the mother hen of the debs, she’s got a month to prove she can ballroom dance, display impeccable manners, and curtsey like a proper Texas lady or she’ll get the boot and disgrace her family. 

The perk of being a debutante, of course, is going to parties, and it’s at one of these lavish affairs where Megan gets swept off her feet by the debonair and down-to-earth Hank Waterhouse. 

If only she didn’t have to contend with a backstabbing blonde and her handsome but surly billionaire boyfriend, Megan thinks, being a deb might not be so bad after all. But that’s before she humiliates herself in front of a room full of ten-year-olds, becomes embroiled in a media-frenzy scandal, and gets punched in the face by another girl.

The season has officially begun…but the drama is just getting started.

How did you discover and get to know your protagonist? How about your secondary characters? Your antagonist?

The Season is a modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen set in Texas in 2016 so our main character, Megan McKnight, is based on Elizabeth Bennet.

 We really examined that classic, well-loved character and asked ourselves: What traits make her who she is? What makes her the woman Mr. Darcy falls in love with? The woman we all fall in love with?

We literally made a list of important traits: Brash, forms strong opinions, speaks her mind, loves to read, more physically active than other women, witty, fiercely loyal, loves the outdoors, isn't as interested in men as other young women her age, her singularity. Things like that. Then we tried to imagine what a modern young woman, who embodied all those traits, would be like.

We decided she'd be a history major and an athlete and we chose soccer as her sport. She'd be the kind of girl dedicated to practicing and playing even if it meant she was a little intimidating to guys and didn't have much time for dating. She'd be more interested in fueling her body for athletics than in fitting into a size two. She'd throw her hair in a ponytail, put on some Chapstick and pull on track shorts rather than care about makeup and fashion. She'd be funny and snarky, but so much so that it would get her into trouble sometimes. She'd be more loyal to her sister and her teammates than to any guy.

And also, like Elizabeth Bennet, she'd have no idea how to be coy. While other girls (like her sister) might hide their feelings, she just wouldn't be capable of keeping her opinions to herself.

As you can see, we had a really strong blueprint to build our main character from, which is a wonderful. But the kinds of questions we were focused on are no different when you're creating a character from scratch.

I think the most helpful thing with any character is to know where you want them to end up. What lesson must they learn by the end? If the lesson, as in the case of Elizabeth Bennet and our Megan McKnight, is to not form knee-jerk opinions about things, then you better start that character as far away from that point as realistically possible. You have to allow every character, not just your protagonist, room to grow, and change.

A book is not a journey for the reader if it's not a journey for the characters.

And so, the same method applies to all our secondary characters as well. We found modern ways for them to embody the traditional Austen characters' traits. Our Mrs. Bennet is a social climber trying to set he daughters up for success, our Jane Bennet is the embodiment of the perfect young woman, albeit a contemporary one, and our Mr. Darcy is proud and aloof.

Real people always play a role in characterizations, too. Sometimes we think of certain real people that we know or even famous people to help us envision a certain character. I've always found it easier to describe a setting if I've seen it, and the same holds true for people.

 Of course, you always add and take away from reality when you're creating fiction, but you often end up with characters who are an amalgamation of people who really exist.

As a comedic writer, how do you decide what's funny? What advice do you have for those interested in either writing comedies or books with a substantial amount of humor in them?

Writing comedy is so hard. Humor is in the eye of the beholder and because of this, and perhaps more all other types of writing, it cannot be done in a vacuum.

Like most things having to do with writing, it starts with observation. You know what you think is funny to you and your friends. Start there. Make notes. Have little booklets full of funny conversations you'd had and witty things you've said. Research isn't just dry reading about some place you've never been or some historical period. Research is about watching human behavior, listening to speech patterns, and being tuned in to what makes people laugh.

Stephen and I have the benefit of having each other. But we had already been together for seven years when we accidentally discovered that we were good writing partners.

I was an actress and was starting to do stand-up comedy in New York City. I was writing my stand-up material and would try things out on him at home in the evenings. He was my sounding board and was almost always able to build on what I had, and make it better.

We started working on all my material together, cracking each other up in the process. It's a really good example of how having a someone to be your sounding board is so important with comedy.

Maybe that's why sitcoms and "Saturday Night Live" fill hire six-to-fifteen writers who work together or why so many of the old screwball comedies were penned by a two-person writing team.

