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1. Saturday book humor and Father's Day favorites

Here's a little fun for the day and two great dad books.

If you're on Twitter: In honor of Father's Day, Barnes and Noble @bnbuzz  is using the hashtag #DadBooks to solicit groan-worthy puns and corny dad jokes based on well-known books. Be sure to check it out or join in the pun. 

Here are a few (with links to their posts):
Oh, the Places You'll Mow
The Girl Who's Certainly not Getting a Dragon Tattoo
Gone Grill
 If you're on Pinterest, check out my board, "Comic strips featuring books."  I've been collecting comic strips that feature books and libraries for the last several years. If you have a good comic strip that I've missed, please feel free to send it to me and I'll pin it.

And lastly, since Father's Day is tomorrow, I'll share two of my favorite "dad" picture books.

  •  My Dad by Anthony Browne (Macmillan, 2010) is a funny, homage to the classic jack-of-all-trades kind of dad.  On each page, tribute is paid to the bathrobe-clad dad's many great qualities. The illustrations are wonderful - even as he is depicted as a fish or an owl, he retains his brown, plaid bathrobe.  You can see them here [http://us.macmillan.com/mydad/AnthonyBrowne].

  • Tell Me a Tattoo Story by Alison McGhee and illustrated by Eliza Wheeler (Chronicle, 2016) is lovingly written and illustrated.  A young tattooed dad weaves a tale for his son using his tattoos.  A sweet story that should appeal to many young families.

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2. Picture Book Roundup - Darkly Funny Picture Books

A selection of darkly funny, mostly cautionary picture books.

 Share these funny gems with slightly older listeners who have a sense of humor; but spare your very timid or gentle-hearted ones - happily-ever-after is not guaranteed in these tales of comeuppance, justice served, just desserts, and cautionary advice.

If you're unable to view the slide show, visit it on Riffle Books [ https://www.rifflebooks.com/list/206136] where I occasionally create themed slide shows.

Books included in the list:

  • A Hungry Lion, Or a Dwindling Assortment of Animals by Lucy Ruth Cummins 
  • How to be Famous by Michal Shaley 
  • Everyone Love Bacon by Kelly DiPucchio 
  • Jim: Who Ran Away from his Nurse and Was Eaten by a Lion by HIlaire Belloc 
  • This is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen
  • I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen 
  • The Book that Eats People by John Perry

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3. Picture Book Roundup - kind, find, and confined

It's been a while since I've done a picture book roundup.  Here are three that struck my fancy:

Kind. This boy is the best!

Have you seen Elephant? 

Written and illustrated by David Barrow.
Gecko Press, 2016

A kind young boy plays hide-and-seek with his elephant friend and takes care to keep the game going, despite the fact that his friend is a very poor hider! Have you seen Elephant? is bright and cheerful and funny, and above all - kind. This is the first book I've seen from Gecko Press and the first by David Barrow. I love it!





Confined? Can the colortamer catch them all?

Swatch: The Girl Who Loved Color

Written and illustrated by Julia Denos
Balzer Bray, 2016

Bright, bold, and expressive, Swatch is a color tamer - trapping and using colors in the most fantastic of ways. A bold and fearless artist, no color had escaped her artistic eye ... no color but one,
"Morning came, and there it was, fast fading and fierce, the King of All Yellows, blooming in the sidewalk crack in spite of the shadows. Swatch was ready .... At last, Yellowest Yellow would be hers."
Or would it?

This is the first book that Julia Denos has written as well as illustrated. I would love this book even if my favorite color were not the hero of the story!


Find. Where is that cat?

Spot, the Cat 

Illustrated by Henry Cole
Little Simon, 2016

A beautifully detailed, wordless book - more than just a seek-and-find, it follows the path of an adventurous cat in the city and the boy who wants to find him. Join the young boy and search the city for Spot, the cat.


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4. Whatchu Worrying About, Book Nerd?

By Becca... BOOKISH WORRYING 1. To go out at night or stay home and read I don't know about you guys, but this is something I constantly worry about. I get asked to go doing something mundane, but but but this book that I'm reading is so good. I need to finish it like ASAP. I NEED TO KNOW WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN!! If I go out, all I'm going to be doing the whole time is

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5. Movie Theater to Be Given to Essay Contest Winner

Temple (GalleyCat)Michael D. Hurley, the owner of the Temple Theatre, is hosting an essay contest. This Maine-based businessman will award his 98-year-old movie theater to the winner.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, each participant must send in a 250-word piece and a $100 submission fee. The deadline has been set for Jan. 31. Click here to read all the rules.

Here’s more from Mashable: “Hurley is accepting a minimum of 3500 entries, so he’ll collect the theater’s asking price. But don’t worry—he’s offering refunds to all participants if he doesn’t receive enough submissions. The competition will be stiff, so start drafting your entry now so you’ll have time to edit and polish a winning piece before the end of January.”

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6. The last word goes to Mo and Dale of Tupelo Landing

I can't let the year end without a shout out to Sheila Turnage's Mo and Dale.  Her latest Mo and Dale Mystery is The Odds of Getting Even (Penguin, 2015).  The Mo and Dale Mystery series is my favorite middle grade series. Each new book is as good as the last.  Each is filled with insightful humor, Southern-style hospitality, and all the eccentricities of small town living. The characters in Sheila Turnage's fictional town of Tupelo Landing, NC, will leave you begging for another chance to visit.

In The Odds of Getting Even, Mo and Dale, a.k.a. The Desperado Detectives, have another case on their hands.  Dale's no-good dad is on the lam and the whole town is on edge.

As usual, the café run by Mo and her "family of choice," the Colonel and Miss Lana, takes current events in stride,

I turned back to the Azalea Women. "Welcome and thank you in advance for your generous tips."  Generous tips equals a flat-out lie, but like Miss Lana says, you don't stop pitching just because nobody's swinging.  I draped a paper napkin over my arm. "Today, our Get Out of Jail Free Delight feature Free-Range Eggs, Potatoes at Large, and Bacon a la Parole.  We also got the Colonel's famous Tofu Incognito--a vegan delight featuring tofu scrambled up to look like somebody else.  A Special runs six dollars and includes a basket of All Rise Biscuits.  May I take your order?"

