Archive for the ‘Humor’ category

Tips for Writing Humor

March 23, 2017

You have an idea for a great picture book. It’s a funny idea. It’s so funny that tears of laughter run down your cheeks. You know this is the manuscript that will put your writing over the top, and you’ll soon be bringing in the big bucks. Go for it. Get that manuscript down on paper and get it out to the masses.

But before you begin on your laugh-out-loud masterpiece, here are a few tips you may want to keep in mind. There are elements in every humorous picture book that contribute to the humor.

Peter Pearson, the author of How to Eat an Airplane, knows humor. He suggests several ways it can be used in picture books. Humor happens when things don’t go together, when characters do unexpected things, when there is a unique premise, or when something totally unexpected happens. Humor also has to do with timing, pacing, and language.

With language, a variety of techniques can be incorporated into your writing to add humor. Think personification, alliteration, repetition, lively verbs, rhythm, rhyme, and onomatopoeia. Remember, too, that as a picture book, a child should be able to relate to it, and it should move along quickly with perfect page turns. And don’t forget to leave room for the illustrator to do his magic. Above all, your book needs to have some emotional level to which the reader can relate. It has to have heart!

There you go – tips for writing humor. They may sound simple, but simple is often deceiving. Get thee to a library and read all the humorous picture books you can find. In fact, read all types of picture books and then read some more.

Check out my last post for some examples of humor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Books and Humor

March 16, 2017

Humor is my armor. I tend to use it when something frightens me, when I’m nervous, when something sad happens, or when I just feel silly. So it may not surprise you that when it comes to picture books, humor is my first choice. A book that makes me laugh fills my heart with joy.

I’m participating in the fabulous Reading for Research Month Challenge (ReFoReMo). Informative daily posts accompanied by a list of mentor texts are provided for participants to read, research, and learn more about writing. I’m loving the list of books provided. Since I’m addicted to humorous books, below are a few of my favorites. If you want to put a smile on your face, check out these books.

Clever Humor

sparky

Sparky! written by Jenny Offill and illustrated by Chris Appelhans, Schwartz & Wade Books

worm

Diary of a Worm written by Doreen Cronin and illustrated by Harry Bliss, HarperCollins

Laugh Out Loud Funny

yam

I Yam A Donkey!  written and illustrated by Cece Bell, Clarion Books

bruce

Mother Bruce written and illustrated by Ryan T. Higgins, Disney-Hyperion

Simple Comic Humor

dust

Rhyming Dust Bunnies written and illustrated by Jan Thomas, Beach Lane Books

shh

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

bark

Bark, George written and illustrated by Jules Feiffer, HarperCollins

Quirky

i want

I Want My Hat Back written and illustrated by Jon Klassen, Candlewick Press

this is

This is Not My Hat written and illustrated by Jon Klassen, Candlewick Press

we found

We Found a Hat written and illustrated by Jon Klassen, Candlewick Press

Cut to the Humor

February 23, 2017

Humor:  The quality of being amusing or comic, especially as expressed in literature or speech; a mood or state of mind.

growing

We Are Growing! is a beginning reader written and illustrated by Laurie Keller. Some people (adults) may not find this book humorous. Kids certainly will. I, an adult with a child-like sense of humor, find this book hilarious! The main characters are seven blades of grass and one weed that grow. If you can’t see the humor in grass and a weed growing, then you don’t know Laurie Keller and her work. Ms. Keller’s artistic expression shines in the distinctive personalities she gives to each of her characters. To further convey humor, she incorporates various elements – onomatopoeic words, speech bubbles, and superlative forms of words used by the main characters to describe themselves. And then there are those cute little bugs that make an appearance. When the blades of grass realize they’re growing in very different ways, they each find a quality that makes them exceptional in one way or another. Only one blade of grass can’t decide what he is. Time is of the essence because there is a loud buzzing noise headed for the grass. (The horror of it all!) Don’t worry. In the end, all turns out well. With spare text and repetition, this is a perfect book for beginning readers, but don’ let the simplicity of it fool you. This book is as much for adults as it is for children. Kids will see it as silly, and if you’re an adult, subliminal layers of humor are there for the taking. Mo Willems’ Elephant and Piggie characters give this book a great send-off and an “end-off.” As Elephant and Piggie say, “This book is the FUNNIEST!”

By the way, Laurie Keller’s book We Are Growing! won the 2017 Theodor Seuss Geisel Award for the most distinguished beginning reader. Who’s laughing now?

 

 

 


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