Monday, October 23, 2006

In the Coop with Lisa Yee

A Three Silly Chicks Interview

Lisa Yee is the comic-quirky-brilliant author of MILLICENT MIN, GIRL GENIUS and STANFORD WONG FLUNKS BIG-TIME. The Three Silly Chicks are absolutely crazy about her, even though she occasionally tortures peeps.



How do you know when what you write is funny?


My daughter claims that I'm always cracking myself up. It's true. For example, I'll be in the grocery store and remember something weird, like the time broccoli came out of my nose, and start laughing. This causes the people near me to slowly move away.

I am aware that things I find funny, others might not. (My husband thinks that objects that come out of other people's noses are disgusting. BTW, it is my theory that in relationships there is always one person who doesn't mind looking at someone's scab, and another who totally squeamish.) Oh dear. I'm drifting. Back to funny. I guess I'm always afraid people won't get my sense of humor. It's so quirky. So I test it out on my family. If they laugh, then it's good. If I have to explain it to them, then it's not.

Do you have any tips for writing funny books?

The best way to write a funny book is to write an unfunny book first. By that I mean, the story has to hold up without the humor. There needs to be emotion and pathos in it. Well, not all funny books, but the ones I like best. The ones that are about a character we care about, and not just a slapstick situation.

To test this, take out your best jokes or funniest parts. Does the story still hold up? If yes, then you've created a wonderful foundation to build the humor on.

Has being funny ever gotten you into or out of trouble?

Yes.

What are some of your favorite funny books?

On the adult side: I am a HUGE fan of Anne Lamott and David Sedaris's essays. I enjoy the twisted humor of Edward Gorey, and the quirky characters from James Wilcox's books. Anne Tyler is hysterical, in a very quiet way. And I recently read QUEEN OF THE ODDBALLS by Hillary Carlip. I liked it so much I sent her a fan letter.

On the kid side: SOMETIMES I'M BOMBALOO by Rachel Vail and Yumi Heo wonderfully combines visual humor with irony. D.L. Garfinkle took an embarrassing situation and crafted it into a LOL story with STORKY. You can't beat Calvin and Hobbs for sheer delight. I adored the humor, emotion and angst in ABSOLUTELY POSITIVELY NOT . . . by David LaRochelle. And I love all things Beverly Cleary.

If you could live in one of your books, which one would you choose?

Both my first two novels (and number three, SO TOTALLY EMILY EBERS) take place in the imaginary town of Rancho Rosetta in Southern California. They are overlapping stories. I idealized Rancho Rosetta because I felt the kids had enough angst in their lives, and I didn't want to have to have them worry about safety and bad guys and taxes and pollution and whatnot and therefore.

However, my forth novel, CHARM SCHOOL DROPOUT (Arthur A. Levine Books, 2008) takes place in Kissimmee, FL and Hollywood, CA. So, I guess of those places, I'd live in the imaginary town of Rancho Rosetta and hang out with Millie, Emily and Stanford.

Who do you like more, The Marx Bros or Three Stooges?

The Marx Brothers. I love wordplay.

What was your best Halloween costume?

One year, in college, I wore one of my mom's old pink taffeta cocktail dresses, long gloves, and lots of (fake) pearls. I hardly ever dress up, so it felt very chic and irreverent at the same time. I suppose if I wore that today I'd look like Gwen Steffani, minus the blonde hair, musical abilities, and clothing line.

What is your Dream Job for a Day?

To be an author on the day the first hardcover copy of your book arrives in the mail. Oh wait, that's really happened!!! (It is sooooo surreal and totally cool.)

Clown V. Mime Deathmatch. Pick your winner.

Oh dear. This is a tough one. I don't suppose they can cancel each other out? Hmmmm, I have to really think here. I am scared of clowns, but mimes also freak me out. I get really quiet around mimes. But I don't get all clown-y around clowns. Not sure if that is significant. I guess if I had to choose, the mime would win. And then, to celebrate the victory, I would take him/her to a movie. Only, not a silent one. To sit next to a mime during a silent movie would be torture.

Funniest dead person you’d like to meet?

Dorothy Parker.

BONUS QUESTION! Halloween Candy: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Thoughts?

I am totally in favor of Halloween candy. Love those tasty fun-sized treats. I just hope my kids never find out that I eat their candy when they are in school. Shhhhh. I do it for love though. Too much sugar is bad for children.