"Get Out of Jail and coffee," they chorused.  "How's Dale holding up?"

Once again, Sheila Turnage has written a book that deals with a serious topic (a father who is frequently on the wrong side of the law) in a humorous way. As narrator, Mo LoBeau offers up witty, often hilarious dialogue and commentary. There is much homespun wisdom in the the little town of Tupelo Landing.  Here are just a few examples from The Odds of Getting Even:

Mo (on the perceived indignity of wearing hand-me-down clothes):
"Dale's a musician.  He enjoys vintage outfits," ... "Besides, Miss Lana says most everything in life worth having is handed down."

Dale (voicing his opinion to a news reporter):
Your articles make it seem that way.  But a lot of people thinking flat don't change round.
Mo (her take on beauty):
Attila's face would be pretty if she didn't live behind it.
Dale (on "getting even"):
The only even you ever get is inside yourself--when you don't need to get even anymore.


If you haven't read them yet, don't miss the first two Mo and Dale Mystery novels.

Book 1

Three Times Lucky - a link to my review of the audiobook read by Michal Friedman
[http://shelf-employed.blogspot.com/2013/08/three-times-lucky-audiobook-review.html]

Book 2
The Ghost of Tupelo Landing - a link to my review for AudioFile Magazine
[http://www.audiofilemagazine.com/reviews/read/88494/]


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7. Zoo Diary: the zoo denizens get into the holiday spirit

ZOO DIARY

SCENE: A small zoo. Preparing for the holiday performance.

At rise: The residents of the zoo are practicing for the annual holiday performance. It's the last dress rehearsal before the actual production and chaos reigns supreme.

ZEBRA
Hello? Everyone? May I have your attention, please? There is far too much cacophony among the performers. I can't hear myself think! Not you my dear...you embody the true thespian soul

CROW 1
(laughing while watching from a tree)
Uh-oh...zebra says there's too much caca-phony around here. The elephants have been using the toilets, again

CROW 2
(laughing hysterically)
Oh Cyril - you're so witty!

ZEBRA
You mean, witless. Now where were we? Oh yes...we were discussing your acting abilities, my dear.

FEMALE ZEBRA
You think I have talent? My acting coach has offered to give me private lessons

ZEBRA
Would your coach anyone I would know? Perhaps we could work together to maximize your performance

FEMALE ZEBRA
That's a very kind offer but 'CH' swore me to secrecy. He doesn't want the whole world calling him and begging for private tutoring> He's a very private person

ZEBRA
Totally understandable, my dear. Know exactly where he's coming from. I too separate myself from the lesser...well...talent-challenged among us

(ZEBRA admires his frame from all angles, in a full-length mirror)

(cont'd. ZEBRA) 'Perfection!'  (whispering) You can share the name of your acting coach with me. There is a professional code of silence among zebra directors that is adhered to. You said his initials were CH? Hmmmm....not familiar with any coaches with those initials...

FEMALE ZEBRA
He calls himself cheetah

(ZEBRA reacts with horror)

ZEBRA
Cheetah...you did say cheetah? Does this cheetah...would this coach live, perchance, in a cage in this very zoo?

FEMALE ZEBRA
He would! How did you know? He said that his style of coaching requires getting down to the bare bones of acting

ZEBRA
(horrified)
My dear, naïve, zebra! Forget about - um - coach cheetah. I, myself, shall take you on as a client, gratis, and as a cost to myself (aside to himself) ...wait 'til I get my hands on cheetah...' What am I saying? Let's just say, my dear, that his reputation and taste for zebras is well developed. Why don't you go over there in the corner and study your lines

FEMALE ZEBRA
If you say so. "I think I hear Santa!....I think I hear Santa....I think I hear Santa...'

ZEBRA
Okay...actors - places please! Mr. Squeeze - please tear yourself away from rat? We don't want a repeat performance of last year's incident

MR. SQUEEZE
I was just trying to show him some love

RAT
(gasping for breath)
Surrre! Remember the squirrel incident? We lost our Santa Claus on account of you

MR. SQUEEZE
We're good friends! Right rat? Who ever heard of a squirrel playing Santa Claus, anyway?

ZEBRA
(admiring himself in the mirror and fixing his cravat)
'You handsome devil! Your stripes don't do you justice. 'kiss-kiss....' For the record and given our budget, which is half of last year's, which was next to nothing, he was the only one who could fit into the Santa suit. Who will play the old elf this year?

(a chicken jumps down from the branch of a tree)

CHICKEN
I would like to volunteer my services for the cause

MR. SQUEEZE
(slithering up close to chicken)
Great idea! And my contribution will be to offer my help We can go over your lines in my den

ZEBRA
Not! Thank you for your...offer but I'm sure chicken can remember "ho-ho-ho..." Now if you will put on the suit, we can start our rehearsal

CHICKEN
It's a little tight...jacket won't...fit...over my...breast bone...

CHEETAH
Perhaps I can fix that problem ...

MR. SQUEEZE
...my particular qualities can definitely fix that...

(both cheetah and MR. SQUEEZE inch closer to the chicken)

ZEBRA
Stop where you are, both of you! We will make do with what we have. Please put on the red hat and black shiny boots and get on the sled. The children are arriving

CHICKEN
(smoothing his feathers and pulling the jacket over his breast)
I'm very nervous.. This is my first acting job

CHEETAH
Don't worry my friend. I'll be watching close by...in case you forget your lines, of course

ZEBRA
Places people! Mr. Squeeze - you're not in the first scene

MR. SQUEEZE
Just helping chicken get over his nerves. Everyone needs a hug


NEXT TIME: THE SHOW MUST GO ON...MAYBE
Open the curtains and let the play begin!


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8. Picture Book Roundup - December Holiday edition

Each year, hundreds of new holiday books are printed. Many are trite, forced, or pedantic—but not these gems.  Here are my five new favorites. Readjoice! 

