Friday, August 31, 2007



by Professor Potts

David Fickling Books
ISBN-13: 978-0-385-75119-3

It's a funny thing about non-fiction picture books. They usually aren't very funny. But now and then, a book shows up that tickles our funny bones and teaches us just a little bit, too.

Uneversaurus is just that kind of book. Okay, we must admit that were a little slow to get the title (You-never-saw-us!). We thought it was the actual name of a chick-eating dinosaur, but we are small birds with glasses and are a paranoid about things that eat small birds with glasses.

Kids will be drawn to this book's cool cover with an eye that changes to a dinosaur and will giggle over the funny illustrations and comments from the two narrating dinosaurs. All the while, readers will learn some important scientific concepts. How do scientists use clues to figure out what dinosaurs really looked like? How would environment, predators, prey, gender and age affect how they (The dinosaurs, not the scientists) looked? Did old dinosaurs wear false teeth and use canes?

Uneversaurus is a book both serious and silly! Great for art classes and science classes alike!

Dear Readers: What are your favorite funny non-fiction books? Enquiring minds (and Silly Chicks) want to know!

Monday, August 20, 2007

In the Coop with Kelly DiPucchio

Kelly DiPucchio is the author of some of our favorite funny picture books, like Bed Hogs, Dinosnores, and Mrs. McBloom Clean Up Your Classroom! She is smart, funny, skinny and blond, and yet for some strange reason we still adore her. We are hoping that her character Grace from her upcoming book Grace for President is elected when she grows up.

How do you know when what you write is funny?

When my dog laughs. And usually after I’ve written something that totally cracks me up I can’t wait to call my husband at work to remind him just how funny I really am.

Do you have any tips for writing funny books?

Shy away from certain topics like nursing homes, flesh eating bacteria, and dying family pets. Sure, just the right combination of all three could be downright hysterical, but on their own, not so much.

You should also remember who your audience is. Have you ever had a 5-year old tell you a joke? They usually go something like this, What did one French fry say to the other French Fry? Hey! We’re both French fries! I’m not suggesting that as children’s writers we have to completely dumb down our humor, but I’ve come to learn over the years that sometimes simple really is better.

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

My parole officer could probably answer that question better than I can.

What are some of your favorite funny books?

Just how far down can this page scroll?

MY LITTLE SISTER ATE ONE HARE by Bill Grossman, THERE WAS AN OLD WOMAN WHO LIVED IN A BOOT and MRS. BIDDLEBOX by Linda Smith, MEET WILD BOARS by Meg Rosoff, LEONARDO, THE TERRIBLE MONSTER by Mo Willems, JUNIE B. JONES by Barbara Park , and pretty much anything by Jon Scieszka, Lemony Snicket, Lisa Wheeler, Carolyn Crimi, Margie Palatini, Mike Reiss, Lauren Child, M.T. Anderson, Roald Dahl, Dr. Seuss, Edward Gorey, and Beverly Cleary.

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

Hmm…probably not BED HOGS. That story takes place in a pig sty. Mrs. McBloom’s cluttered classroom already strikes an eerie resemblance to my home. I’d have to say, LIBERTY’S JOURNEY because that book features New York City and San Francisco.

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

Call me a knucklehead, but I’m really more of an Abbott and Costello kind of gal.

What was your best Halloween costume?

If you must know, I’m a costume curmudgeon. I’m just one step away from wearing one of those lame THIS IS MY COSTUME t-shirts. The funny thing is, I so love and appreciate the clever and creative costumes that other people create. I’m just not a very crafty person so you can pretty much count me out of anything that involves a hot glue gun and a trip to the fabric store.

However, one year, when Martha Stewart was in prison, I did show up to a Halloween party wearing prison stripes and I brought a tray of pretty pink cupcakes that were decorated with cute little nail files. Unfortunately, nobody wanted to eat the pretty cupcakes because, as it turns out, nail files in pink baked goods just don’t scream, Yum!

What is your Dream Job for a Day?

That’s easy. I would be a Fairy Godmother. Does that count as a job? Just think how much fun it would be to go around granting wishes for people all day long!

If I absolutely had to pick a dream job that was a little more grounded in reality, I would probably choose to be a landscape photographer on location in Hawaii.

Clown V. Mime Deathmatch. Pick your winner.

Mime. He’s a silent killer.

Funniest dead person you'd like to meet?

Funny or not, I’m not so sure I want to meet any dead people.

If you could create your own TV show, what would it be about?

I’d create a new reality TV show called SO YOU THINK YOU CAN ACT.

The show would track the lives of several children’s book authors who go on Hollywood auditions, informing influential casting directors that they are qualified and entitled to star in feature roles on television and in film because they write books for kids.


Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Zack Proton and the Wrong Planet

The Adventures of Commander Zack Proton and the Wrong Planet
Written by Brian Anderson
Illustrated by Doug Holgate
Simon & Schuster
ISBN 978-1-4169-1366-5

Leapin' Leptons! Commander Zack Proton is back in a third installment of this illustrated chapter book series featuring a bumbling Inspector Clouseau-type space hero and his brainy primate sidekick, Omega Chimp. Interspersed with comic strips, top-ten lists, quizzes, instructional manuals, and tips for young space heroes, these easy-to-read books provide a smorgasbord of slapstick humor with a side of banana peels.

In book three, Commander Zack, Omega Chimp, and their FE-203 robot, "Effie," are detained on their mission to find
Zack's missing spaceship, the Risky Rascal, by a disappearing planet, 16 million smelly pigs, and a bad drycleaning incident. But not to worry! In a classic comedy of errors, our space heroes once again save the day and restore peace to the galaxy in a wacky, freshly-scented finale. Introduce this series to your favorite comic book-loving 7 to 10 year-olds, then point them to the "Fun Stuff" at, including printable coloring pages, a Zack proton ad-lib story, and an alien transmission for fans to decode.