Posts Tagged ‘Humerous stories’

Middle School: Jacky Ha-Ha by James Patterson. illus. Chris Grabenstein.

May 16, 2016 Comments off

jackie hahaMiddle School: Jacky Ha-Ha by James Patterson. illus. Chris Grabenstein. Pub. Penguin,Random House, 2016.

Another little gem from the author and illustrator who have brought the Middle School series of comedy novels to reluctant boy and girl readers who like stories of kids their own age doing weird and wonderful things. All in the best possible taste of course. If you took all the jokes that are in these novels you would have a one person comedy show.

Middle schooler Jacky Ha-Ha tells this story on the eve of the Academy Awards in which she is a nominee for best actress. She writes to tell her daughters of her childhood with all the antics she played, all the mistakes she made, all the fun she had doing it and all the wonderful teachers parents and family who supported her along the way.

It starts with a vow she made one night after climbing a ferris wheel, a stunt she later repeats with different results and then moves though her part as Snoopy in the play Your a good man Charlie Brown and a speech she made in a competition in which she has to overcome a stuttering impediment.

It ends with the outcome of the Academy Awards but you will have to read the novel to find out what happens. Good family values and lots of laughs. What kept me going was wanting to know if her hunk of a father was two timing with the prettiest girl on the beach.

Have fun reading this. lots of theatre talk and as always Chris Grabenstein’s illustrations enhance the plot and the characterisation and add another dimension to the humour.

Exploding Endings Bk2. Dingbats & lollypop Arms by Tim Harris

May 10, 2016 Comments off

exploding endingsExploding Endings Bk2. Dingbats & lollypop Arms by Tim Harris. Pub. New Holland, 2016.

Australia seems to throw these great short story writers who tell poo bum wees short stories for primary and intermediate kids. Paul Jennings and Andy Griffiths have gone before, now it is Tim Harris.

This is part 2 of the Exploding Endings and there is a book 3 on the way.

Ten short stories and two running gag like stories make up this anthology and they are all out of the imagination from way beyond. It starts with 79 excuses for talking in class with the best being “its not me. I swallowed my ipod and it’s blurting out of my mouth”.

The Husky Busker provides a bit of the weird factor and the GPS Pest is about a mother who keeps track of her boy using GPS. very embarrassing.

The running gag stories are Left page versus Right page with a bit of biffo between the two and the Doctor genre in which a different type of Doctor treats the same boy for a bad cold. Lots of laughs in this.

Great for reluctant readers.


The Discombobulated Life of Summer Rain by Julie Lamb.

April 11, 2016 Comments off

summer rainThe Discombobulated Life of Summer Rain by Julie Lamb. Pub Makaro press, 2016.

Summer Rain is 12 years old and in year 8 at a country school. She is a bit of a tomboy, likes to make the boys laugh and struggles with having girl friends. She is worldly wise, has a terrific but bizarre sense of humour and is very self sufficient. She has to be.

Her mother ran off when she was very young, her father was unable to cope so she has been brought up by her grandfather, Pop. He is a stingy old codger with some very blokish habits and attitudes, hence Summer is a Tom Boy.

Summer is changing from girlhood into womanhood and she is a bit uncomfortable about it all, but in the course of the novel this changes.

There are a host of strange yet appealing characters that Summer relates to especially Juanita a girl Summer regards as up herself, then there is Apple who is as close to a witch as you can get, in the best possible taste of course. But the character that really gets up Summer’s nose is Mrs Macy. She is an old flirt who is after her Pop because she thinks he has money. You will have to read the book to find out what happens.

Told with some relish and enthusiasm by Julie Lamb. Her language is vibrant with imagery that is original and witty. I think she has read Margaret Mahy and the book has this feel about it. The word discombobulated has that Mahy essence about it. This is not a criticism as I am glad that the Mahy mantle has been taken up. I may be wrong.