  If you have trouble viewing the slideshow, visit it on Riffle.
Featured books:
  • A Homemade Together Christmas
  • Oskar and the Eight Blessings
  • Me and My Dragon: Christmas Spirit
  • Too Many Toys!
  • Miracle on 133rd Street

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9. SCENES FROM LIFE - A SHORT PLAYETTE

THE COFFEE QUANDARY
 
 
SCENECOFFEE SHOP. A HALF-DOZEN PEOPLE LINE UP TO ORDER COFFEE. PERSON ENTERS AND LINES UP,  ALONE, NEXT TO THE EXISTING LINE.
 
COFFEE DRINKER 1
Hello? We're all waiting to be served, too
 
(COFFEE DRINKER 2 IGNORES COFFEE DRINKER 1)
 
(CONT'D.) COFFEE DRINKER 1
 'Scuse me but he line begins and ends here. Feel free to join us - at the back
 
COFFEE DRINKER 2
I only want to order a coffee! Nothing else
 
COFFEE DRINKER 1
Me too!
 
COFFEE DRINKER 2
You would make me go to the back of the line for just one cup of coffee?
 
COFFEE DRINKER 1
Why not? That's why we're here but we wait our turn!
 
(COFFEE DRINKER 2 reluctantly and slowly moves to back of line, talking to people in line as she walks,  shaking her head)
 
COFFEE DRINKER 2
This is so dumb! One lousy coffee that would take less than thirty seconds to order. Ridiculous!
 
COFFEE DRINKER 1
Not really. A line up is a line up is a lineup. We all gotta abide by the rules. I mean, what would the world be like without structure. Utter chaos. Right people?
 
COFFEE DRINKER 3
Y'know...I'm not in a rush. You can go before me
 
(steps aside to allow coffee drinker 2 to move up)
 
COFFEE DRINKER 4
Me too. Gotta lotta time to kill
 
COFFEE DRINKER 1
Thank you so very much for backing me up, people! This is a perfect example why the world is in the condition it's in. Nobody cares! Rules are the glue that solidifies civilization!
 
COFFEE DRINKER 3
Give her a break! You're in front so why do you care?
 
COFFEE DRINKER 1
That's not the point, my friend. Why do I care you ask? I care because we must retain some semblance of order in society. There are societal rules that are accepted norms and lining up and waiting our turn to be served is one of them. Can you imagine - and I'm sure it would never happen because you people seem civilized - if everyone pushed in and demanded to be served? There would be chaos!

COFFEE DRINKER 2
It's a coffee! That's it! Nothing to go along with it. No danish or pastry or anything that will take more time.

COFFEE DRINKER 1
That's what you say now but how do we know we can believe you?

COFFEE DRINKER 3 AND OTHERS LINING UP
"I believe her..."

COFFEE SHOP SERVER
Can I serve anyone over here?
 
(people rush over to the other line. COFFEE DRINKER 2 waves and smiles at COFFEE DRINKER 1)
 
COFFEE DRINKER 1
I tried. Can't teach everyone to have manners. 'A large regular coffee - in a china mug, please'

SERVER
Only paper cups. Our dishwasher is broken
 
COFFEE DRINKER 1
Say what? You expect civilized people like me to...to drink coffee out of a paper receptacle? This is absolutely unacceptable. Wash one out by hand, for goodness sake!

SERVER
Look over there. See the big pile of dishes in the sink? You expect me to wash out a mug for you? I think not!

COFFEE DRINKER 1
Do I have a choice - but don't expect me to enjoy it!

(COFFEE DRINKER 1 takes paper cup and looks for a table. She sees COFFEE DRINKER 2 seated by herself at the only available table)

COFFEE DRINKER 1
Excuse me...but would you mind if I join you? In my discussion with the coffee server person regarding the non-availability of china coffee mugs, it appears all the chairs and tables are taken. You would think that they would keep extra mugs on hand for people who can't tolerate drinking their beverage out of paper.

COFFEE DRINKER 2
Well...now. How about that. Go figure. There is justice in this world. Why don't you line up and wait for someone to vacate a table.

COFFEE DRINKER 1
But that could take a long time. You on the other hand, are all alone

COFFEE DRINKER 2
I like my space

(COFFEE DRINKER 3 approaches the table)

COFFEE DRINKER 3
Do you mind if I join you?

COFFEE DRINKER 2
Be my guest.

ASIDE TO COFFEE DRINKER 1: Like you said, there are rules and waiting our turn is one of them.  I think I just may order another one...or maybe two...
 
 
 


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10. Picture Book Roundup - October 2015 edition

This edition of the Picture Book Roundup features three funny books, a hilarious cautionary tale, and a sweet bookish story to melt your heart. Enjoy!

Review copies of Night Animals by Gianna Marino (Viking, 2015) and In! Over! and On! by Ethan Long (Penguin, 2015) were provided by the publishers at my request. The Good Little Book by Kyo Maclear (Tundra, 2015), Everyone Loves Bacon by Kelly DiPucchio (Farrar, Straus, & Giroux, 2015), and Ragweed's Farm Dog Handbook by Anne Vittur Kennedy (Candlewick, 2015)

If you can't access the slide show with reviews below, you can see it on RiffleBooks at this link. [https://read.rifflebooks.com/list/185319]

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11. Thursday catch-up

Emily meets Frida

Whew! We moved Jane back up to college over the weekend and then, back here at home, got to spend an extra day visiting with my parents, who had come to stay with the rest of the gang while we were away. And then it was hustle-like-crazy to catch up from being gone. Which is to say, business as usual.

It’s too late in the day for a nice coherent post, but I wanted to toss down some stories I’ll otherwise forget. Huckisms, mostly…he’s been on a roll. Tonight he wanted me to take dictation for his Christmas list—no moss growing on this kid. I dutifully wrote down his three longed-for items and he leaned over the page, frowning anxiously at my cursive. “What if Santa doesn’t know this fancy writing?”

***

This morning I read aloud from Child’s History of the World—our tried-and-true first history book for the younger set. Today’s chapter was about Sparta and Athens (mainly Sparta, with a thorough description of what a young Spartan boy’s life might have been like). Huck listened intently to the plight of Spartan seven-year-olds—an age only months around the corner from him—and had lots of interjections to make along the way.

