Tag Archives: Humour

Happy Halloween!

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We are preparing for a teen ‘Ween party here but I’ve been saving these titles for today so here we go!

Peppa Pig: Peppa’s Spooky Halloween

Penguin Australia

  • September 2020
  • ISBN: 9780241412268
  • Imprint: Ladybird
  • RRP: $14.99

Peppa and her Pig famiy continue to be firm favourites with little ones and this one will delight them as the Pigs prepare for a fun-filled Halloween.

Peppa and George are at Granny and Grandpa’s house and they are ready for some spookiness and luckily, their grandparents are fully in favour.

There is a flurry of baking yummy treats and decorations are dragged out of the attic – luckily Grandpa and Granny have collected quite a lot of Halloween accessories over the years. Soon both the house and yard are suitably creepy.

Next it’s time to raid the dressing-up box and all four costume themselves ready for a Spooky Show. When Mummy and Daddy Pig arrive they will be very surprised!

This is not only great fun for little ones at this time of year but a lovely warm story about the special bond between grandparents and grandchildren.

Your Peppa fans will love it of course!

There’s Something Weird About Lena

Sigi Cohen. Illustrated by James Foley.

Walker Books Australia

October 2020

ISBN: 9781760651503
Imprint: Walker Books Australia
Australian RRP: $25.99
New Zealand RRP: $28.99

For all who loved My Dead Bunny (that was everyone wasn’t it?) here’s another rollicking and hilarious creepy story.

With fabulous rhyming text that begs to be read aloud accompanied by the atmospheric illustrations, your kiddos will want this one over and over again.

Lena is the new kid at school and she’s really WEIRD. She cackles and howls, she shrieks and moans and she’s really not very nice. When her friends decide to prank her by dressing up spookily they are in for quite a shock – Lena is definitely not your average girl!

The fun use of onomatopoeia will simply delight – and your kiddos will be howling along with the reading – in fact, quite likely some adults will as well.

It’s a must – it really is! If your budget is all dried up by now, make sure you put it on your list for next year – you won’t be sorry!

Zombierella: Fairy Tales Gone Bad – Joseph Coelho. Illustrated by Freya Hartas.

Walker Books Australia

September 2020

ISBN: 9781406389661
Imprint: Walker
Australia RRP: $18.99
New Zealand RRP: $21.99

One for your older readers and the first in a three-part series that twists classic stories into very entertaining verse, this is perfect for your kiddos from around 9 years upwards up into Year 7.

With enough of the original story to be familiar but the delightfully gruesome twists – I mean who wouldn’t be far more thrilled with a zombie Cinderella than the insipid Disney version? – kids will gobble this up with much laughter. Trust me, when they get to the climax and instead of losing a glass (or fur) slipper, Zombierella loses her entire foot – they will explode!

Huge fun for readers from Year 4 upwards and I await the next two instalments eagerly, as they will as well.

Mind the Gap, Dash & Lily – Rachel Cohn & David Levithan

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Allen & Unwin

October 2020

ISBN:9781760526214

Publisher:A&U Children’s

Imprint:A & U Children

RRP: $19.99

This is my first encounter with Dash and Lily – and I’m in love with them! As it happens I had put this title on our orders list because I liked the sound of it so much – and as it happens, with a Netflix adaptation on its way – I was pretty confident my keen beans would also enjoy it.

Now I can’t wait to talk it up at our ChocLit meeting this week because I know for sure they will love it!! It may sound cliched but I make no apologies for that – this is exactly the kind of ‘witty and sparkling’ writing that thrills me. I gobbled it up over a couple of nights and it was just pure joy to read.

Dash and Lily have been a couple for around two years and now they are finished school, their lives are changing. Dash is accepted to Oxford – his life-long dream – and while Lily knows she will miss him terribly she in no way wants to hold him back. On the other hand, she is floundering somewhat with her options. Her dog-walking business, Insta following and dog ‘crafting’ skills are really taking off and she is very determined not to follow the generations of women in her family in attending Barnard College. When Dash decides to stay in England for Christmas, Lily splurges on a trip to surprise him (her doggy entrepreneurship is REALLY successful!) in what she sees as a truly romantic gesture. But as many of us know, sometimes romantic gestures do not realise themselves in quite the same way as we have imagined them.