Will have wide appeal to girls in particular but boys would be silly not to try this book out too. Female relationships have always fascinated me and this book will fascinate you.

Primary and intermediate readers but adults who read this novel will get some of the more earthy humour.

Bicycling to the Moon by Timo Parvela, illus. Virpi Talvitie.

March 16, 2016 Comments off

bicycling moonBicycling to the Moon by Timo Parvela, illus. Virpi Talvitie. Pub.Gecko Press, 2016.

One of the best books I have read this year and possibly one of the best books ever.

It is a laid back series of stories about a cat named Purdy and a dog named Barker who live together in a blue house at the top of a green hill where the forest meets the sky.

It is said that dogs have a master and that cats have staff but it is never mentioned that the two can be friends. Purdy is an artistic, sensitive sophisticated being a trifle lazy but very determined when he wants to do something. Barker is energetic and organised and works first before fun. Barker runs the house and Purdy lets him do it.

They have friends in the village with names like Henny Cluckington and Daisy Butterfield who often come into their lives. The stories of their lives together over a full year  are philosophy itself. My favourite is the singing competition in which Purdy imagines he has a magnificient voice and Barker has the reluctant and unenviable task as judge.

You will have a grin on your face from start to finish.

Virpi Talvitie’s illustrations perfectly capture the nature of Purdy and Barker and add to the adventures and experiences they have.

A good read-a-loud to juniors and for independent reading for everybody else. You will kick yourself if you miss this one.

Adventures of a Bowling Shoe by Tom Rozek

December 4, 2015 Comments off

bowling shoeAdventures of a Bowling Shoe by Tom Rozek.

This short novel for middle school children is a hoot. I had a smile on my face through all 85 pages and you will too.

The novel is zany, perceptive about the human condition and funny. It is written to be read. 32 short chapters with an illustration by Zach Wideman at the head of each chapter.

It is the story of Jim a piece of cow skin that is cured and made into a size 12 left bowling shoe. He deals with smelly feet, having food and bowling balls dropped on him and the taunts of other bowling shoes.

Life is not great but he sticks with it. He befriends the cockroaches that live in the bowling alley where he works and they give him a lifeline to fulfill his one dream. On the way from the cow to being a shoe he met another piece of cow skin named Sally and wants to meet her again. Read this novel to see if he does.

Two additional chapters can be found at

Travels of an Extraordinary Hamster by Astrid Desbordes. Illus. Pauline Martin

April 30, 2015 Comments off

travels hampsterTravels of an Extraordinary Hamster by Astrid Desbordes. Illus. Pauline Martin. Pub. Gecko Press, 2015.

Your going to love this fully coloured chapter book told entirely in pictures with speech bubbles. It is from France and is about a totally self obsessed Hamster and his wonderful friends. Without his friends hamster would be lost.

In the first 3 page chapter Hamster’s friends, mole, hedgehog, rabbit, squirrel, bear and snail, invite him to join them for a snack and a chat. Hamster can do without a chat but takes a snack away for himself. Don’t you just love people like that? But somehow you love him just as hamster’s friends do.

They are all invited by polar bear to visit him on his ice floe, so they leave their cosy clearing with the reluctant hamster for a holiday. Nothing changes hamster he is consistently anal.

Splendidly illustrated by Pauline Martin who captures the character of all the animals with simple colourful drawings with expressive eyes.

This book is for everyone but essentially an early reader for primary school children. You will not be surprised to learn that Astrid Desbordes studied philosophy.

Timmy Failure: We Meet Again by Stephan Pastis.

October 20, 2014 Comments off

timmy failureTimmy Failure: We Meet Again by Stephan Pastis. Pub. Walker Books, 2014.

This book is totally weird but full of home spun wisdom and a load of laughs.

Timmy Failure has an unfortunate name but he is saved from failure by an incredible imagination. He has the gift of the gab and a sense of the absurd that gets him out of uncool situations. Underneath he is unsure, he is scared, he is facing the world without a father and he is a reluctant student.