After the chapter, I asked him to narrate in the casual way I generally begin with around age six or seven. Not casual enough. He instantly froze up. My kids have been about half and half with narration: three of them taking to it like ducks to water, and three feeling shy and put on the spot. Huck is one of the latter. He actually ran out of the room and had to be coaxed back by a big sister. I cuddled him into my lap and told him not to worry, it wasn’t a test, I was just curious to know if anything in the story jumped out at him.

Huck, scowling: No.

Me: Do you wish you were a Spartan boy?

Huck, galvanized: No! Because they had to leave their moms when they turned seven, and—

—and he was off, chattering away for a good five or six minutes about all the details in the chapter. This is the way it normally works with my reluctant narrators, and I smiled secretly into the top of his sweaty little head.

Suddenly, mid-sentence, he broke off and reared back to look at me, laughing. “Hey! You tricked me! I just told you all about it!”

We all melted with giggles. He was so honestly amused. All the rest of the day I was cracking up over the shocked, almost admiring tone of his “HEY!”

***

The other thing that happened this week is that Rilla invented a board game. It’s called “Elemental Escape” and involves players representing Fire, Water, and Electricity (twist!) racing to the finish on a track filled with monsters. She drew a game board and mounted it on cardboard, and the game pieces are all Legos. Pretty fantastic.

board game by Rilla

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12. Unexceptional?

The League of Unexceptional Children by Gitty Daneshvari is a welcome change.  No magical, undiscovered world-changing super-talented children here!  No half human, half immortal orphans!
Nope, this book revolves around two children so bland, so mediocre, so unremarkable as to be almost invisible to the world around them.

And that makes them PERFECT for the secret work that The League of Unexceptional Children does.

When the Vice-President is kidnapped in the middle of the night, Jonathan and Shelly are recruited to go undercover to find him before the VP can disclose the nation's most valuable nuclear codes.   Jonathan and Shelly don't actually need to go undercover.  They are so unremarkable that Jonathan's teacher thinks he's a new student almost every day.  No one even hears Shelly when she talks.

After a slow start involving an incompetent security guard and a short villain, the book turns into a spy thriller heavy on spycraft-ish talk and trappings and with more comic escapades than thrills.

To say much more will tell you almost all.  This is a quick fun read in which two ordinary kids fumble through saving the country.  They even compete with two superspy kids from Europe.

The best thing about this book - for me, anyway - is the way the characters of our heroes develop.  They may look and act boring to the world at large but, given a task that challenges them, they show some spunk, if not much talent.  Hmmmm, could there actually be a redeeming message in this silly book?  ....... Nope, probably not.

Key words:  Quick, Funny, Slapstick, Spies! 

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13. Diary of a Mad Brownie - an audiobook review

I can't republish certain reviews that have already appeared in print or elsewhere online, but I can point you to where you might find them.

The Enchanted Files: Diary of a Mad Brownie by Bruce Coville. (Listening Library, 2015)
Suggested for ages 8-12.  298 minutes.

http://www.audiofilemagazine.com/reviews/read/102097/

Diary of a Mad Brownie is the first book in Bruce Coville's new series, The Enchanted Files.  I listened to the audio book, and I can tell you that it was the most fun I've had listening in a long time. And it's read by a full cast!

Read my review here: http://www.audiofilemagazine.com/reviews/read/102097/


Note:
My copy of the book was supplied by AudioFile Magazine.

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14. Sesame Street Gang Parodies Jurassic Park

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15. संकल्प नए वर्ष का

smiley photo

संकल्प नए वर्ष का ( व्यंग्य )

उफ्फ …!!! आखिरकार नए साल मे मैने क्या संकल्प लेना है सोच ही लिया .अब आपसे क्या छिपाना …हर साल जब भी नवम्बर समाप्त होने लगता और दिसम्बर जी का आगमन होता. मन मे अजीब सी बैचेनी करवट लेने लगती कि नए साल मे नया क्या क्या करना है और क्या क्या नही करना है.बस इसी उधेड बुन मे पूरा समय निकल जाता पर भगवान का लाख लाख शुक्र है कि इस साल यह नौबत ही नही आई और समय से पहले ही डिसाईड हो गया.

पता है, पिछ्ले साल मैने यह सोचा था कि सच बोलना शुरु कर दूगी. अरे नही.. नही … आप गलत समझ गए.असल मै, वैसे मै, झूठ नही बोलती पर ना जाने क्यू टीवी पर सच का सामना देख कर डर सी गई थी इसलिए बोल्ड होकर यह निर्णय लिया कि यह आईडिया ड्राप.फिर सोचा था कि कुछ भी हो जाए पतली हो कर दिखाऊगी पर पर पर .. सर्दियो के महीने मे ऐसा विचार मन मे लाना जरा मुश्किल हो जाता है.सरदी की गुनगुनी धूप हो,रजाई हो और गर्मा गर्म पराठे हो और उस तैरता और पिधलता मखन्न.मन भी पिधलना शुरु हो जाता अब ऐसे मे भला खाने पर कैसे ब्रेक लग सकती है.चलो इसे भी सिरे से नकार कर यह सोचा कि सुबह शाम की सैर ही शुरु कर दी जाए. इस पर तुरत अमल करना भी शुरु कर दिया था पर दो ही दिन मे यह मिशन फेल होता सा प्रतीत हुआ. असल मे , ऊबड खाबड सडके, सडको पर मस्ती मे धूमते आवारा बैल,और गंदगी के ढेर के साथ साथ सीवर के ढक्कन गायब.अब बताईए ऐसे मे हाथ पैर तुडवाने से अच्छा है कि कुछ और सोचा जाए.

