Tag Archives: humor

The Dodsworth Adventures

The Dodsworth Adventures Series

By Tim Egan

Published by Houghton Mifflin

Dodsworth in New York © 2007

Dodsworth in Paris © 2008

Dodsworth in London © 2009

 

A Ducky little set of books that take children on a whirlwind trek from New York to Paris, and from Paris to London. Children will be captivated by this Mouse and Duck comedy team.

Dodsworth is getting ready to go on an adventure to Europe, but before he does he needs a hot breakfast. He stops at Hodges’ Cafe to have some of the best pancakes in the world; here he meets Hodges’ crazy duck. This duck is going to give Dodsworth more of an adventure than he ever planned for.

In “Dodsworth in New York” the duck hitches a ride with Dodsworth to New York City and he ends up chasing the duck all over the city. He runs up Wall Street and down Fifth Avenue, past Yankee Stadium and into the Statue of Liberty. In the end they both end up on a boat bound for Europe. “In Paris” Dodsworth and the Duck stay in the Chateau de Paris, visit the Notre Dame Cathedral, and visit the Eifel tower all the while participating in some very French activities like eating, painting, and riding a bicycle. And finally, “in London” Dodsworth and the duck get separated and Dodsworth confuses the Queen’s royal duck for Hodges’ duck and follows her around London on a big red bus learning things about London Bridge and Big Ben. In the end Dodsworth and the Duck get the immeasurable privilege of meeting the Queen of England.

The Dodsworth Adventures are a fun way to introduce children 6 and up to the cultural and geographic landmarks of New York, Paris, and London. In addition Egan does a wonderful job of weaving different forms of transportation in to these stories which will make for even more conversation. Egan’s illustrations match the stories with there simple, cute, and quirky characters and images. Each book features that crazy duck creating some comic situation for the straight man, Dodsworth, to navigate, and in each book the mouse and the duck grow closer together.

One thing that stands out most in these books though, is that while travel can be fun, it is even more enjoyable when there is someone to share it with, even if that someone is a crazy, troublesome duck. I can’t wait to see what these to do when they get to Rome.

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Filed under Adventure, Children's Picture Books, Friends, Geography, I Can Read/Young Chapter Books, Nature/Animals, People & Places, Transportation, Travel

Pontoon

PONTOON

By Garrison Keillor

Published by the Penguin Group

Copyright © 2007

Evelyn, an old Lutheran Lady, has died at the age of eighty-two. She went in her sleep so they say. It was just the way she wanted to go. She left a letter describing her wishes for burial, and it has some Lutherans who thought they knew her well rather shocked. Evelyn doesn’t want a church Service, a viewing, a memorial, or a burial service. She wants to be dressed up in a green rhinestone dress, cremated and put into a hollowed out green bowling ball, and dropped into Lake Wobegon while Andy Williams “Moon River” is played. Evelyn wrote a letter to this affect for her daughter Barbara to find. That letter along with a few others that she finds that were never sent to her have a profound and freeing affect on her and her son Kyle.

This same week thirty-five year old Debbie Detmer comes home to get married. She is a local wild child who moved to California when she was young and ended up making millions as a pet aromatherapist. She is set to marry a high-strung private jet salesman; the only problem is it isn’t really a marriage, it is a ceremony of commitment (which is not legally binding) replete with expensive champagne, shrimp, cheese, a pontoon boat, two gigantic decoy pedal ducks, a parachuting Elvis impersonator, and a hot air balloon. Oh, and this is also going to be on Lake Wobegon…the same day as the funeral.

Throw in a parasail bowling ball deployment, a group of 24 liberal rebel Danish Lutheran pastors on a tour of the Midwest, and an old dog that smells moldy carrying a dead fish in his mouth and you have a recipe for a scene that is truly hilarious.

Garrison Keillor, creator of the Prairie Home Companion on National Public Radio and author of many novels of his beloved Lake Wobegon, is a master of dry, Midwestern, Lutheran wit.  He has managed to write another book about Lake Wobegon that will make you laugh and think at the same time. Some of his novels can be too crowded with characters and back stories which make his novels hard to follow, but this one is perfect. It wasn’t hard to figure out where the off track character and stories fit in. “Pontoon” is a wonderfully funny life affirming novel, and I loved every minute of it. If you like stories about small town communities that are just a little off kilter and slightly irreverent, you’ll love this one.

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Filed under Adult Fiction, Humor, Strong Sense of Place

Dave Barry's History of the Millenium (So Far)

Dave Barry’s History of the Millenium (So Far)

By Dave Barry

Published by Thorndike Press

Copyright 2007

 

Dave Barry has got a screw loose and that is alright with me. In his thirty-first book of zany commentary Dave half-wittedly attempts to leave his mark on the annals of history. But, of course this is a condensed and rather skewed history. The names, places, and events are sarcastically and hilariously strewn about the pages the way only Dave Barry can do it.

While his history of the millennium is hilarious, his sarcasm makes quite a few valid points that you would have to be dumber than the proverbial door knob to miss: A) our government is screwed up, 2) they don’t call it a media circus for nothing, and ♣) if you live in Florida your house will be blown down by a hurricane and your vote will be miscounted.

Enjoy the book; I’m sure you’ll find something in it that’s hilarious and true.

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Filed under Adult Non-Fiction, History, Humor

Fooled You!

Fooled you: Fakes and Hoaxes Through the Years

Written by Elaine Pascoe

Illustrations by Laurie Keller

Published by Henry Holt and Company

Copyright © 2005

Let me start off by saying that this book is very well written slightly comical look at fakes and hoaxes. While some of these fakes and hoaxes wouldn’t have fooled an adult or a child today, it was certainly interesting to read of them.

            On the other hand even though I know that faeries and big foot aren’t real, I still like to think of them as such. Having them alive in my imagination makes life enjoyable. Our imaginations (as long as they don’t run away with us) are the beginnings of great ideas and wonderful books.

            So if you, or your child, are the detective sort that loves to get to the bottom of a story, then you will really like this book. If you however enjoy believing in the unbelievable, then this book might not be for you. I myself am torn.

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Filed under Historical, Humorous, Junior Non-Fiction