But even if you don't use a partner to write comedy, you got to find that person or people to give you a gut-check.

To answer the most important question: Is this funny to anyone besides me?

So whether it's your best friend, or an online writing group, or just one other writer who understands your genre, find those Beta Readers.

And if they are good, be good to them. If you can't offer a quid pro quo of also reading their work, then small gifts are a really nice way of saying thank you and keeping them in your corner.

The other important factor in writing comedy is just to do it, and do it often. Your funny bone isn't a bone at all, its a muscle!

Okay, it's really a nerve but that doesn't fit into my metaphor so just go with me. The point is, if you want it to be strong, you have to exercise it! The funnier you are, the funnier you will be. I have never been funnier than when I was doing stand-up because I was doing it every day. My mind was just set to that channel!

If you are writing a comedic piece, you need to immerse yourself in comedy. Hang out with your funny friends! Watch funny shows and movies. Go to a comedy club.

Basically, put yourself in a funny world so you have something to play/write off of.

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5. Comedy in Picture Books

There are several time-honored ways to create a funny picture book.

https://www.theguardian.com/childrens-books-site/gallery/2016/jun/29/comedy-in-picture-books-how-its-done-in-pictures

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6. Happy Feline Friday! Why am I always the first to arrive for band practice?

Happy Feline Friday! Feline Friday is a Kitty meme I found on my buddy Sandee of, Comedy Plus'  blog and Sandee discovered on her buddy Steve of  Burnt Food Dude's,  blog, which is where the meme originated.  -Us bloggers "pay it forward." -

Why am I always the first to arrive for band practice?



Feline Friday is a fun meme that is easy to join. All you have to do is post a silly or cute picture, video, or cartoon of a kitty Cat, perhaps your own. Then, paste a copy of the link to your post to Mister Linky's link list. The code for the link is available on Comedy Plus and Burnt Food Dude. (Just click on the links above for both blogs.)

I'm not sure why, but I couldn't add the link list...:(  Although, luckily you can find it on Burnt Food Dude or Comedy Plus. This is the first time I've had a problem with it, and I'm so sorry.)


     In any event, have a happy, fun, and worry-free day!
    And thank you for stopping by A Nice Place In The Sun.







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7. Wordless Wednesday!



Hey, it's Wordless Wednesday, one of my favorite memes that I discovered on Comedy Plus, one of my favorite blogs. Wordless Wednesday is fun and a great way to meet new friends. If you wish to participate just publish a photo that conveys a message without using any words.

After you've posted your photo add your name to the link list on Sandee's blog, (Comedy Plus) where you can also copy the Mister Linky's Code and paste it below your photo.
Have fun and thank you for visiting A Nice Place In The Sun.







Thanks, again for visiting, I appreciate you. :)

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8. Shh! We Have a Plan by Chris Haughton

Shh! We Have a Plan by Chris Haughton

| Storytime Standouts

Shh! We Have a Plan written and illustrated by Chris Haughton

Shh! We Have a Plan by Chris Haughton
Picture book published by Candlewick Press

When four friends, armed with three nets, set out to capture a beautiful, red-plumed bird, all goes well until the smallest friend alerts the the ruby bird that something is afoot. Giggles and laughter will accompany a read-aloud session of Shh! We Have a Plan. This is a book that will appeal to children – especially “youngest” children – as well as adults. The repetitive text will have youngsters ‘reading along’ quickly and repeated building of suspense will encourage children to make predictions about whats will happen next and the final outcome.

Bright, bold, dramatic illustrations are a highlight of this captivating, humorous picture book. A key to the storytelling, observant readers will note the eyes and the posture of the smallest friend in the cover art – he is definitely up to something!

Shh! We Have a Plan is the sort of story that parents and teachers will quite happily read again and again. It is great fun!

Chris Haughton won the 2015 Ezra Jack Keats Book Award

for new illustrator with this picture book. The Ezra Jack Keats Book Award for Illustration was established in 2001 to recognize and encourage emerging talent in the field of children’s book illustration.

Shh! We Have a Plan at Amazon.com

Shh! We Have a Plan at Amazon.ca



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    9. I Found a box of Parrots on my doorstep.

