Tag Archives: humor

The Mutts Spring Diaries by Patrick McDonnell

Mutts created by Patrick McDonnell is one of those comic strips that pleases people of all ages, one which parents can read even to the youngest child without worrying about the content.

In The Mutts Spring Diaries, McDonnell has gathered various strips appropriate for Springtime and put them in one volume. Intended for children, these colorful comics are drawn with yellow lined paper in the background, reminding the reader of a school’s legal tablet.

We have two best friends who are often found together – Earl, a sweet little dog, and Mooch, a cat with a speech impediment. Together they regularly visit the butcher and the local school as well as spend time outdoors or, on rainy days, stare out the window. Sometimes the adorable little birds nesting in a nearby tree make an appearance and even the threatening guard dog (despite his chain) gets some loving from a sweet little girl who visits him on her way home from school. Mooch is featured affectionately playing with a little pink sock and also makes an apoearance as the see it all, know it all – The Mighty Shphinx, demonstrating wisdom with wit:

You will never schmake any progress until you get over all your phobias
I was afraid you’d say that

The humor tends to be the groaning type:

I’m a snapping turtle.
I didn’t even know turtles had fingers!

Veni vidi Oinki – Pig Latin

(When talking to a chicken): Pardon the fowl language.

Cute as a button, what’s not to love. Four stars and a thank you to Netgalley for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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If You Give a Man a Cookie: A Parady by Laura Joffe Numeroff, illustrated by Duane Ajhar

Who better to write a take off on the well known children’s book, If You Give A Mouse A Cookie, than the original author Laura Joffe Numeroff, and she doesn’t disappoint with her new picture book, If You Give A Man A Cookie: A Parody. The 32 pages of tongue in cheek stereotypical behaviors Is perfect for those who have a sense of humor and love all things absurd. Of course, if a man wants a cookie, he’ll also need some milk and when he’s done he’ll simply put the empty milk carton back in the fridge and so on. The illustrator is Duane Ajhar who has created these comical adult oriented caricatures (as compared to the original artist Felicia Bond’s whimsical drawings meant for children). Of note is the man’s companion, a dog, whose antics are included in the story. Unfortunately, the jocularity is a little advanced for most small children, as this publication is geared towards a more mature crowd. While perfect as a bridal shower or gag gift, I don’t see a huge audience for this title, and some men (or even women) might find it a tad offensive, especially when Numeroff suggests the man “drag his sorry ass out of bed and get it himself”. What fun!

Four stars and a thank you to Netgalley for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Big Mushy Happy Lump by Sarah Andersen

The illustrations are simplistic, the text fairly simple, the humor due to real life experiences – hey, why couldn’t I write an award winning book like that?

Yet it was Sarah Andersen that, through her Sarah’s Scribbles (this the second book of the series), brings us the further adventures of her alter ego in Big Mushy Happy Lump. Imagine getting the 2017 Goodreads Choice Award in Graphic Novels for writing down your worst neuroses and projecting them on to a cartoon character. Just the joys and more importantly, the angst, of being female can easily fill a book with plenty left for future editions. What’s so humorous is that the subject matter is so familiar – just everyday stuff exaggerated to the nth degree. Light hearted every day situations where one is able to laugh at themselves when life doesn’t quite go as planned. Perhaps a little too close to the truth, this is more a smile than a laugh out loud book, but a good way to escape the normal routines.

Three stars and a thank you to Netgalley and Andrew McMeel Publishing for providing a temporary copy of this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Still Me by JoJo Moyes

The thing about author JoJo Moyes is she has the rare talent of making the characters in her novels come alive drawing the reader into the story and leaving them anxious to continue their relationship with these “old” friends.

That is why so many of us can’t wait to read Still Me, a continuation of the saga of Louisa Clark which began with Me Before You where she falls in love and “loses” Will Traynor, a quadriplegic in her care. In After You, Louisa tries to recover from her heartbreaking loss but her plans are interrupted by a life shattering fall from her rooftop where she meets Sam, the paramedic on the scene who assures her that she will survive this ordeal.

