Lisa Wheeler is the witty, charming and much-loved author of SEADOGS (illustrated by Mark Siegel), SAILOR MOO (illustrated by Ponder Goembel), and many other funny books for kids!
How do you know when what you write is funny?
I write what makes me laugh. If it cracks me up, it’ll probably crack up a 6 year-old. I’m not that complex.
Do you have any tips for writing funny books?
Use comedic timing. Don’t belabor the point. Think of how a standup comic uses timing to tell a joke. You have to get in and out of a joke while it’s still funny. Check out Turk And Runt. I think it is a good example of comedic timing in a picture book.
Has being funny ever gotten you into or out of trouble?
I’m not funny enough to create such an impact. But being too serious has caused its share of headaches.
What are some of your favorite funny books?
Mr. Wolf’s Pancakes, The Scrambled States of America, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, all the Junie B. Jones books, There Was An Old Woman, The Captain Underpants series, Bark, George!,.. I could go on and on. But my bookcase is in my daughter’s room and she’s still sleeping (plus, it looks like a bomb hit her room). These are the titles you get off the top of my head.
If you could live in one of your books, which one would you choose?
Just one? I suppose I’d pick Sailor Moo. Not only did she get to go to sea (I love the ocean!), she also ended up living on the beach and meeting the bull of her dreams. What a great life!
Who do you like more, The Marx Bros or Three Stooges?
I pick the Stooges because I’ve seen more of their movies, and I do a wicked Curly Shuffle. Nyuck, nyuck, nyuck.
What was your best Halloween costume?
A cat costume my mom made when I was a kid. It was made out of a faux fur sofa cover and had a huge paper mache’ head with glow-in-the-dark eyes. I couldn’t see a thing out the eye-holes. It was great!
What is your Dream Job For a Day?
Pop star diva. Like, maybe Janet Jackson. I wish I could sing, dance and look gorgeous all at the same time. (But I'll keep my own brothers, thank-you-very-much.)
Clown V. Mime Deathmatch. Pick your winner.
Hmmmmm…tough call. Clowns are inherently evil, and yet mimes need to die. Someone has to lose, but a mime is a terrible thing to waste.
Funniest dead person you’d like to meet?
Gilda Radnor. Her SNL characters are so memorable and hysterical. I'd just like to say Thanks for the laughs.