Funny Business

Funny Business


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What makes funny FUNNY? An esteemed anthologist interviews thirteen favorite children’s authors — and asks them to share their trade secrets. (Age 12 and up)


"A joke isn’t a joke if you need to explain it," notes Leonard S. Marcus. "Even so, the hidden clockwork of comedy . . . has long been considered one of the great riddles of life." There are many kinds of humor, but capturing their essence on paper is a remarkably difficult (and often undervalued) skill. So how do authors create books that not only stand the tests of time but also make us laugh? In thirteen fascinating interviews, well-loved writers of humorous books for children discuss an array of topics, from their sources of inspiration to the ways they began writing, from their revision processes to childhood anecdotes to the value they place on comedy in their work and lives. Beautifully designed and thoughtfully edited, this collection is bound to tickle the fancy of children and adults alike.
Back matter includes an index.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780763632540
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Publication date: 10/13/2009
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 6.80(w) x 9.30(h) x 0.70(d)
Lexile: 920L (what's this?)
Age Range: 10 Years

About the Author

Leonard S. Marcus is one of the world’s most respected writers about children’s literature. His essays, interviews, and reviews appear in the NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW and many other publications, and he has a regular column for PARENTING magazine. Among his numerous books are THE WAND IN THE WORD: CONVERSATIONS WITH WRITERS OF FANTASY and MINDERS OF MAKE-BELIEVE: IDEALISTS, ENTREPRENEURS, AND THE SHAPING OF AMERICAN CHILDREN'S LITERATURE. He lives in Brooklyn.

Table of Contents

Introduction viii

Judy Blume 1

Beverly Cleary 15

Sharon Creech 33

Christopher Paul Curtis 51

Anne Fine 67

Daniel Handler 85

Carl Hiaasen 105

Norton Juster 119

Dick King-Smith 141

Hilary McKay 155

Daniel Pinkwater 171

Louis Sachar 173

Jon Scieszka 191

Acknowledgments 211

Photography Credits and Copyright Acknowledgments 212

Index 213

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Funny Business 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
socraticparenting More than 1 year ago
Funny Business: Conversations with Writers of Comedy, compiled and edited by Leonard S. Marcus, surveys a dozen beloved authors of young adult literature, focusing on humor as a common theme: Judy Blume (Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret), Beverly Cleary (Beezus and Ramona), Sharon Creech (Walk Two Moons), Christopher Paul Curtis (Bud, Not Buddy), Anne Fine (Alias Madame Doubtfire), Daniel Handler (Lemony Snicket), Carl Hiaasen (Hoot), Norton Juster (The Phantom Tollbooth), Dick King-Smith (Babe), Hilary McKay (Casson Family and Conroy Sisters books), Louis Sachar (Holes), and Jon Scieszka (The Stinky Cheese Man). Marcus’s own skill and wit as an interviewer and author shine through from his dedication to “Thing One and Thing Two” to his shortest chapter, which is nothing more than an amusing e-mail from Daniel Pinkwater declining to be interviewed. Each author comes alive through personal history and insights in his or her own voice. Photographs, manuscript pages, correspondence, and short passages from well-known books interspersed throughout the interviews add visual appeal and interest to the text. There are a handful of mildly profane responses—one from Hiaasen, one from Juster, and several from Scieszka. Overall, however, the content is appropriate for middle grade readers and will also appeal to anyone interested in writing, publishing, or simply understanding what it is that makes people laugh. Marcus explores the subtleties of humor with each author, discovering many underlying truths. Anne Fine tells Marcus, “The pain of being aware of what is going on around you is often what galvanizes a person to wit and humor.” She also notes that “in Shakespeare the jester is always the one who’s given license to say whatever he wishes.” All who love any one of these authors and everyone who appreciates quality young adult literature are sure to enjoy this thought-provoking compilation. Laurie A. Gray Reprinted from the Christian Library Journal (Vo. XIV, No. 5, October 2010); used with permission.