That’s the story of Lou’s life, one disaster after another, many due to her big heart which opens her up to the hurts of the world. While her relationship with Sam is definitely moving in the right direction, the voice of Will whispers in her ear to live big and experience life – “Live boldly, Clark” – so when the opportunity pops up to move from her home in London to New York City to be an assistant to a high profile businessman’s wife who has some emotional issues, Louisa packs up and heads out for a new adventure.

In Still Me, Louisa does not disappoint as she deals with her host/hostess and tries to find her place within the confines of Manhattan. Her task is not easy, but she has Nathan, the coworker from her time with Will, as well as a friendship with Ashok, the ever present doorman, and his family who are trying to save the local public library in Washington Heights. She even develops an uneasy peace with Mrs De Witt, the crabby neighbor with a pug dog who constantly complains about everything. Maintaining a long distance relationship with Sam is more difficult than either of them expected with complications at both ends, including Joshua Ryan, a dead ringer for Will who keeps popping up in unexpected places. Yet Louisa handles life with integrity remaining true to her own ideals and discovering an inner strength and fortitude which helps her through the ultimate crap life keeps throwing in her path. Her quirky sense of style, including a pair of bumblebee tights, somehow seems right in a city where everyone has their own point of view, and helps her find other fashion enthusiasts who appreciate her vintage tastes.

The reader also touches base with characters from both of the previous novels along with some new faces, allowing us to bone up on the “gossip” about their current doings. While you don’t need to be familiar with the first two books in the series, there are constant references to previous events which might be confusing to the first time reader. It is surprising that so much has occurred over the three year span between the beginning of book one to the end of book three, but the whirlwind of activity makes for some fine reading.

Even though I was able to predict a lot of the hassles Lou faced, there were still a few “ah ha” moments, but either way, as a lover of soap operas, I couldn’t wait to discover the details of the next chapter in her life (and I wasn’t disappointed). I am aching to discuss my favorites parts of this story, including the letters, but am resigned to wait for my friends to catch up and read Still Me for themselves. Five stars and a thank you to Netgalley for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review. This review also appears on Goodreads.

Big Nate: A Good Old-Fashioned Wedgie by Lincoln Peirce

Nate Wright is back searching for romance by putting little notes on each girl’s locker, helping his friend Chad lose some weight, and playing baseball on a team called the Cream Puffs. It’s the end of another school year, time for yearbook signatures then summer vacation with baseball, the beach, and a trip to the fair. Gramps visits, Nate earns money so he can go to the movies, and his dog Spitsy continues to be an embarrassment. Ever unsuccessful in his various attempts at courtship, poor Nate is rejected by the new pitcher Lila, who already has a boyfriend, as well as his former love, Jenny, who’s back in town and still with foreign exchange student Artur. Yet he has hope, so Nate takes on the role of Private Eye to discover who wrote the scrap of note he found which must indicate there’s an admirer out there.

Big Nate: A Good Old-Fashioned Wedgie by Lincoln Peirce is full of word plays, poetry, jokes, and humor achieved by taking ordinary events experienced by preteens and creating a twist which brings a smile and even a laugh to the reader. Nate is both clever and an idiot at the same time as he deals with not only his nemesis Mrs Godfrey (she always has the last word) but his sister Ellen, his dad, Randy the school bully, and tattle tale Gina. With his tag along friends, Albert and Francis, Nate finds himself in questionable situations, but he never gives up even if his actions result in an old fashioned wedgie.

My favorite sequence is when Nate is trying to adjust to summer vacation but keeps waking up at 6:30 in the morning. His solution: staying up all night watching TV and drinking Mountain Dew so he can finally sleep in until 9:30. Unfortunately it’s PM not AM. Dad comments,”Time to readjust your readjustment.”

A quick fun read perfect for middle schoolers who will relate to Big Nate’s angst.