He lives with his very understanding mother who goes along with his quirky behaviour including being suspended from school, and goes along with his make believe friend and business partner Total the polar bear.

Timmy is a detective and is on the trail of a Science Report that he wants to use in an assignment instead of doing it himself. Unfortunately he is paired with his arch rival, a girl he calls the beast and runs by the name of Corrina Corrina. Timmy is find out that the two of them are more alike than either cares to admit.

School Camp is a hoot. This book is for reluctant boy readers at primary and intermediate school and those with a sense of the bizaare. Those that liked the Wimpy Kid and Big Nate will love this book.

The cartoon characters have their own style and add to the humour of the novel.

Adults will love the musicality of some of the chapter headings and of course Timmy’s arch rival-” Corrina Corrina i love you so”…

You can do it Bert ! by Ole Konnecke

August 18, 2014 Comments off

you can do it bertYou can do it Bert ! by Ole Konnecke.  Gecko Press, 2014.

This is my kind on picture book. Simple, minimal written text, bold illustrations, food for thought and a brilliant sense of humour.

We have all got ourselves into a position where you have to put your money where your mouth is. So it is with Bert. Bert is a young bird going to take a death defying leap from the branch of a tree into the great unknown.

He is determined to do it but gets the jitters. His friends are encouraging but Bert is playing it cool. Something to eat to emphasise his coolness. A banana will do and the skin can go where he is going.

A determined run along the branch, arm across the eyes and bonanza.

Read it and find out what happens. When you do follow the progress of the banana skin.

Outstanding. Good themes of taking risks, friends, fun and a sense of humour.

Ole Konnecke grew up in Sweden and writes in Hamburg Germany. he has won prizes for his works. I’m glad he does, he deserves it

The Lazy Friend by Ronan Badel

April 28, 2014 Comments off

lazy friendThe Lazy Friend by Ronan Badel. Pub. Gecko Press, 2014.

The beauty of a wordless picture book is that you can put your own words to it and tell the story as you see it. So that is what i am going to do. You may tell it differently.

Sloth, snake, toucan and tree frog are friends, Sloth clings to a tree asleep while his friends play cards. A huge wind comes and blows the tree down requiring a forester to cut the tree up and load it onto a lorry. Sloth sleeps on while his friends look on concerned.

Snake goes to see what he can do, I thought toucan would have been a better bet, but I was proved wrong. Snake is cunning and eludes the forester and sloth sleeps on. The truck ride is over testing terrain and the log with sloth still asleep falls off the back into a fast flowing river. Snake is still in attendance. Persued by crocodiles the log with sloth still asleep and snake hanging on, goes over a waterfall. You can read the rest yourself.

Outstanding story that ends brilliantly. The illustrations tell it all. Bright greens and browns of the rainforest with a beautiful sunrise and riverbank scene at the end.

Great for teaching English and to study ecology of an endangered ecosystem. Friendship and humour are among the themes. It is for me a 10 out of 10 book. Every school should have this and it is perfect for the home. Let the children tell their own stories.

99 Flavours of Suck by Tania Hutley

August 6, 2012 Comments off

99 Flavours of Suck by Tania Hutley. Pub. Scholastic, 2012.

This is one crazy story. Kane is 15 years old, he has a best mate called Jase, a girl friend Pippa who makes him sweat with desire, a mother who is a TV celebrity as a dog whisperer and he is allergic to dogs.

Kane likes to make girls laugh but he can’t get a girlfriend to lock lips with. He fancies Pippa but she seems more keen on his mate Jase.

While on a shoot with his mother he is licked on the hand by a hairy man and bitten on the bum by a dog while relieving himself in a creek. After an embarrassing appearance on his mother’s tv show he declines into absurd behaviour.

Kane feels he is turning into a werewolf. Then  the gorgeous Angela turns up.

A good laugh for teens who have a sense of the ridiculous.