    A big box of shiny new books landed on my doorstep. Memoirs of a Parrot is the fourth "memoir" book, written by the very talented Devin Scillian and published by Sleeping Bear Press.

    "Yay, new books!"

    When I read that a parrot would be the main character, I had to choose an African Grey parrot. I have fond childhood memories of my grandpa and his African Grey, named Chico. I chose a Hyacinth Macaw as the other parrot in the story. Mostly because of the color. I live in Ohio and Devin Scillian lives in Michigan, so it just made sense to use Ohio State (scarlet and grey) and Michigan colors (maze and blue). Plus, my wife's family is from the state up north (we're a "blended" family).

    A drawing that I did in High School of my grandpa and his parrot, Chico.

    Also, the main character (human) in the story plays a ukulele. I said, "hmmm, I need to get a ukulele (as reference) and begin my career as a ukulele rock star". Then I met Emily Arrow, a true ukulele rock star, so I bought one. Now I need to start practicing my ukulele licks.

    "Hey, I think that I need a ukulele."


    Anyway, you must take a look at Memoirs of a Parrot. It's got parrots, ukulele players and a very funny story.

    End papers from Memoirs of a Parrot.

    Thank you, Heather Hughes, Felicia Macheske and Sleeping Bear Press

    Now, back to the drawing board. -Tim

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    10. Hot Topic’s BoxLunch Brand Butterbeer Kit & Give Away!

    As many fans may know, Hot Topic has been a Harry Potter partner for eons. Okay, maybe not eons, but they have been a place for fans to purchase official Harry Potter merchandise since Harry Potter became a “hot topic” many years ago.

    Recently, Hot Topic has started a new brand and initiative called BoxLunch. With only a handful of stores around California and Texas (though, more are coming soon!), Hot Topic’s new brand caters to a slightly different audience than their normal Hot Topic stores. BoxLunch sells similar pop culture merchandise as their Hot Topic parent, but through a partnership with Feeding America, with every $10 a customer spends, BoxLunch helps provide a meal to a person in need.

    If there isn’t a store near you, visit the BoxLunch website and “get some–give some.” BoxLunch sells men and women’s apparel, accessories, home decorations, Funko Pop! figures, and more.

    To support HotTopic with their new initiative, Leaky is taking part in a BoxLunch give away! Hot Topic and BoxLunch has generously donated a Marauder’s Map trow pillow, Deathly Hallows mini bag, and a $50 gift card! To be put in the running to win one of these fantastic Harry Potter prizes, be the first to answer the following questions correctly. Honesty Policy: try to answer all the questions without cheating–like googling the answers all the questions. Email your answers to catherine@the-leaky-cauldron.org.

     

    1. Who causes the most mischief at Hogwarts School of Witch Craft and Wizardry?

    2. Not completely without loyalty, to which two students did [Answer to Question 1] show respect for during Dolores Umbridge’s attempt to control Hogwarts? (“Give her hell from us…”)

    3. What is a Skiving Snackbox? What four types of candies are included?

    4. What trick did the Weasley Twins play on their Auntie Muriel that got them written out of her will?

    5. What product does the following slogan belong to? “Ruin a gentleman’s day by making his hat fly away!”

    6. What is the “Dungbom Rule” that Ron wrote? In which of Harry’s textbooks did he write it?

    7. What candy did the Weasley Twins drop for Dudley to eat, and what was the affect?

    8. What trick did Harry, Ron, and Hermione play on Crab and Goyle in their quest for Polyjuice Potion ingredients?

    9. What spell did Draco use to capture Harry when the Inquisitorial Squad captured members of Dumbledore’s Army?

    10. What did Peeves chase Dolores Umbridge with as she fled Hogwarts?

     

    In the meantime! Miss tasting that yummy Butterbeer at the Harry Potter parks? Or can’t go to the parks because they are too far away? Check out BoxLunches new, and available for a limited time only, Butterbeer kit!

    More information on purchasing a Butterbeer kit can be found here, on the BoxLunch website.

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    11. BoxLunch Store’s Butterbeer Kit & Give Away!

    There is another Harry Potter publishing and merchandising partner coming to brick and mortar stores across the country!

    BoxLunch is here to “get some” and “give some”. With only a handful of stores around California and Texas (though, more are coming soon!), the new store caters to a slightly different audience than other Harry Potter merchandise retailers. BoxLunch sells similar pop culture merchandise as seen in other stores, but also, through a partnership with Feeding America, with every $10 a customer spends, BoxLunch helps provide a meal to a person in need.