There are moments of real disconnection and none of it is helped by both young people doubting their choices around their chosen paths. However, as both are super intelligent and emotionally aware, they are able to work out not only their relationship but their futures.

There is so much to love about this book! Firstly, I adore that while it outlines completely relatable problems there is none of the intense teeth-gnashing, maudlin introspection and egocentric thinking that seems to pervade so many YA novels. There is a lot of humour – and I particularly love the ‘punny’ expressions throughout – and these two as well as secondary characters are genuinely likeable. I also really appreciate that while the couple do have a physical relationship there is nothing overt that could cause problems with your younger readership and similarly, there is no swearing!

Your readers from around Year 7 are likely to connect with these two as much as I have and I highly recommend it for your astute readers who will fully appreciate the humour, the dilemmas and the joy of the narrative.

Go for Gold! (Pea and Nut #2) – Matt Stanton

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Harper Collins Australia

August 2020

  • ISBN: 9780733340680
  • ISBN 10: 0733340687
  • Imprint: ABC Books – AU
  • List Price: 17.99 AUD

The second in the Pea + Nut series is another rowdy rambunctious read that will have your kiddos in fits of laughter and with swimming season upon us there will no doubt be many connections made.

Pea the panda really just wants to relax by the pool, in her own inimitable way but Nut the wacky flamingo is determined to have a race.

With the hilarious elastic rules with which so many children will relate the pair are off with fiercely competitive attitude. These two are complete oddballs and their antics will surely delight any of your younger readers.

If you haven’t got onto these yet you should, your tinies from around four years upwards will just love them…..

And congratulations Matt & Bec, you talented pair, on the arrival of the new little princess!

Kitty is not a Cat – Jess Black/Bogan Entertainment Solutions

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Hachette

Lights Out

JUL 28, 2020 | 9780734419750 | RRP $9.99

Teddy’s Bear

JUL 28, 2020 | 9780734419774 | RRP $9.99

I no longer have a little person to watch such shows but by all accounts Kitty is not a Cat is a hugely successful animated series. A rather motley clowder of cats live together in a ramshackle old mansion, left to them by an eccentric benefactress. Their free-spirited antics ensure that life is always a party where anything goes but when there is an unexpected knock at the door one night and Kitty arrives, their wild ways are in for a disruption. Kitty is not a cat but she wants to be one and though the cats try very hard to re-home her it seems she is going to be a permanent fixture.

Now fans of the show can read about their favourite glaring of cats – and one non-cat – in a delightful new junior reader series written by Jess Black.

When Kitty’s night light mysteriously disappears her sleep is very much disturbed and of course, in turn, the cat’s routine TV viewing of their favourite Purr-anormal programs. Of course cats are not familiar with the concept of being afraid of the dark but they do their very best to sort Kitty’s problem with some very creative, though not necessarily, successful solutions. Finally Kitty’s night fright is sorted – and so is the mystery of the disappearing night light!

The cat gang decide that Kitty needs a new toy for the coming winter months and what could be better than a cuddly teddy bear? The problem is that the felines are really not across exactly what a teddy bear is so once more hilarity ensues as each attempts to satisfy the issue. Cheeta thinks he’s solved the problem when he brings home a real-life grizzly bear and for a while it seems that rather than being gobbled up they can all have some fun together. But when the bear starts his hibernation the original problem is still – well, a problem Luckily Mr Clean has saved the day with his ingenuity – and love.

This is just fabulous on a lot of levels – full of great humour, unconditional love and the certainty that one can be anything one wants – even a cat!!

Goes without saying that it appeals to us – being pretty much solid cat people – but I highly recommend it for your newly independent readers who will love being able to make connections between the show and the books.