वैसे सोचा तो मैने यह भी था कि नए साल मे किसी पर गुस्सा नही करुगी.चेहरे पर स्माईल रखूगीं. पिछ्ले साल 31 की रात सबसे यही कह कर सोई कि सभी 1 जनवरी को सुबह सुबह मंदिर चलेगे .मै तो सुबह सुबह तैयार हो गई पर कोई सुबह उठने को तैयार ही नही था. मुस्कुराते मुस्कुराते उठाती रही पर रात को देर से सोने के चक्कर मे सभी गहरी नींद मे थे. इतने मे काम वाली बाई आ गई. उसे पता नही क्या हुआ. बर्तनो को जोर जोर से शोर करते हुए धोने लगी .एक तो देर से आई ऊपर से मुहं बना रखा था इसने. मैने खुद को संयत किया कि मोनिका स्माईल … कंट्रोल कर… कहती हुई ताजा हवा लेने के लिए खिडकी पर जा खडी हुई कि अचानक मेरी नजर पडोसियो की नई चमचमाती कार पर पडी शायद कल ही के लर आए थे.बस आगे आपको बताने की जरुर नही कि ….. !!!!

इस साल भी यही विचार चल रहा था कि नए साल मे क्या संकल्प लिया जाए कि पूरा भी किया जा सके. घर के एक बडे बुजुर्ग ने सुझाया कि हम लोगो को तीर्थ यात्रा करवा दिया करो हर चार महीने मे एक बार. पुण्य मिलेगा.बात जमी नही और मै बच्चो के कमरे मे गई तो बच्चे कहते कि छोडो मम्मी… हर महीने हमे पिक्चर और पिकनिक पर ले जाया करो.काम वाली बाई भी कहा पीछे रहने वाली थी बोली कि मेरी पगार बढा दो और छुट्टी भी बढा दो. बाहर निकली तो ये बोले कि तुम फुलके पतले नही बनाती जरा श्रीमति ऋतु से सीख लो इतने पतले,मुलायम और गोल गोल चपाती बनाती है और कृष्णामूति से डोसा बनाना भी सीख लो … खश्बू से ही मुहं मे पानी आ जाता है.वो बात कर ही रहे थे कि इतने मे मेरी सहेली मणि का फोन आ गया उसने राय दी कि दो चार किट्टी पार्टी ज्वायन कर ले. थोडी सी चालाक बन बहुत भोली है तू.!!! अगले साल ही तुझे सोसाईटी की सैकट्ररी ना बनवा दिया तो मेरा नाम मणि नही!! मैने कोई बहाना कर के तुरंत फोन रख दिया.उफ्फ !!!किस की सुनू किस की ना सुनूं… देखा कितना टेंशन था.

smiley photo

अब आपको भी टेंशन हो रही होगी कि आखिर इस साल मैने क्या सकंल्प लिया है. तो सुनिए … पिछ्ले दो तीन सालो के अनुभव को देखते हुए… बहुत सोच विचार के मै इस नतीजे पर पहुंची हूँ कि चाहे कुछ भी जाए बस बहुत हुआ. अब और नही इसलिए इस साल … इस साल … इस साल … नए साल के लिए कोई सकंल्प ही नही लूगी.इसलिए मै खुश हू और बहुत ही खुश हूं ..

कैसा लगा आपको ये व्यंग्य जरुर बताईगा :)

The post संकल्प नए वर्ष का appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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16. SCENES FROM LIFE - A SHORT PLAYETTE. At the coffee shop

POST PLAY DISCUSSION
 
SCENE: Coffee shop
AT RISE: Two friends discuss a theatre performance they have just seen
 
 FRIEND 1
(perusing menu)
Decisions…decisions… I just started seeing a dietician but I absolutely adore their chocolate-chocolate-and-more-chocolate molten lava cake… One more time couldn’t hurt.
 
 FRIEND 2
Given that it’s past eight o’clock and the worst time for weight gain, I, on the other hand, will stick to my usual expresso
 
FRIEND 1
You’re so holy-holy, perfect, human being
 
FRIEND 2
Jealousy is futile. It’s my genes. Everyone in my family is thin, going back generations
You do realize I could eat whatever I wanted without guilt but I don’t, because I respect my body
 
 FRIEND 1
Hey! Me too! My body tells me regularly, “feed me chocolate-chocolate-and-more-chocolate molten lava cake’ and I’ll make you feel real good!”
 
FRIEND 2
Anywaaay…So what did you think of the show?
 
FRIEND 1
Well…it had its moments
 
FRIEND 2
You didn’t like it, I take it?
 
 FRIEND 1
I never said that
 
 FRIEND 2
What are you saying?
 
 
FRIEND 1
It had its moments

 
FRIEND 2
Which means?
 
 
FRIEND 1
 
Kind of dragged in parts
 
 
FRIEND 2
I dunno. Made me laugh – a lot
 
 
FRIEND 1
That’s ‘cause you’re easily amused
 
FRIEND 2
Is it necessary to insult me, just because you consider yourself (makes quotation marks with her fingers) “a playwright”?
 
FRIEND 1
It’s the words and how they’re put together that interest me
 
FRIEND 2
Seemed like one great show, overall, in my eyes
 
 
FRIEND 1
You didn’t find that the first act seemed to never end?
 
FRIEND 2
I go to the theatre to be entertained. Period. I don’t agonize over whether the first act is better than the second because really, I don’t care! If the actors can provide a couple of hours of escapism, then they’ve done their job
 
 
FRIEND 1
We obviously view the entertainment through different eyes. I’m interested in the flow of the dialogue…the inter-action of the performers…things of interest to a person who writes plays -
 
 
FRIEND 2
- remind me how many of your plays have been produced –
 
 
FRIEND 1
So? What does that have to do with anything? It’s not for lack of trying. Have you any idea how many playwrights are out there all over the planet, hoping that someone will share them with the world? Gazillions I can tell you – including me! I mean, well known one’s, too! One day – one sweet day – someone, somewhere will read one of my plays and say, “this is the winner we’ve been waiting for!” One day, you and I, will sit here as we do after a night at the theatre, and discuss the merits of one of my plays. You’ll tell me how witty the dialogue was and how it made you laugh and how lucky that our friendship has maintained over the years…
 
 
FRIEND 2
So, are we ordering or what?
 