    If there isn’t a store near you, visit the BoxLunch website and “get some–give some.” BoxLunch sells men and women’s apparel, accessories, home decorations, Funko Pop! figures, and more.

    Screen Shot 2016-04-01 at 11.12.47 AM

    To support BoxLunch and their new initiative, Leaky is taking part in a BoxLunch give away! BoxLunch has generously donated a Marauder’s Map trow pillow, Deathly Hallows mini bag, and a $50 gift card! To be put in the running to win one of these fantastic Harry Potter prizes, be the first to answer the following questions correctly. Honesty Policy: try to answer all the questions without cheating–like googling the answers all the questions. Also, please retweet or repost BoxLunch’s post about their new Butterbeer kit (see below)! Email your answers and links to your retweets/reposts to catherine@the-leaky-cauldron.org.

     

    1. Who causes the most mischief at Hogwarts School of Witch Craft and Wizardry?

    2. Not completely without loyalty, to which two students did [Answer to Question 1] show respect for during Dolores Umbridge’s attempt to control Hogwarts? (“Give her hell from us…”)

    3. What is a Skiving Snackbox? What four types of candies are included?

    4. What trick did the Weasley Twins play on their Auntie Muriel that got them written out of her will?

    5. What product does the following slogan belong to? “Ruin a gentleman’s day by making his hat fly away!”

    6. What is the “Dungbom Rule” that Ron wrote? In which of Harry’s textbooks did he write it?

    7. What candy did the Weasley Twins drop for Dudley to eat, and what was the affect?

    8. What trick did Harry, Ron, and Hermione play on Crab and Goyle in their quest for Polyjuice Potion ingredients?

    9. What spell did Draco use to capture Harry when the Inquisitorial Squad captured members of Dumbledore’s Army?

    10. What did Peeves chase Dolores Umbridge with as she fled Hogwarts?

     

    In the meantime! Miss tasting that yummy Butterbeer at the Harry Potter parks? Or can’t go to the parks because they are too far away? Check out BoxLunches new, and available for a limited time only, Butterbeer kit!

    More information on purchasing a Butterbeer kit can be found here, on the BoxLunch website.

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    12. #839 – Jacky Ha-Ha by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein

    Jacky Ha-Ha Written by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein Illustrated by Kerascoёt* Jimmy Patterson Books    3/21/2016 978-0-316-26249-1 380 pages    Ages 8—12 “Hey, bet I can make you laugh! “With a name like Jacky Ha-Ha, that’s what I was born to do! You could say I am an expert on wisecracks, pranks, gags, and …

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    13. There Was An Old Dragon Who Swallowed a Knight

    There Was An Old Dragon Who Swallowed a Knight. Penny Parker Klostermann. Illustrated by Ben Mantle. 2015. Random House. 40 pages. [Source: Library]

    First sentence: There was an old dragon who swallowed a knight. I don't know why he swallowed the knight. It's not polite! There was an old dragon who swallowed a steed that galloped around at a terrible speed. Oh, how the dragon wished it would stop, that clippity, clippity, clippity clop. He swallowed the steed right after the knight. I don't know why he swallowed the knight. It's not polite!

    Premise/plot: A rendition of "There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly" starring a fire-breathing dragon...

    My thoughts: For the record, I just have to say that I loathe "There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly." It is not a story or song that I particularly enjoy, and definitely not one that I like to see copied, adapted, parodied endlessly by other writers. But you might notice the five stars I gave it. Why? If I don't "like" the original, and if I usually don't like other renditions?! Because this one is fun, lively, and delightful. Half the book focuses on the 'old dragon' swallowing stuff--a knight, a steed, a squire, a cook, etc--and half the book focuses on the 'old dragon' burping all that stuff back up. Or does he?!

    The text works--for me--because the rhythm and rhyme of it work. It is crucial for me to have it; it is that certain something that makes a book decidedly good. A picture book without a proper working of rhythm and rhyme, a natural flow--though not overly forced or it becomes embarrassingly unnatural and awkward--is just sad. A good picture book text should flow naturally enough that any one should be able to read it aloud easily and comfortably. Some books require a good amount of practice and experimentation and energetic effort to get the "reading aloud" just right.