A thank you to Netgalley for a copy of this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Timmy Failure: The Book You Are Not Supposed to Have By Stephan Pastis (Timmy Failure, #5)

Timmy Failure is a child detective, or he was until his mother forbad him to continue his agency, at least until the end of the school year. Who knew the teachers would go on strike and the school year would be extended with substitutes filling the vacancies. This all meant that Timmy would have to surreptitiously run his business and find another place to have his office so his mother doesn’t find out and ground him. He discovers the perfect location to run his operation after a visit to Home Despot – one of the sheds for sale in the store parking lot. Complications ensue – his partner is eating up the profits by snarfing down $1.00 hot dogs, his mother decides he needs piano lessons, his mode of transportation is a tricycle with a banner proclaiming “Bras For Sale”, he has to share a bedroom with two “loons” (his female cousins on a protracted visit), and his mom is getting married to Doorman Dave. When his best friend disappears and is presumed dead, Timmy must use his wiles to discover which of his many enemies did the deed. With the help of new assistant, Molly, Timmy goes undercover to examine each of the potential murderers.

Timmy Failure: The Book You Are Not Supposed to Have is the fifth book in the Timmy Failure series by Stephan Pastis, author of the syndicated cartoon Pearls Before Swine. This book is along the vein of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, not quite a graphic novel, but full of Pastis illustrations using his unique trademark style. There is quite a bit of subtle humor such as Timmy’s roly poly best friend whose last name is Tookus, and some not so subtle plot events where Timmy tears apart the orthodontist’s gift stuffed tooth looking for a microphone (Timmy dodges a bullet there because he is too young for braces). This book is sure to delight the middle schooler as they relate to Timmy’s misadventures and actions which can only be described as stupid or ridiculous. Timmy’s over the top behaviors and the adult responses to his actions are sure to tickle the funny bone of the typical preteen. However, as an adult, it was too many groans and “oh, no – you didn’t” responses to find the plot of this book truly enjoyable. I guess there is a tipping point for some where childish humor is no longer appreciated. Of course, there are many who love this sort of ridiculousness at any age and those are the fans who need to read this series.

Three and a half stars and a thank you to Netgalley for a copy of this ARC in exchange for an honest review. This review also appears on Goodreads.

Killing O’Reilly: A Parady (A Vintage Short Original) by Courtney Bowman and Nicholas Bowman.

A bunch of smiles, quite a few grimaces, and an occasional laugh out loud encompassed my reading enjoyment of Killing O’Reilly: A Parady (A Vintage Short Original) by Courtney Bowman and Nicholas Bowman. This tongue ‘n check play on the Bestselling Killing Book Series of Bill O’Reilly is a good way to spend an afternoon with a chuckle or two. It’s not surprising that an author from Harvard Lampoon’s Nightlight couldn’t resist poking fun at the straight laced O’Reilly who has put his own spin on historical events, interjecting his unique brand of commentary, even if it goes counter to the facts. So whereas O’Reilly’s Killing Books include Lincoln, Kennedy, Patton, and Jesus, this parady looks fifteen other deaths, both real and imagined, including Bin Laden (he started eating gluten again), Reagan (Alzheimer’s was on the loose), Hitler (Adolph got him) Dinosaurs (#PotKilledDinosaurs), Albus Dumbledore (J K Rowling needs to rewrite this one), and anybody else who has aggravated Papa Bear (shame on Sister Adelaide for the audacity of giving Bill a time out for talking), until finally it’s O’Reilly’s turn to meet his maker (although he has some conditions upon his entry into heaven). Although there were lots of little “insider” jokes, the funniest bit was the depiction of a meal Bill had with friends Rush, Anne, Hannity, Glenn, and other Fox Commentators. This eBook, short at about a hundred pages (many containing “supporting documents”) is a quick read with more smiles than laughs and a bit of intentional stupidity, but still entertaining. Three stars, despite the fact that fans of Papa Bear probably won’t like this one. The rest of us will have to pick up the slack.

A thank you to Netgalley and Vintage Books for this ARC in exchange for a honest review.