 
FRIEND 1
I’m thinking here perhaps it is too late for something heavy like the chocolate-chocolate-and-more-chocolate molten lava cake
 
 
FRIEND 2
Good idea - think healthy
 
(waitress approaches to take order)
 (cont’d.)We’ll have two expresso coffees, please…
 
 FRIEND 1
…hang on…
 FRIEND 2
I thought you decided against the cake
 
 
FRIEND 1
The cake is on the heavy side but a small butter pecan muffin wouldn’t even register on the scale.  Now about the play…the acting was adequate but then they didn't have much to work with...


0 Comments on SCENES FROM LIFE - A SHORT PLAYETTE. At the coffee shop as of 8/1/2015 12:03:00 PM
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17. Night Animals - a review

I think I am predisposed to like anything done by Gianna Marino, so I requested an Advance Reader Copy of Night Animals, which is on shelves now.  I was not disappointed.

Marino, Gianna. 2015. Night Animals. New York: Viking.

Full bleed illustrations let the night sky offer an expansive and inky stage for highlighting a comical group of nocturnal animals that are afraid of noises in the night.  The large illustrations clearly detail the animals' antics, wide-eyed fear, and varying reactions to things that go "aaaarrrrooo!" in the night.  The skunk is often depicted with a noxious greenish cloud behind him (much to the dismay of Possum), while the possum (appropriately) plays dead,

"I'm not here."

Minimal text is presented in cartoon-style word bubbles,

 "What are we hiding from?"  "Night animals!  Now keep QUIET!"

Bear, Wolf, Skunk and Possum run from the "night animals."  It takes a bat to tell them the real danger in the nighttime forest.

Night Animals will tickle the funny bone of any young child.  This is a perfect book for sharing with a group.  Possum is hilarious!

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18. Goat Farmers Host Essay Contest

goatLeslie and Paul Spell, the owners of the Humble Heart Farms, are hosting an essay contest. This Alabama-based couple will award their 20-acre property and 85 goats to the winner.

Here’s more from Mashable.com: “The Spells are asking each entrant to pay a $150 submission fee, and said they hope to get 2,500 entries in all, which would total $375,000. This amount will be used to pay off the rest of their mortgage, while $20,000 will be given to the contest winners, according to the Spells. What’s more, the couple said they’ll train anyone who isn’t experienced in making goat cheese.”

Writers should to submit a 200-word (or less) piece. A deadline has been set for October 1st at 11:59:59 p.m. Central Time. Follow this link to read all the rules.

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19. SCENES FROM LIFE: A SHORT PLAYETTE At the supermarket

THE WAIT
 
 
SCENE: A BUSY SUPERMARKET.
 AT RISE: A LONG LINE UP OF PEOPLE WAIT TO PAY FOR THEIR GROCERIES.
 
FEMALE CUSTOMER
(to herself)
 
Would you believe how slow this cashier is? I probably could check out myself faster
 
 
MALE CUSTOMER BEHIND HER
 
They should open more cashes
FEMALE CUSTOMER
 
Sorry?
MALE CUSTOMER
 
They need more cashiers. Can’t open more cashes without cashiers. Only three on a holiday weekend doesn’t do it
FEMALE CUSTOMER
 
So true. I mean, you would think that they would have thought of that. I hate waiting
MALE CUSTOMER
 
Who likes it
 
 (female customer searches the line ups)

FEMALE CUSTOMER
 
I just moved over here from the other line. This one looks like it was moving faster but now the other one is better. Always happens. Wherever I move, the other lines are faster
MALE CUSTOMER
 
From what I can see, there are hardly any people in the first cash
 
 (they both look over to check it out)
 
FEMALE CUSTOMER
 
That’s only for eight items or less. I’ve got a lot more than that
 
MALE CUSTOMER
Maybe they would take you being that they’re so busy everywhere
 
 
FEMALE CUSTOMER
 
Don’t like to take advantage, not to mention that the customers with just a few items get really upset when you try to push in with a full shopping cart. Can't say I blame them. Tried that a while back and everyone turned on me. “Are you blind?” they all yelled, pointing to the 8 items or less sign accompanied by insults. Wasn’t worth it – very embarrassing. Anyway, I’d lose my place here in line. Hey…you wouldn’t be trying to move up faster in the line here…
 
MALE CUSTOMER
 
Just trying to be helpful
 
FEMALE CUSTOMER
 
Why don’t you try your luck at the first cash? Maybe you'll be luckier
 
MALE CUSTOMER
 
I’ll wait my turn. You were complaining
 
FEMALE CUSTOMER
 
Actually, I was talking to myself and you overheard me
 
MALE CUSTOMER
Sorry to butt in your private conversation with yourself
 
FEMALE CUSTOMER
 
Merely pointing out to myself that they need more cashiers
 
MALE CUSTOMER
 
And I agreed. No ulterior motive intended
 
 
FEMALE CUSTOMER
 
 
Sorry - I tend to get impatient in line ups. Here we want to give them our hard-earned cash and we have to wait to hand it over. Not that I would ever want to be a cashier...
 
  (Throws her head back and looks at ceiling)
 
FEMALE CUSTOMER
 
Would you believe? Now they’re counting cash! This means another five minute delay at least
 
MALE CUSTOMER
 
 
Nothing we can do about it

 
FEMALE CUSTOMER
 
Why, why does this always happen to me? Why couldn’t they have waited until they finished checking out my food items first?
MALE CUSTOMER
 
A conspiracy for sure. Relax – getting all worked up won’t make things work faster
 
 (answers his cell phone) 
 
FEMALE CUSTOMER
 
On top of it all, they’ve put new cashiers on a day like today. I mean, really. Okay, they have to learn but today? Good - finished their cash count. Only one person in front of us, now. Should be out of here in five…maybe ten minutes at the most, for sure. I’ll just get ready to place my items here on the counter…they have some good specials today… I don’t believe it!   
 
MALE CUSTOMER
Something wrong?

 
 
FEMALE CUSTOMER
Would you believe? There’s no price on some of her items and now they have to do a price check! That’s gonna put us back an extra ten minutes for sure. Is there no end to keep us customers waiting forever? (addresses customer in front of her) ‘Excuse me, but why didn’t you check your items before throwing them into your shopping cart? We've been waiting here for over fifteen minutes, y’know! Some of us have things to do, places to go.’ 
 