    The illustrations also work well for me. I love them. The illustrations were quite detailed and expressive. I loved the last spread.

    Overall, I'd say this one was quite satisfying.

    Text: 5 out of 5
    Illustrations: 5 out of 5
    Total: 10 out of 10

    © 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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    14. How To Dress A Dragon

    How To Dress A Dragon. Thelma Lynne Godin. Illustrated by Eric Barclay. 2016. Scholastic. 40 pages. [Source: Review copy]

    First sentence: If you have to dress a dragon, you must be prepared to catch him as he flies by. You may have to tickle-tackle him to the floor and give him belly kisses.

    Premise/plot: A boy demonstrates for readers HOW to dress a dragon. It isn't an easy task certainly!!!! The book is quite informative. Dragons LOVE underwear, but, hate shirts and pants. (Good thing they like capes, shorts, and hats!)

    My thoughts: I love, love, love this one. So silly. So funny. So quirky. (Its endpapers are underwear!) It just had me at hello from the very start. I think I "knew" how good this one would be based on the cover alone.

    Text: 5 out of 5
    Illustrations: 5 out of 5
    Total: 10 out of 10


    © 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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    15. Dexter, My First Crush...Do You Remember Your First Crush?





    Hello, and welcome to Tuesday's Question. I have a Doctor appointment out of town today, so if I do not respond to your answers today, I most certainly will tomorrow.  Thank you, Sandee of Comedy Plus for you wonderful answer to last Tuesday's Question and thank you Ann of Snap, Edit, Scrap.   for yours.

    Please, if you have the time, read Sandee and Ann's answers to Sibling Rivalry they're simply fabulous and thanks to both of you for participating. I appreciate you.

    Okay, this weeks question is:  

    Do you remember your first crush?   Alright, I'll go first...

    My first crush was on a boy named Dexter who sat next to me in the third grade and he was fascinating. Dexter had action figures hidden in his desk and maps he drew of oceans, rivers, mountains and streams.                                                                                                                                                                                        


    I loved it when our classroom was full, because I could pull my desk close to him and ask him questions, although he never answered me.                                                        

    He smelled like nickels and could draw Charlie Brown as well as Charles Schulz from the Peanuts cartoon. - Or, at least, I thought he could.-

    I think he drew Charlie Brown because our third grade teacher's voice was reminiscent of the adult voices in the Peanuts television specials, but to me all teachers sounded the same. My teachers shared the muffled inflections of grown-ups, "bloc, bloc, bloc, bloc...with a "Good morning children, you sure look bright-eyed and bushy tailed today."-An introduction that made me feel like like a rabbit.-

    Our teacher's name was Mrs. Keysler, and she wore cat-eyed sixties style glasses with a chain that jiggled when she walked, so she could clear a path for herself down a crowded hallway of children- Mrs. Keysler had power.-

    I drove poor Dexter crazy most of the year, but he was a good sport, because if the tables were turned,  I would have requested a different desk.  But, he had a way of ignoring people, especially me. I asked him stuff like, "

    "What did you have for breakfast today?"

    He responded by looking at me like he wished I would miss a day of school. So, I finally quit trying to talk to him, although I still stared at him like a starving wolf would glare at a loaf of bread.

    Ordinarily, I couldn't take my eyes off Dexter, but one day he brought stiff competition. Dexter's brought a new whistle to school and it wasn't one of those toy whistles you get in a Cracker Jack box... no siree, Dexter's whistle was A + silver army grade whistle, and I was fascinated by it.

    He noticed me staring at it resting on the corner of his desk by his drawing pad, and to my surprise, he quietly picked it up and placed it in my hand, while Mrs. Keysler continued speaking in the background, bloc, beep, beep, bloc, blah…

    Anyway, I was holding the whistle Dexter put in my hand, plus, I was sitting close enough to him to touch his copper colored hair. I was in a trance, all of this was simply too much. So, I turned the whistle over in my hand, put it in my mouth, and blew it so hard a blast echoed forth like a trumpet.

    Every student shook their heads and covered their ears. The floor in the classroom felt like it bounced beneath the surface of the earth and hung there. -Which was followed by a few seconds of stinging silence.-

    Then, the mixed voices of my classmates began to fill the emptiness and they were all too eager to began pointing their index fingers toward the criminal. 