League of Llamas [#3 and #4] – Aleesah Darlison

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Penguin Random House Australia

July 2020

Aleesah Darlison continues her hilarious new series with these two new episodes in the adventures of Phillipe, Lloyd and Elloise, those daring LOL agents who are afraid of nothing – well almost nothing. Kids love the antics of rather hapless Philippe and Lloyd who are generally getting themselves into dangerous scrapes with narrow escapes – usually saved from complete disaster by the help of Elloise, g-llama-rous and efficient daughter of Head of LOL, Mama Llama. Packed with action as well as very funny wordplay these have already proven to be a big hit with junior readers who will be very excited about the new missions coming their way.

Undercover Llama #3

  • ISBN: 9781760894191
  • Imprint: Puffin
  • RRP: $9.99

A disastrous and almost deadly failed mission to recover missing secret files from some not-so-featherbrained chickens has done nothing to enhance Phillipe’s cred with Mama Llama and he’s getting close to being de-activated as an agent. In fact, if not for the support of the lovely Elloise defending him it’s likely he might not have been given a reprieve. Now the trio are going undercover and not just any ordinary kind of investigation either. They are going to pose as band members of world famous pop star, Bruno Llamars!

On tour in Chickenlovakia the agents find themselves once again embroiled with the rogue chickens but there also appears to some monkey business involving Bruno’s manager, Wally Chimpopo.

Can they salvage their reputations and recover the missing files? Only time will tell and in the meantime they must sort out the bad eggs from the good ones.

Rogue Llama #4

  • ISBN: 9781760894207
  • Imprint: Puffin
  • RRP: $9.99

As if Philippe doesn’t have enough trouble keeping out of strife, he’s dropped well and truly in the llama doo-doo when he follows an unreliable rat informant and is framed for a crime he didn’t commit. When Mama Llama demands he turn in his badge, Phillipe is determined to clear his name. So it’s off to hunt down the rat who ratted him out, first to Ratopia and then to the last place one would look for a rat, good or bad, Catagonia. Surviving on his wits alone – never a good move really – Philippe finds himself in a tight place but luckily his friends Lloyd and Elloise haven’t yet given up on him and their timely intervention saves the day. Once again the trio are on the trail of that smelly badger Bottomburp, mastermind of criminal mischief and parp-er of extraordinary vileness.

And with a little bit of luck and the surprising but useful intervention of a very cranky whale, Phillipe is able to redeem himself and once again take up his place as LOL’s leading and best-looking llama.

So much fun to be had with these! Don’t forget to check out Aleesah’s page for some llamazing activities as well – your kiddos would love to have a whole llama-filled book party!

Highly recommended for young readers from around six years upwards.

Funny Kid Peeking Duck [Funny Kid #7] – Matt Stanton

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Harper Collins Australia

April 2020

  • ISBN: 9780733340598
  • ISBN 10: 0733340598
  • Imprint: ABC Books – AU
  • List Price: 14.99 AUD

Matt Stanton’s Max has become one of the most popular characters in Australian kids’ lit in recent years – with the first debuting at #1 Australian kids’ book in 2017. The Funny Kid continues to garner enthusiastic fans not only in Australia but now around the world.

The antics of this boy, along with his family and friends, and not forgetting Duck, are like the most hilarious comic strip ever in novel format and while the illustrations are highly amusing too, it is the wit and humour of the text that provide the biggest belly laughs.

Poor Max finds himself caught up in a dare predicament with his friends after somewhat snarky Abby calls him out on being afraid of heights. Suddenly there’s pressure to ride the Tower of Dying Deathly Doom, the scariest ride at Adventure Park to be witnessed by all the gang. Max’ plan to go to Adventure Park solo – well, with Duck of course – and just pretend he’s ridden the ride backfires badly and when his parents (typically) mis-read his actions as running away due to their preoccupation, the whole dare escalates to new heights (so to speak). A hellish road trip with all his friends, Duck gone missing and an encounter with Bad Skulls, the dancing motorcycle gang combine to provide the reader with another side-splitting episode in the life of Max the Funny Kid.

