Tuesday, May 1, 2012

IF YOU ARE NOT A PICTURE BOOK JUNKIE FREAKAZOID LIKE ME, DON’T READ THIS ARTICLE. REALLY.


Oh.  Hello, remaining freakazoids.

 
Check out these blockbuster award-winning best-selling top-flight PICTURE BOOKS for short people:  Don’t let the Pigeon Drive the Bus is funny. So are Knuffle Bunny, The Stinky Cheese Man and other Fairly Stupid Tales, The Stupids Step Out, The Beast of Monsieur Racine, I Want My Hat Back, and Everything on It. Those 3 miniature females named Olivia, Madeline, and Eloise are funny too.  And Click, Clack, Moo, Joseph had a Little Overcoat, Frog and Toad are Friends, It Could Always be Worse, and everything Dr. Seuss ever wrote in his entire life are even funnier.  

 
Funny is fun.  I love funny…..who doesn’t?  But do you notice something weird about this list? Of course you do.  These hilarious picture book blockbusters are all FICTION! I know there must be funny blockbuster roll-on-the-floor-laughing nonfiction picture books out there, but where ARE they? 
 
Well, let me see….John, Paul, George & Ben is funny, and at the end it tells you which parts were fiction and which parts were nonfiction.  Does that count?  So You Want to Be President? is funny too.  Can you guys think of any other hilarious blockbuster nonfiction picture books that I left out?  I hope so. True stuff doesn’t have to be all solemn and serious and sedate, you know.

 So let's make this post short and sweet.  Of course the truth ain't always funny; far from it. And of course picture books don’t always have to be funny either, any more than they have to be all pompous and self-important. But funny stuff is all around us everywhere we look.  It's good for our health.  I even think the daily news is funny after I stop crying about it.  (Or maybe all the stuff they say in the news is fictional anyway.)  Oh well.  Funny can work in nonfiction.  I'm sure of it.  So why not write more of it? 
 
Well truth be told, I personally try to plunk funny pictures and stories into my books all the time, and so do some of our other INK authors, even when our main topics are serious.  A little humor that just so happens to be true can bring real people and events to life, and lots of famous people in books had a great sense of humor or had funny things happen to them.   But a little humor may not be enough.  I’m seriously contemplating making a 100% funny nonfiction picture book so that I can be seriously funny if that's possible....who can say?  And what it will be about I have no idea. I can't wait!!!

6 comments:

Gretchen Woelfle said...

I gave a talk on humor in nf a few years ago, but can't find it now, and can't remember what books I talked about(!) Some of the poop and body parts books bring on the giggles. And April Pulley Sayre's chant books on fish, insects, and her latest Rah Rah Radishes and Go Go Grapes, while not fall-on-the-floor funny, do generate smiles and chuckles, especially when kids chant along. I agree that we need more funny in nf!

creatingcuriouskids said...

I'm thinking of "What to Expect When You're Expecting Larvae," but it's a bit beyond a picture book. Some of Gene Barrett's books are funny, like "Now and Ben" and Neo Leo." Hmmm.

Sandy Brehl said...

And concept books are a great category for non-fiction. This week I have a post about the new Z Is For Moose by Kelly Bingham and Paul O. Zelinsky. In an interview with them for next week's post she says that's how the book was born: her four-year-old got tired of ABC books and wanted a funny one!

TheGloop said...

"Manners mash-up" is a fabulous and very silly collection of etiquette tips with illustrations from artists like Adam Rex and Bob Shea. Super goofy/real advice about everything from not picking your nose or playing fair, etc.

Rosalyn Schanzer said...

Fun list of books, everyone....thanks! Once upon a time in 2002 I did a funny NF picture book called How Ben Franklin Stole the Lightning, so it was interesting to see Gene Barrett's take on Franklin in Now and Ben a few years later. Since Lane Smith got in on the Ben act too with his book John, Paul, George and Ben, I guess our great American patriot makes good fodder for humor.

Rosalyn Schanzer said...

Fun list of books, everyone....thanks! Once upon a time in 2002 I did a funny NF picture book called How Ben Franklin Stole the Lightning, so it was interesting to see Gene Barrett's take on Franklin in Now and Ben a few years later. Since Lane Smith got in on the Ben act too with his book John, Paul, George and Ben, I guess our great American patriot makes good fodder for humor.