• Benjamin Fife

ReadingMagic - What Funny books do you remember from your childhood? part 2 - Day 24

Updated: Feb 10

Yesterday I focused primarily on the Comics - which as my sister pointed out in her reply, was a bit of a Sunday Ritual in our family - might have had something to do with the fact that for probably more than a decade at least one of us was delivering said Sunday Paper (I had the same paper route from age 11-16). So today, I wanted to focus on the other funny books I remember. Some of my favorite books to check out from the library - whether it were the public library or our school library - were from the likes of Shel Silverstein and Jack Prelutskey.


Both Prelutsky & Silverstein deliver poetic prose with humor and style. Silverstein gets higher marks because he did his own drawings too. And if not apparent from my posts, I'm rather fond of the absurd. I was pleased as punch when I found out as an adult that Silverstein also wrote the lyrics of the song A Boy Named Sue. "Kickin' and a gougin' in the mud, and the blood and the beer." Johnny Cash masterfully brought it to life. (Just a side note - the most common recording you'll hear of it was a live performance that was only about the second time Cash had even really looked at it & was still having to read the lyrics as he played & sang - The man was a masterful storyteller). I still love a good book full of ridiculous children's poetry.

I've sometimes wondered with Silverstein's books - did he draw the picture and then the poem, or vice versa. Or a bit of both?


Another book I distinctly remember loving as a kid I think I discovered about 4th grade.

Sideways stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar stuck so well in my head that I distinctly recalled several of the chapters - kind of short self contained stories melded into one big story (kind of like Dicken's Pickwick Papers now that I think of it) after having not seen the book for multiple decades & then finding it & reading it to my kids again some time in the last 10 years or so. The kid finally figuring out math by counting all the hairs on his head one night. I remember thinking then that he must have had a fairly sparse head of hair.

Kudos to Julie Brinckloe. Your Illustrations stick with me!

The ice cream flavors for each of the kids in class - and the idea that you can't taste the one that is your flavor because, well, your always tasting YOU. And of course, their original Evil teacher turning them all into apples, and then coming back on Halloween - But not really Halloween because it was a weekend. And only the evil old witch of a teacher & 1 student were celebrating it the Friday before. Totally unrealistic, right?


A year or so later I think I found Sideways Arithmetic from Wayside School. Which was pretty darn spiffy. It does some pre-algebra kind of math in a way that was fun. I've forgotten most algebra. But I remember that.


PLUS - We've got a book on our shelf by the author, Louis Sachar, that was recommended to me years ago by my oldest sister. Holes. Still haven't read it, but sometime in the last year, it registered in my mind that I recognized the author's name. I haven't seen the movie either... But now I should read the book.


Any funny books that make you smile thinking back on them from your youth?