Posts Tagged With: humor

Laugh Out Loud: Humorous Stories for Kids

Laughter is good medicine and kids stay so healthy because they take huge doses of it daily. The two series recommended in this blog post offer a cure for adults as well, since they are designed to delight young and old. Listen and read with the young people in your life and have a blast as you LOL.

“Jungle Jam and Friends” began as a radio program, with humorous plots teaching fundamental life lessons such as sharing, friendship, procrastination, and facing fear. About twenty years ago, creative giants Phil Lollar (of “Adventures in Odyssey” fame), Nathan Carlson, David Buller, and Jeff Parker collaborated in an effort to create colorful audio stories of an imaginary jungle world populated by animals with memorable voices and personalities which first aired in 1993.

A parallel set of characters and stories is set on Razzleflabben Island to which human children, Marvy Snuffleson and his sister Katie, are sent to learn life lessons the funny way with the help of the island’s endearing and whimsical inhabitants. Our family listened to every Jungle Jam story and we are still quoting favorite characters years later. An added bonus in the Jungle Jam experience is the musical contribution of songwriting team Buddy and Julie Miller.

Jungle Jam fans wrote in the website guestbook: “My favorite character from Jungle Jam and Friends the Radio Show is Millard J. Monkey. He is to Jungle Jam what Daffy Duck is to Looney Tunes: egotistical, self-absorbed, and hilarious. I love how he makes such a good foil to the mild-mannered, sweet-natured, naive Sully the Aardvark.” Rebecca

“My favorite character is Sully – his funny dialogue with the other characters, his naiveté. We love “Where the Bears Are”. My husband & I laugh a lot at that episode and are always taunting each other Gruffy/Sully style when we play a game (“You’re goin’ down, Bear”, “You’re gonna cry in your lemonade, Aardvark”). We’ve listened to Jungle Jam in the car for ages, but now that our son is old enough for the stories, we listen to them as part of bedtime routine.” Tammy

It is my understanding that the stories are only available now as downloads online, although some CD sets may be still floating around for purchase. These stories are a must for children 4-12 years old and their parents and grandparents. I can not comment on the quality of the books that were produced after the audio stories, since we never read them. Suffice it say that the vocal talents and witty dialogues of the audio stories must not be missed! My favorite stories are: “ Sully Makes a Friend”, “Pogo A-Go-Go & The Terrible Truth About Lying”, and “The Great Coconut Clunking Debate”.www.fancymonkey.com

In my opinion, the best endorsement of this audio series comes from Katie, a mom of four active boys, who says: “…my favorite thing is that no one is fighting or talking because they’re listening to Jungle Jam!” Enough said.

Another wonderfully funny children’s book series stars “Little Wolf”, the goody-goody nephew of Uncle Bigbad (aka The Big Bad Wolf). Melissa Mcavoy reviews the first in the series, Little Wolf’s Book of Badness in goodreads.com and provides this summation: “Little Wolf is sent away by his parents because he has not been behaving badly enough. In disconsolate and hilarious letters home, Little Wolf chronicles his journey to Uncle Bigbad’s Cunning College For Brute Beasts and his efforts to learn the Nine Rules of Badness. Ross’s ink drawings perfectly capture the charm of Little Wolf as he struggles to be bad enough to come home. Whybrow’s text is full of great real, and imagined, vocabulary. This is one of the funniest, most irreverent and charming stories I’ve read. Kids will adore the humorous reversals of a world where parents want their cub to be bad. Little Wolf’s resourceful and mischievous responses to his adventure are perfectly complimented by Ross’s illustrations.”

I would add that the series continues to captivate the heart, as Little Wolf’s letters, cunningly strewn with misspellings and ink splotches, ooze his perspective and personality onto each page of the series: Little Wolf’s Book of Badness, Little Wolf’s Diary of Daring Deeds, Little Wolf: Forest Detective, Little Wolf: Pack Leader, Little Wolf: Terror of the Shivery Sea, Little Wolf’s Hall for Small Horrors, Little Wolf’s Handy Book Of Poems. How impressive that author Ian Whybrow has published over 100 children’s books since 1989. May he continue to delight children for years to come. If you want more from the delightful Little Wolf, check out his blog complete with illustrations, misspellings, and his own brand of quirky humor.http://littlewolfwrites.com
P.S. Ian Whybrow kindly mentions this post on his website. Authors have feelings too and need to be appreciated! http://www.ianwhybrow.com/2013/10/01/october-1st-2013-reasons-to-be-cheerful/

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Categories: Humorous, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Funny and Family-Oriented: Hank the Cowdog

John R. Erickson

Meeting an author in person is always a delight.  John R. Erickson, best known as the creator of the Hank the Cowdog series, walked out in front of the crowd of parents and kids at our conference with a banjo slung over his shoulder and an honest-to-God BIG Texan cowboy hat.  His seminar on writing and creativity was a long-series of tales and songs that had the entire crowd laughing.

Mr. Erickson embodies the writer’s adage to “write what you know”, having been raised in the Texan panhandle and worked as a ranch hand.  His quirky animal and human characters are based on dogs, horses, and people that he has known and they thrum with life.

And his stories are funny, funny, funny!  Hank the Cowdog, as head of ranch security, takes his job VERY seriously.  His sidekick, Drover, loyal and long-suffering, helps him out and doesn’t criticize Hank’s many bloopers.

Sixty-one great tales make up the Hank the Cowdog series at present.  Even more impressive is the fact that John Erickson himself reads the stories for the audio books and he is GOOD.  All the voices and accents!

For those of us who are aspiring writers, Mr. Erickson stands as a model for integrity, independence, perseverance and excellence.  At the beginning of his efforts to bring his authentic, humorous stories to publication, no East Coast publishers would bite: “too provincial”, they said.  Millions of copies later, they have eaten their cowboy hats. 

Mr. Erickson, with the support of his good wife, Kris, started Maverick Books in his garage and the rest, as they say, is history.  Viking/Penguin now publishes the books, while Maverick Books retains the audiobook manufacture.

More on this fascinating writing and publishing story is found in his book, Storycraft, published in 2009 by Maverick Books, a collection of Mr. Erickson’s reflections on faith, culture and writing.

I read it cover to cover this summer – riveting!

In the chapter “Hank and Theology”, he comments: “In humor, the impact of the message is never quite under the author’s control.  When the audience laughs, we’re never sure whose face has caught the pie.  This makes humor a risky medium…Humor is a gift from author to audience, and once it’s passed along, it can’t be called back.  Writers who insist on controlling the message will never feel comfortable taking such a risk.” (p. 96, Storycraft. Perryton, TX: Maverick Books. 2009).

 Don’t we crave good, wholesome humor?  This series possesses it in spades, both for adult and child.  I recommend the audio versions of the stories with original songs performed by the author.  If you haven’t experienced this world yet, you are in for a treat.

Are you a bonus features fan like I am? If so, the author’s website will delight and amaze.  It is chock full of audio commentary, author biography, links to articles by the author, games and contests for kids, and lots of colorful illustrations:http://www.hankthecowdog.com

Categories: Children's Books, Humorous, Inspiration, Music, Read Aloud, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

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