There will be plenty of snort-laughs in this one and any copy on your shelves is guaranteed to be on high-rotation with your readers. In fact, probably best to have back-up copies in my opinion to avoid scrimmages as they are coming back through returns.

Highly recommended for your kids who like a good laugh-out-loud read – don’t they all? – suitable for all from around 8 years upwards.

 

 

 

This is a Ball and Other Books that Drive Kids Crazy – Beck & Matt Stanton

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Harper Collins Australia

May 2020

  • ISBN: 9780733341076
  • ISBN 10: 0733341071
  • Imprint: ABC Books – AU
  • List Price: 35.00 AUD

In recent years when I have filled in between gigs doing some relief teaching at least a couple of the ‘books that drive kids crazy’ were in my bag to use particularly as a ‘warm up’ and without fail they were such a hit with the audience that the kiddos were putty in my hands, especially with the promise of another later in the day.

It would be hard to pick a favourite but I can say unequivocally that Did You Take the B from my -ook?  would reduce my listeners to paroxysms of laughter as they joined in, almost howling.

Now readers can enjoy the hysteria of five of these super titles in one volume and if I were still doing that occasional relief teaching this would definitely be staying on my shelves.

Whether  you are adding this to your school collection or your personal one, or perhaps as a gift to a little human of your acquaintance this will be such a welcome relief and opportunity for some superlative light relief.

Highly recommended for small to medium humans from around 3 years upwards.

Evie and Pog: Party Perfect! [#3] – Tania McCartney

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Harper Collins Australia

April 2020

  • ISBN: 9781460757956
  • ISBN 10: 1460757955
  • Imprint: HarperCollins – AU
  • List Price: 12.99 AUD

The absolutely cute-as-buttons Evie and Pog are back in their third set of adventures ready to delight all those newly independent readers who are already in love with them.

Once again your little readers will love the familiar pattern which starts off each new adventure and in this book there are another three fun stories: Book Parade, Art Show Muddle and Party Time!

As we already know from their previous escapades Evie, Pog, Granny along with Noah, Mr Pooch and Miss Footlights often have extravagant plans which usually go somewhat awry but are always salvaged by the quick resourcefulness of the team, knitting and creative thinking.

First of all there’s the annual Book Parade, always such an exciting event, but Pog is not at all happy. He ALWAYS wins the Best Dressed Dog for his costumes but how can he possibly compete with all the new competitors from the Puppy School? Luckily Evie, Noah & co come up with the perfect costume and though, to Granny’s distress, it involves lots of messy making including GLITTER the competition is a triumph for Pog.

Next up is the Art Show and Evie is creating a huge artwork that represents their daisy-spot grass while Pog busies himself making a plan of the art show. It’s all going to be a huge success – well, that is until seven tiny kittens turn up unexpectedly and mayhem results with a tangle of wool, colour, fluffiness and little beady eyes. When Mr Arty Farty (don’t you just love it?!) arrives to judge the entries, Evie is so upset because her grand design looks completely and utterly ruined after a kitten-attack. You can imagine her surprise then when the snooty judge decides on a winner – and yes! Daisy-Spot Grass is the best of the show!

Finally the Puppy School is one year old and has been such a huge success for all that a party is definitely in order. But it’s not just a celebration for the puppies, it’s also Granny’s birthday so there is much excited preparation to be done. Pink lamingtons, gift baskets, a special trophy for the star doggy pupil and the return visit of Mr Arty Farty accompanied by the seven little kittens all make for a hilarious and rather chaotic village party.

Your little readers will laugh so much at the antics of this quirky crew of characters but there is also much to be gained in other ways such as thinking about solving problems, getting along with others, self-confidence and diverse friendships.

We just love Evie and Pog in our junior library and can’t wait to have the children back at school to see the great display that’s in the making. Tania McCartney’s talents as both writer and illustrator are always such a joy in any of her works and this new series is no exception.

