Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Laugh Book

This seems to be my week for talking about old, out-of-print books that I have loved since childhood.  If you're looking for this week's books and can't find them...I'm sorry!  But maybe my tales of finding book treasures will inspire you to go find your own rare jewel.

I have known The Laugh Book, compiled by Joanna Cole and Stephanie Calmenson, since I was about six years old.  It's a collection of funny...things.  There are jokes, riddles, tongue twisters, funny poems, tricks and puzzles, and funny stories.  They are not originals by Cole or Calmenson - the book is instead a collection of items drawn from other sources. It's designed for children of all ages, which is why I have loved it for so long.

The book starts with jokes and one-liners - very corny, and things I absolutely loved as a 6, 7, and 8 year old. "Where do cows go on dates?  To the moo-vies."  I pretty much ignored the back of the book, which is comprised of chapters out of other books (like Pippi Longstocking and Mary Poppins) and short stories.  It wasn't until later (when I was a better reader and could comprehend more) that I came to appreciate these lengthier pieces, and then it was like discovering a whole new book! 

I wore my copy of The Laugh Book out over the years, and then it was lost as I moved from place to place.  It wasn't until the past few years that I found a used edition in the  marketplace and was rewarded for my long search with a nice, clean, complete copy.  I have enjoyed it all over again, and I can pass the laughter and joy onto the next generation.  Tonight I read out of it to my own children, and as they start to read, I hope they find as much joy in it as I have. 

Sometimes books just stick with you.  My recent posts are an evidence of that.  I want to encourage you readers out there - explore books you've never heard of.  Find that rare book in a used bookstore or at a random library sale.  Mull over titles that aren't on the New York Bestsellers list.  There are unheard treasures out there - unsung heroes of the book world that can change your perspective and stay with you throughout your life.  The Laugh Book is something that I have carried with me, whether physically or in my heart, since I was a small child. Now I have the opportunity to pass along the joy I have experienced with it to my own children. 

And that is a precious gift. 

Rating:  I dunno, how do you rate a book that's been important to you for 26 years? 
What I'm reading now: The Autobiography of Henry VIII by Margaret George  
Top Five TBR:
1. Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin
2. Sister Emily's Lightship by Jane Yolen
3. Everyone Worth Knowing by Lauren Weisberger
4. The Story of Britain by Rebecca Fraser
5. Crazy Love by Francis Chan 

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