I am delighted to welcome Christine Hamill to the blog today as part of the Lollies 2017 blog tour. Her hilarious book, ‘The Best Medicine’ has been shortlisted in the category of the Best Laugh Out Loud Book for 9-13 year olds. The Lollies were created in response to findings from Scholastic’s Kids & Family Reading Report, which found that what two-thirds of children aged 6-17 looked for when choosing books for themselves were ‘books that make me laugh’. As a school librarian the most popular genre that children request for recommendations are funny books, so I am thrilled to support such a fantastic award.
‘The Best Medicine’ deals with an incredibly difficult subject in a humorous but touching way. Philip is twelve years old and life is pretty good. He gets on with his mum and gets by pretty well at school – in spite of girl problems, teacher problems, bully problems and – er – poetry problems. Philip’s happy-go-lucky life is disrupted when his mother gets breast cancer. Bad enough that your mother is seriously ill – but could she not have developed a less embarrassing kind of cancer – toe cancer, maybe, or ear cancer? Philip’s attempts to cope with his situation are both hilarious and touching. Through it all, he’s writing letters to his hero, the comedian Harry Hill, looking for advice. Then there’s The Yeti, The Goddess, The Meerkats and Philip’s best friend Ang. Oh, yes, and Mrs Chihuahua next door and her annoying mutt.
A hilarious take on life, love, glasses – and cancer!
For my stop on the blog tour I asked Christine to tell me about her favourite funny children’s books. So without further ado here are her choices.
Christine Hamill – My Favourite Funny Children’s Books
In no particular order, here are my favourite funny books for kids/young teens. (Have to say, this was the most fun blog request to write.)
Louise Rennison’s ‘Angus, thongs and full-frontal snogging’ was one of the first ‘kids’ books I read as an adult for no other reason than I wanted to (I wasn’t reading to or for someone). At last a book about teenagers that was angsty and funny (I like my angst diluted by comedy otherwise I come over all depressed and existential). Georgia’s diary records her life in language that sounds like a real teenage girl – she has nicknames for people, something I did at school (still do – don’t tell anyone). The book is full of LOL moments – my favourite: Georgia accidentally shaves off one of her eyebrows – nearly lost control of my bladder when I read that.
My son introduced me to my next choice – Jeremy Strong’s ‘Stuff’. He laughed so much I thought he would choke on his tonsils. Stuff (aka Simon) is having a bit of a hard time – his dad’s new girlfriend and daughter have just moved in to their house. Disaster. Stuff is so funny, even his attempt to make a cheese sandwich is hysterical, and that chapter where he builds a particle accelerator in the bathroom and gets accused of flashing at the pensioner next door… I defy any boy or girl or oldie not to laugh. And it is written partly in comic strip so it has extra appeal.
Next up is ‘Framed’ by Frank Cottrell Boyce. I love his books because they are often funny and a bit sad at the same time – like real life. Dylan gets involved in an art theft when posh chap (Lester) from London mysteriously arrives to stash priceless works of art in a disused mine. Lester thinks Dylan’s hens Donatello and Michelangelo are named after artists but really it’s the teenage mutant ninja turtles! This book is full of fun, like the two elderly sisters who drive their car out once a week – one sister can drive but can’t see and the other sister can see but can’t drive – one drives while the other steers! Priceless.
Poetry this time: ‘Revolting Rhymes’ by Roald Dahl. We didn’t have a lot of books in our house when I was growing up but my dad used to tell us traditional fairy stories. I was quite a literal child so when he would describe how Goldilocks jumped out of a bedroom window all I could think was Home come she didn’t break her legs? When the woodcutter chopped open the wolf to let Little Red Riding Hood’s granny escape I thought, How come she’s not all chewed up and covered in slime? When in Jack and the Beanstalk… you get the picture. Revolting Rhymes makes sense to me.
My final choice isn’t strictly for children, although I know loads of young teens who’ve read and loved this book: ‘The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole aged 13′ by Sue Townsend. I am not going to try and describe it because I’ve just opened it up again and can’t stop laughing. Adrian’s first diary entry lists his New Year’s resolutions:
I will help the blind across the road.
I will hang up my trousers.
I will stop squeezing my spots.
I will help the poor and ignorant….
He then he says, ‘My father got the dog drunk on cherry brandy at the party last night…’
Admit it, you are laughing. I know you are.
Thank you to Christine for this fabulously funny guest post and to Antonia and Scholastic for inviting me to take part in the blog tour.
Why not join in with the rest of the blog tour for more guest posts, Q & A’s and giveaways.