Highly recommended for little humans from around six years upwards.

 

Click to access Evie-and-Pog-Teachers-Notes.pdf

The Happy Prisoner – Monica Dickens

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First published in 1946 I originally read this when a friend gave me  a copy as a birthday gift many (many!) years ago. I loved it so much and re-read it so often that the paperback disintegrated over time and was reluctantly abandoned.

A few weeks ago the wonderful Pat Pledger of ReadPlus invited some of us (t-l’s) to contribute to a ‘feel good’ reading list for the holidays and this was the first book that came into my head. I realised just how long it was since I had read it so immediately sourced a copy (it’s now out of print it seems). It arrived yesterday and I binge-read it last night and what a joy that was!

The Dickens talent for creating memorable characters touched with both drama and humour seems to be genetic and I’ve also enjoyed Monica’s other books – now about to source a copy of both One Pair of Hands and One Pair of Feet!

Here’s a precis -taken from GoodReads of this delightful excursion into post-war English family life.

 

It is the end of WW II and the household of Mrs. North, a well-to-do widow with a country cottage, is very busy. War circumstances brought both of her daughters home: loud but good-hearted tomboy, Violet, and highly-strung and over sensitive Heather with her two small children. Mrs. North is also taking care of her young niece, Evelyn, a lively child who loves to play on the local farm and has a great passion for animals. But at the center of all this is Oliver, Mrs. North’s only son who lost his leg during the war service abroad.

Recovering from his injuries, bed-ridden Oliver has nothing better to do but observe the busy lives of the people around him. Treated as a hero and a confidant by all the women in his family, Oliver begins to enjoy his new role as a self-proclaimed counselor. Due to his advice, Violet, an independent spinster, unexpectedly accepts the marriage proposal from a local farmer. Her wedding is a success and Violet finds a new happiness in her marriage, but soon Oliver’s meddling in his family affairs goes too far. Will his risky instructions save or ruin Heather’s marriage, which is at the brink of crisis, when her husband comes back from Australia after a few years of separation? Will Oliver learn to accept his new circumstances? Will he finally face to the reality and start to rebuild his own life?

In this compendium plot, Monica Dickens, with her typical attention to detail, humor and talent for creating vivid characters, explores complicated life stories of the close-knit family and their friends at the end of the war. The Happy Prisoner was first published in 1946.

Why not explore some Monica Dickens for yourself? In these rather anxiety-filled times, some light relief is so very welcome.

 

Fabio the World’s Greatest Detective: Peril at Lizard Lake – Laura James. Illustrated by Emily Fox

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9781408889374

Bloomsbury Australia

March 2020

ISBN: 9781408889374
Imprint: Bloomsbury Children’s Books

RRP: $12.99

 

I do love Fabio – the Hercule Poirot of the flamingo species – and though the kids who read it may not really get that connection these books are still really good fun.  Together with his rather dopey offsider the rather gullible Gerald (read Hastings) he is launched into a new mystery when a terrible water shortage hits not only Laloozee but the near countryside as well.

Of course the adventure doesn’t start out as a mystery rather it starts with Gerald’s purchase of a bi-plane and his immediate decision to take Fabio on a joyride. Naturally, being Gerald he doesn’t think to check the fuel tank before launching the pair skyward and the inevitable happens when they need to make a forced landing just near a small but remote village. With the new plane slightly pranged it’s a lucky chance to come across a capable mechanic lion called Molly but while the plane is being repaired, events escalate as the pair realises that there is something very wrong indeed about this growing and worrying shortage of water.

Suspicions turn to one character after another with the prerequisite red herrings one expects in a Christie-ish mystery but not for nothing is Fabio ranked the world’s greatest detective – he is well able to ferret out the real villains and save the day.

I repeat – jolly good fun! And perfect for those newly independent readers looking for a narrative with a bit more complexity. I just love the eye-popping flouro colours used in these as well – this one hot pink and citrus yellow!

Highly recommended for your younger readers from around Year 2 upwards.