    That finger pointing thing, is such an annoying tactic among tattlers, whose goal in life is to retire as the teachers pet. I face felt hot from the stares, as the little self-serving informants fingers continued to point in my direction. I heard one little girl cry, “Oh, she is soo dumb!” and of course, I sat there horrified; my face flushed with humiliation.

    Humiliation is just one of an array of emotions I associate with the day I blew Dexter's whistle; it's also one of those funny to me now, not so funny then, experiences especially since my teacher made me stand in the back of the classroom the rest of the day with my back turned toward the wall.

    After that, Dexter looked at me with a cautious look for the rest of the school year and the girl who called me “sooo dumb” turned out to be one of my closest friends, years later.

    We never know what our children are going through in a day, or much, if anything, about their first crushes.

    My mother thinks to this day that I just blew a whistle in the middle of class for absolutely no reason that she can phantom. Do you know who your children are thinking about today?



    Mrs. Keyster




    Mrs. Keysters Third Grade Class

    I'm circled in purple, Dexter is in Blue, and the "Oh shes' so dumb friend" is circled in yellow.

    Our Close- ups:

    Me
    "Mean girl/closest friend"



    Dexter









    Thank you for visiting A Nice Place In The Sun. I appreciate it. Have a great day!

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    16. Happy Feline Friday!

    Happy Feline Friday! Steve of Burnt Food Dude started Feline Friday. A fun meme that is simple to join and fun to post.

    All you have to do is post a picture, drawing, cartoon, or video of a cat, then visit Steve's blog, go to the top of the menu bar and click on the Feline Friday Code.    
    Paste the code under your cat picture, add you name and link and join in the fun. It's a great way to meet other bloggers and see a variety of adorable cats and kittens being themselves. You can even post a photo of your own feline when he/she is not looking. :) Have a spectacular day! 




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    17. Skinnybones

    Skinnybones. Barbara Park. 1982/2016. 111 pages. [Source: Review copy]

    Did I enjoy reading Barbara Park's Skinnybones, a middle grade novel originally published in 1982? Yes and no. First, as is obvious, I am not the target audience for this one. I am not in elementary school. I am not a boy. My sense of humor isn't that of a sixth grade boy. Also, I have absolutely no interest in baseball, or, in reading books about baseball. I didn't exactly want to like Alex Frankovitch, the hero nicknamed Skinnybones. But. At times I found myself liking him despite his obnoxious, attention-seeking ways.

    Here are a few things you should know about Alex:

    1) He has played little league for a good many years, but, he is horrible, absolutely horrible at baseball. I'm not sure *why* he keeps playing baseball when he's so bad at it. Perhaps he *likes* playing baseball, or, maybe he likes being part of a team. Perhaps his parents make him stay in baseball. Maybe he's afraid that by not playing baseball the other boys will think him strange, different, etc.

    2) He loves, loves, loves attention. If he can focus the attention in on himself and make others laugh, then, he'll do it--no matter the situation. He can be very inappropriate, very loud, very annoying. The kids sometime laugh, usually laugh, his teachers and parents--hardly ever.

    3) He hates one of his classmates and is in fierce competition with him. This is the focus of 90% of this book. The other kid, of course, is BRILLIANT at baseball.

    I am glad there are books like Skinnybones being published--or republished. I am happy to recommend books like this to their target audience!
    © 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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    18. Join Tara Lazar and S.britt Bantering About Normal Norman

    Picture book extraordinaire Tara Lazar and the frightfully creative S. Britt interview each other about Normal Norman (Sterling Children's Books, 2016), a laugh-out-loud book that explores the meaning of normal through the study of an exceptionally strange orangutan.

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    19. Awww Mondays

    Every Monday, Sandee of Comedy Plus  hosts, "Awww Mondays", a fun meme where all you have to do is post a picture that makes you say, "Awww" It's a great way to begin a new week and meet new friends.

    So, be sure to join us by posting your own "Awww Mondays" photo and adding your link to Sandee's post on Comedy Plus. 

    Oh, and here's the link to the Awww Mondays code  which is also listed on Comedy Plus along with a fabulous photo. Just paste the code under your post.

    The following picture is my contribution:








    Have a happy day and thank you for visiting A Nice Place In The Sun.  

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    20. This weird thing about time racing past

    Chatting with a friend just now made me think: I am older than I expected to get. 
    When I was a teen looking forward to the millennium change in 1999 I was disappointed that I'd be an old lady, barely able to enjoy it. The millennium change was 17 years ago. I enjoyed it JUST FINE. Ahem. 

    What would my teen self think of me now? 
    She wouldn't approve of my short hair or my body, but she'd like my studio and work. 
    She'd want to be friends with my kids. 
    She would think today's Charlie is a nice old guy, and the Charlie I fell in love with in 1980 was romantic. 
    She'd like my dogs. 
    She'd think it's weird that I eat vegetables for breakfast. 

    She'd think it's cool but not groovy that I became friends with my siblings, 

    that I have so many good friends in my life today, 
    and that I'm this happy. 
    All of this makes me plan what I'll be like in 2046. 
    I'd better not disappoint me.

    Have you entertained your 17 year old self lately? 

    Or your 87 year old self?

    This is a page from my sketch-journal when I was 17.

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    21. I Resemble A Mouse On My Birthday


    Hello, is anyone there? I resemble the mouse in this image today. This past week, I've been in bed nursing a sinus infection and watching the ceiling swirl.  

    I think my bed is floating across the room, but I can barely lift my eye lids, so I'm not sure.

    The middle of my nose has grown an inch or two, my forehead resembles Frankenstein's, my eyes are droopy and red...I'm sorry, I'm sure you can relate, after all, I'm not the only person who has suffered from a sinus infection, it's just that viruses love me so much they overstay their visit.

    And, you know what? Today is my birthday. Yes, I'm thirty years old today. (A lie)
    Yes, I lived through my tender years and now it's time to celebrate.  I'm not going to let this virus stop me...No-Sir-Ree-Bob, not me, I'm getting out of bed so that I can resemble the image below instead...






     Then, get back in my bed...


    In closing, I want to thank everyone who participated in Tuesday's Question last week and let you know I will post your links and answers this coming Tuesday.

    Plus, I want to thank my loyal readers -you know who you are- for your patience while I was away. My cat, Simon will not post for me when I feel bad or I'm working offline, so I beg your pardon, and again, I appreciate you.

    Thanks for visiting and reading A Nice Place In The Sun.

    More posts coming soon...Cheers!







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    22. Us and Books: We Ship It...

    This year AF and I were on the same judging panel - which has never happened before! There were some really interesting finalists this year; do stay tuned to find out what we - and the rest of our hep cat crew - chose for the YA Speculative Fiction... Read the rest of this post

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    23. Turning Pages Reads: HOLDING COURT by K.C. Held

    Welcome to another session of Turning Pages! Synopsis: Sixteen-year-old Jules Verity - whose last name does indeed mean "truth" can't stop herself from blurting the truth. All of it. All the time. The weird thing is, though, that she can't exactly... Read the rest of this post

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    24. The Little Mouse Santi, by David Eugene Ray | Dedicated Review

    The Little Mouse Santi is an inspiring tale that teaches us that, with a little courage, we can all be whoever we want to be. It’s definitely the cat’s meow!

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    25. McBroom's Wonderful One-Acre Farm

    McBroom's Wonderful One-Acre Farm: Three Tall Tales. Sid Fleischman. Illustrated by Quentin Blake. 1985/1997. 64 pages. [Source: Bought]

    This early chapter book features three "tall tales" by Sid Fleischman. The three tall tales are "McBroom Tells the Truth," "McBroom and the Big Wind," and "McBroom's Ear." Here's how the first story begins: "There has been so much tomfool nonsense told about McBroom's wonderful one-acre farm that I had better set matters straight. I'm McBroom. Josh McBroom. I'll explain about the watermelons in a minute." I don't know about you, but this one had me at hello. I got the impression that the book would be funny and charming and quirky and unique. I wasn't wrong either!

    The first story explains how the McBroom family came to own a "one-acre farm." He bought, or thought he was buying EIGHTY acres. But he was tricked into buying an 80-acre deep bog. But the joke isn't on him, for as luck would have it, a "dry spell" reveals that the topsoil is so rich, it should be kept in a bank. All three stories focus on how wonderful-and-magical this farm is.

    I really loved all three stories. This one is a great book to share with young readers.


    © 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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