                        (male customer moves over to new cash that opens up) 
 
(cont’d.) Hey! I was in front of you
 
MALE CUSTOMER
You were and now I’m in front of you, first in line. You snooze – you lose. Patience is a virtue
 

0 Comments on SCENES FROM LIFE: A SHORT PLAYETTE At the supermarket as of 5/16/2015 11:23:00 AM
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20. Peter Dinklage Sings About Game of Thrones

Have you ever pictured Tyrion Lannister as a singer? Entertainment Weekly reports that actor Peter Dinklage crooned a tune recounting the demise of several Game of Thrones characters.

The video embedded above features Dinklage singing about Eddard “Ned” Stark, Robb Stark, and Joffrey Baratheon. The Golden Globe winner gave this performance in honor of the Red Nose Day fundraising campaign. (via The Hollywood Reporter)

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21. WHEREAS THE SHARK TANK MEMBERS CONSIDER A NEW INVENTION

Even though I have a plastic watering container, for whatever reason, punching holes in the lid of a large, empty juice container seemed like a good idea. This got me thinking - one of those "what if" moments: what if everyone reading this decided to do the same and pursue our creation on the "Shark Tank" TV program for financial backing! Would it fly?

 
 
SCENE: SET OF “SHARK TANK” TV SERIES. A FEMALE, FOLLOWED BY A LARGE GROUP OF MALES AND FEMALES HOLDING JUICE CONTAINERS, ENTERS. THE FOUR “SHARKS” STUDY HER WHILE MAKING NOTES.

VOICE OVER: “NEXT ON SHARK TANK, A GARDENING AFIENCIENADO WHO HAS COME UP WITH AN INNOVATIVE ALTERNATIVE TO A STORE-BOUGHT WATERING DEVICE. SHE’S ASKING FOR $50,000 FOR 30% EQUITY

 

FEMALE INVENTOR

Hello moneyed sharks! My name is blah-blah and I’ve come up with an inventive and cheap alternative to the watering can. When it comes to buying gardening tools, most gardeners head to their local gardening outlet to buy their equipment. Chances are that you or your maid or whoever takes care of buying grocery supplies buy the larger sized juice containers being more economical (sharks all shake their heads in agreement and take more notes). Once the container is empty, it’s tossed in the recycling pile. But wait a minute! Don’t do that! It can be recycled again.

 
MARK CUBAN

Who are all those people you brought with you?

 
FEMALE INVENTOR

They’re the CYBER FRIENDS OF FACEBOOK group who are my strongest supporters. They’re also big fans of Shark Tank

 
KEVIN O’LEARY

Yuck! Juice spilled on my very expensive tie. If you can’t wash out your invention before bringing it here… I’m…

 
FEMALE INVENTOR

Wait! Let me elucidate this great concept that’s akin to reinventing the wheel!

 
MARK CUBAN

What is this? Says here in my notes that this is about juice containers. Now you’re talking about a new wheel?

 
LORI GRENIER

Give her a chance, Mark. So why exactly have you come to us for big bucks? Are you asking us to fund a juice container with wheels? I don’t get it…

 
FEMALE INVENTOR

If I may explain?


KEVIN O’LEARY

So? We’re waiting

 
FEMALE INVENTOR
(visibly nervous)

Okay… let me think here…


DAYMOND JOHN

Honestly? All I see there is a used juice container. Maybe this isn’t for me…

 
FEMALE INVENTOR

Okay. I got it together now.


ROBERT HERJAVEC

Time is marching on, lady. Get on with your pitch!

 
FEMALE INVENTOR

As I was saying…I was about to throw an orange juice container in the recycling pile and suddenly – you know – one of those eureka moments – I get the urge to punch holes in the lid, which I did…


KEVIN O’LEARY

…this is painful. So big deal! Anybody can do that! Next!


FEMALE INVENTOR

…filled it up with water and then used it to water my flower boxes. No splashing and the perfect system for a gentle watering of plants


BARBARA CORCORON

So let’s see this container of yours

 
FEMALE INVENTOR

I’ve only brought one sample. If you can pass it along…


KEVIN O’LEARY

We have to share one lousy juice container and it’s sticky with juice residue

 
MARK CUBAN

You should’a brought enough for all of us and Kevin is right. The least you could have done is wash the juice container

 
DAYMOND JOHN

All I see is five holes in a lid of a juice container. Anybody… No everybody who buys juice can do that. I’m out

 
KEVIN O’LEARY

Maybe this has potential and maybe it doesn’t. Tell you what I’m gonna do because they don’t call me Mr. Wonderful for nothing. I’ll give you $500 for a 75% equity. That’s more than fair

 
FEMALE INVENTOR

I don’t know…what do you think, people?

 
(she turns and asks the large group of people with her holding juice containers. They shake their heads indicating approval)


KEVIN O’LEARY

Better hurry up and decide whether to take my offer. Your only offer

 
FEMALE INVENTOR

Um…I don’t know what to do…


(large group of people chant, “take it, take it…”

 
(cont’d. FEMALE INVENTOR) As much as I thank you for your support, I have to decline your offer

 
MARK CUBAN
(laughing)

You made a big mistake, lady. Next!

 
KEVIN O’LEARY

You are nothing to me! A cockroach looking for leftovers in the juice of life…or something. Leave and take your container with you

 
BARBARA CORCORON

Kevin – must you always philosophize when someone tells you and your offer to take a hike? You could be more charitable

 
KEVIN O’LEARY

And lose my reputation as Mr. Wonderful?

 
FEMALE INVENTOR FOLLOWED BY HER GROUP LEAVE, DROPPING THE CONTAINERS IN THE TRASH AS THEY WALK OUT

0 Comments on WHEREAS THE SHARK TANK MEMBERS CONSIDER A NEW INVENTION as of 5/21/2015 11:11:00 AM
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22. Coldplay Puts On a Game of Thrones Musical

Have you ever envisioned Game of Thrones as a musical? Coldplay, a seven-time Grammy Award winning band, put on this hilarious show in honor of the Red Nose Day USA.

