What's So Funny?: Making Sense of Humor

Overview

Everyone loves to laugh, and to hear and see funny things-but what makes something funny in the first place? What is humor? This book explains why our brains think something is funny, what happens to us physically when we laugh, why you can tickle your friend but not yourself, and so much more. Plenty of jokes and silly anecdotes are included, and hilarious line drawings appear on almost every page.
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0670012440 9780670012442

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Overview

Everyone loves to laugh, and to hear and see funny things-but what makes something funny in the first place? What is humor? This book explains why our brains think something is funny, what happens to us physically when we laugh, why you can tickle your friend but not yourself, and so much more. Plenty of jokes and silly anecdotes are included, and hilarious line drawings appear on almost every page.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
Jackson culls the fields of neurology, psychology, and physiology to explore the essence of humor. . . . Toss this life raft to a reluctant reader facing a nonfiction book report and make yourself a hero.
Ingram Library Services
Readers will enjoy the jokes and cartoon sketches presented as well as the facts about animals and their sense of humor, the sounds of laughter (snorts, chirps, and croaks) and the interpretation of laughter in the different cultures around the world.
School Library Journal
Gr 4–6—This title looks at various aspects of humor, including history, types, cultural and gender differences, the physiology of a laugh, types of laughs, artificial laughter, animals and humor, and, finally, how to develop jokes and share them. The stories and quotes from experts plus carefully selected examples clarify the information and keep the chapters light. Insets supplement each topic; e.g., in the "Laugh Tracks," texting shortcuts for laughter are included. Humorous black-and-white cartoons are scattered throughout, amplifying the content. Researchers and budding comedians will find plenty of useful material.—Carol S. Surges, McKinley Elementary School, Wauwatosa, WI
Children's Literature - Lois Rubin Gross
The source of humor may sound like a fairly improbably topic for a kids' book but curiously, it works. Although there is some actual scholarly research included, the tone and topic of practical applications of humor should appeal to class clowns and bullied kids everywhere. Why bullied kids? Because one of the author's recommendations is to respond to put-downs and bullying with humor for a more positive outcome. In a study of young people, kids who responded with no reaction or anger to bullying were less successful than kids who fired back with a joke. The author makes distinctions between gender humor (boys like fart jokes—big surprise!—and girls tell nasty jokes about their friends behind their backs). Studies also offer evidence that even members of the animal kingdom laugh out loud, from human cousin's chimps and monkeys all the way to rats that squeak and kick their legs when tickled. The final chapters hint at ways in which kids can build routines and imitate admired stand-up comedians. The directions are practical (i.e. keep a laugh journal, write down dreams and ideas) and also encourage that if at first you don't succeed, keep joking until someone gets it. The book is well-documented with bibliography, source notes, and internet sites. Overall, a solid contribution that may appeal to kids hoping to get the last laugh. Reviewer: Lois Rubin Gross
School Library Journal
Gr 4–6—This title looks at various aspects of humor, including history, types, cultural and gender differences, the physiology of a laugh, types of laughs, artificial laughter, animals and humor, and, finally, how to develop jokes and share them. The stories and quotes from experts plus carefully selected examples clarify the information and keep the chapters light. Insets supplement each topic; e.g., in the "Laugh Tracks," texting shortcuts for laughter are included. Humorous black-and-white cartoons are scattered throughout, amplifying the content. Researchers and budding comedians will find plenty of useful material.—Carol S. Surges, McKinley Elementary School, Wauwatosa, WI
Kirkus Reviews

A light introduction to the appealing, complicated subject of humor lacks the depth to do it justice.

Starting with an overview of how researchers look at humor, this uneven guide to a topic with potentially high kid-appeal meanders through loosely connected aspects of humor, offering anecdotes, quotes from experts and intriguing facts. Short chapters touch on the anatomy of laughter and the history of laugh tracks. A longer chapter discusses how humor differs between genders, among cultures and age groups and throughout history. Readers may be most interested in the final chapter on stand-up comedy and how to be funny. Jackson relies heavily on quotes from interviews with humor experts, working their names and titles awkwardly into the text. The academic nature of the quotes, suitable to a more substantial study of humor, jars with the author's otherwise conversational, entry-level approach to the subject, raising questions about the intended audience. Generic cartoonish pictures and occasional jokes in boldface type illustrate points made in the text. Short sidebars explore topics such as the funny bone, tickling and texting abbreviations about humor.

Mildly entertaining and informative but neither laugh-a-minute nor substantial enough for reports. (further reading, source notes, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 11-13)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780670012442
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 6/9/2011
  • Pages: 64
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 1060L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 7.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Donna M. Jackson is the award-winning author of In Your Face and The Name Game (both Viking) and many other outstanding nonfiction books for children. She lives with her family in Louisville, Colorado.

Ted Stearn is an illustrator and storyboard artist for several animated cartoons, including King of the Hill and Drawn Together. He lives in Los Angeles, California.

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