I guess the good would be anything chocolate. The bad would be anything with hair stuck on it or the word "filet" on the package. And the ugly would be, well, the same as the bad.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Squampkin Patch

THE SQUAMPKIN PATCH: A Nasselrogt Adventure
by JT Petty

Illustrated by David Michael Friend
Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing

Ages 9-14.
ISBN: 1-4169-0274-0

http://www.pettyofficial.com

When Milton and Chloe are slightly orphaned by a tragic tanning bed accident, they end up in Urchin House Orphanage where they must eat brown goo and make zippers. Like all good literary orphans, they run away. They take refuge in a house abandoned by a missing confectioner whose obsession to create the perfect Pumpkin Chocolate-Chip cookie led him to grow a dangerous squash-pumpkin hybrid. The squampkin. Following clues in the baker's journal, the kids unravel the details of his frightening disappearance and begin to understand the growing danger around them. The orange, walking, clawing, hissing danger of the SQUAMPKINS!!!!!

Petty brings together a cast of odd figures, a generous sprinkling of smart puns and clever wordplay, and a delightfully absurd plot to create a book that is serious about being funny, but never takes itself too seriously. Best of all, The Squampkin Patch is funny and suspenseful (even a bit grim near the end). And you thought only zucchini could be scary! Best suited for readers 9 and up.

Monday, October 16, 2006

And the Winner Is . . .

The time has come to announce the winner of our first ever contest at Three Silly Chicks!

Thanks to everyone who stopped by to wish us well and to tell us your favorite funny book for kids! We have added new shelves to the coop for all the wonderful titles we learned about!

Without further adieu . . . or Mountain Dew . . . or dippety doo. . . the winner is . . .

Royal trumpet music and drumroll, please! Bwock! Bwock-bwock!

Jenlibrarian!


Jenlibrarian come on down! You've just won a copy of the delightful new book, Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road! And that's not all! You've also won a pair of chattering teeth and your own little rubber chicken!

(Please e-mail us at three_silly_chicks@yahoo.com so we can pop your prizes in the mail to you!!!!!)

Congratulations and thanks again to all you silly people out there!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

That's Just Silly!

Dear Readers,

Alas, but mostly alack! Our chicken coop is a mess. The rafters are strewn with dirty socks, stale eggnog, and Moon Pie wrappers. It is time to clean! Therefore, we are forced to take the only possible action left to us. We must waste
hours surfing the web. And so is born a new segment on our blog called "That's Just Silly!" It's a chance for us to waste time and feel good about it by sharing our finds with you!

And speaking of finds . . .
1. http://www.weebls-stuff.com/toons/badgers/
2.
www.thetalkingpug.com
3.
http://www.sfpg.com/animation/liteBrite.html#
If you have especially silly sites you'd like to share, just e-mail us at
three_silly_chicks@yahoo.com!
Hey! We're out of Twinkies in here!
The Three Silly Chicks

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

My Haunted House

My Haunted House
Written by Angie Sage
Illustrated by Jimmy Pickering
Katherine Tegen Books
ISBN: 0060774819

Not only does Araminta Spookie have a name to die for, but she lives in the best old house ever. Unfortunately, her Aunt Tabby’s getting tired of doing all the housework and maintenance while Uncle Drac does nothing but sleep all day. When Aunt Tabby puts the house up for sale, Araminta hatches a ghoulicious plan to keep realtors and buyers running scared from Spookie House.

My Haunted House is the first in this early middle grade series, featuring a fun Addams Family-esque cast of characters perfectly rendered by illustrator Jimmy Pickering. Share this book with readers who like their goosebumps served with a cauldron of laughs!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Grumpy Gloria

Grumpy Gloria
Written and Ilustrated by Anna Dewdney
Viking
ISBN 0670061239

Gloria the bulldog wasn't always grumpy. She and her little girl used to play catch and chase soap bubbles. But when her little girl gets a spiffy new doll, Gloria is left out of their games. The family tries to cheer her up with disastrous results. A bath? A jog? A game of dress-up? No wonder Gloria is a pouty pooch!

The lively, rhyming text is pitch perfect in this sweet and funny book, but the real star is Gloria herself who is portrayed with such warmth and humor. It's impossible not to fall in love with her. Kudos to Dewdney for her clever use of end papers to tell the backstory. Gloria is simply glorious!