The video embedded above features appearances from several of the HBO series’ cast members such as Kit Harington, Emilia Clarke, and Peter Dinklage. Thus far, it has drawn more than 7.7 million views on YouTube.

Some of the numbers featured in this project include “Rastafarian Targaryen” (sung by The Khaleesi herself), “Wildling” (a Jon Snow performance for Ygritte), and “Still Goin’ Strong” (a tune belted out by Tyrion Lannister). What’s your favorite song from this project? (via BuzzFeed)

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23. SCENES FROM LIFE: A SHORT PLAYETTE At the theatre

INTERMISSION
 
 
SCENE: WOMEN'S WASHROOM IN THEATRE
 
AT RISE:  FEMALES LINE UP TO USE BATHROOM
 
 
FEMALE 1
Line is really long...hope we have enough time
 
FEMALE 2
(turning around)
Sorry?
 
FEMALE 1
I was just commenting that there's a lot of women waiting to get in and only a 15 minute intermission
 
FEMALE 2
When 'ya gotta go - 'ya gotta go, right?
 
FEMALE 1
(moving anxiously from foot to foot)
Don't I know it - and I really have to! Go, I mean
 
FEMALE 2
It usually picks up and moves faster when they near the end of the intermission
 
FEMALE 1
Hope so... Do you notice how the guys seem to be able to do what they have to do in three minutes?
 
FEMALE 2
That's cause they don't have as much clothing to remove and don't stare at the mirror or fix their makeup
 
FEMALE 1
Once in dire desperation, I used the men's washroom. I had to. I pushed the door open, screamed 'is anybody there 'cause I'm coming in!'
 
FEMALE 2
What happened?
 
FEMALE 1
I held my head down and didn't dare glance at the urinals. Went in a cubicle, slammed the door and never urinated so fast in my life! Thank goodness there was nobody in there, as far as I knowThe line is moving but barely. C'mon people - move quicker!
 
FEMALE 3
(behind both of them)
Don't mean to interrupt but there's another bathroom located downstairs. Everyone seems to gravitate to this one for one reason or another
 
FEMALE 1
Thanks for the suggestion but if I'll lose my place if I check it out and I don't know if it's an improvement on this.
 
(ASIDE TO FEMALE 2) Perhaps if you would hold my place...?
 
FEMALE 2
Don't think that's a good idea. If you end up returning, they'll attack me figuring you're trying to cut in the line. You have to decide which is the better option
 
FEMALE 1
All I know is that I really gotta pee!
 
FEMALE 2
Even if I let you in front of me, it's not much of an improvement
 
FEMALE 1
It's better than nothing and I would be most appreciative. Things are really getting desperate!
 
FEMALE 2
I suppose I could...I mean, I've been where you have....
 
FEMALE 1
Oh thank you, thank you!
 
(FEMALE 1 moves in front of FEMALE 2)
 
(CONT'D. FEMALE 1) Almost there...just a few more to go...
 
(moving back and forth from foot-to-foot)
 
FEMALE 1
(to female in front of her)
'...such a long line up...oh dear and intermission is almost over... Really, really, have to go...you would do that for me? You're too kind...thank you...'
 
(FEMALE 1 moves up the line)
 
FEMALE 1
(to herself)
A person has'ta do what a person has'ta do...the flush of victory is at hand...
 
 


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24. Picture Book Roundup - First Day of School Books

School will be starting before you know it! 
 Here are some new books that feature the first day of school.

(if you cannot access the slide show, reviews are below)
 



  • First Grade, Here I Come! by Tony Johnston 

A playfully rambunctious boy plans his first day of first grade, "For show-and-tell, no teddy bears. I'll bring my snake - oh joy! My friends will hold my boa up. (I call him Huggy Boy.)" For this scene, the playful illustrations show the teacher standing atop her desk while the kids hoist Huggy Boy. Cheerful, silly fun!

  • Bob and Flo by Rebecca Ashdown

It's Flo's first day at preschool. Not only does she find her missing bucket, she finds a friend. Cute.

  • ABC School's for Me! by Susan B. Katz

"Eating snack around the rug, Friends who share a hello hug." A cute, rhyming, and encouraging ABC book. Dad's First Day Mike Wohnoutka Here's a twist on "first day of school" books - it's Oliver's dad who has the first day of school jitters! (Picture Oliver's teacher carrying Oliver's crying dad outside.) "The teacher walked Oliver's dad outside." "Bye, Daddy!" But don't worry ... it all turns out OK.

  • Monkey: Not Ready for Kindergarten by Marc Brown

In crayon-inspired illustrations, Marc Brown tells the story of a monkey worried about his first day at school. "What if his teacher doesn't like him? What if he gets on the wrong bus? What if he can't find the bathroom? ..." With time and patient help from his parents and friends, Monkey slowly gets ready for Kindergarten.


  • Rosie Goes to Preschool by Karen Katz 

Rosie's not worried about her first day of preschool. In fact, she'll tell you all about it! Happy, simple, and multicultural - this is a classic Karen Katz book.

  • Not This Bear: A First Day of School Story by Alyssa Satin Capucilli 

In this story of a bear's first day at school, author Alyssa Satin Capucilli shows that going to school does not mean giving up one's individuality. Bear clings to some familiar things and habits from home, but still fits in and enjoys himself at school. An interesting and reassuring take on "first day at school" books.

  • Ally-saurus & the First Day of School by Richard Torrey 

Is there room for a dinosaur girl in a school filled with princess girls? Of course there is! "Taking off her favorite dinosaur pajamas, Ally-saurus dressed in her brand-new first-day-of-school outfit. "Your pants are on backward," said Father. "That's so my dinosaur tail can stick out," explained Ally-saurus. Let's wear our pants the right way," said Father. "ROAR!" said Ally-saurus."

  • Eva and Sadie and the Best Classroom EVER! by Jeff Cohen 

Big sister Sadie tries to help Eva get ready for Kindergarten - but teaching her math and reading may not be the best way to help!

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25. Critic Creates a Rhyming Review for New Dr. Seuss Book

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