Written by Chris Harris and illustrated by Lane Smith (Two Hoots)
This is a truly funny book that plays with words and rhymes and makes silly puns that will make you laugh and want to make up your own. For all children and immature adults – or those who need a reminder on how to be silly. (A vital life skill).
The poems are about everything from making up poems, feeling emotions, family relationships, and the experience of growing up. The poems work with the kind of wild and quirky humour kids love:
“There was an old woman who lived in a shoe –
You sneezed! Bless you!
No I didn’t. There was an old woman
who lived in a shoe…
Stop it I didn’t sneeze!”
You’ll have to buy the book to get the funny ending.
Humour is a connector
Chris Harris is a writer and executive producer for How I Met Your Mother and a writer for The Late Show with David Letterman. The poems empathise with children who feel they’re not good at writing, and show them how, by turning the rules upside down a bit, they will discover that they can write a poem that makes us laugh.
“I’m just no good at rhyming
It makes me feel so bad
I’m just no good at rhyming
and that’s why I’m so blue.”
Playing with words
One of the best ways to get good at a language is to play with it. Children who make word play and puns, (book me in for some reading time!), use parts of speech such as hyperbole (this is the best book in the universe!), similes (this book is as funny as a clown) and metaphors (you will be a shining star if you read this book) are given a step up in language skills.
There are also a few very silly quizzes and ‘unfair’ riddles. Some of the poems make you think, such as “Is breakfast chocolate, choco-late or choco-early?”
Read to your children and get them to read the poems out loud too, then see if they can make up their own silly rhymes. Extend the word play by playing Scrabble, Wordle, Bananagrams and Balderdash with older children. Make word play a way of life.
The award winning illustrator, Lane Smith, adds visual play to the words as well. He uses a lot of ‘concrete poetry’ which is when the words form shapes that match the topic of the poem. Here’s a great guide for kids on how to do this.
Harris and Smith have a running gag through the book about not liking each other, which, although very tongue-in-cheek, might confuse more sensitive readers, but it’s done in a funny and mischievous way.
If your children like silly, off-the-wall humour, try The Day I Sold My Dad for Two Goldfish by Neil Gaiman.
Some of the poems are quite deep, we love this one about introverts:
And for sheer silliness: