I think I used to laugh more. I know I used to laugh more. I have been stared at on the bus as I couldn’t keep in a laugh from what I was reading. Depression takes its toll, and I haven’t been laughing as much as once I did.
A little before my 17th birthday (22 years ago – eek!) I borrowed my first Terry Pratchett book from the library. Wyrd Sisters. By the time of my 17th birthday two months later, I’d not only read every Discworld book that I could find in the library, I also owned almost all the ones published in paperback to that point. Discworld were my comfort reads. Discworld were novels I laughed at loud at.
I don’t laugh as much as I used to. One recent book that I have been giggling though as Mighty Girl (7) reads it to me is Goth Girl and the Ghost of a Mouse by Chris Riddell. She looks at me and keeps saying “I don’t get it” but she’s reading it all the same. It’s not today’s choice because we’re only a few chapters in.
Today’s choice is the second in a series that has made me laugh so much.
Mixed Up Nursery Rhymes: Hilary Robinson & Liz Pichon (Hodder Children’s Books, 2013)
Mixed Up Fairy Tales and Mixed Up Nursery Rhymes are both amazing books. They are split page books where you make your own story at random. My children also like to find the ‘correct’ story. This is easier in Mixed Up Nursery Rhymes as the flaps are in order, but a more complex in Mixed Up Fairy Tales where the pages are mixed from the start.
Mixed Up Fairy Tales is also more complex with four parts to every story, whereas Mixed Up Nursery Rhymes has three parts. This gives more story options with the Fairy Tales. The Nursery Rhymes are therefore more suitable from a younger age, but any age from pre-school and up can enjoy both. It helps to have a certain grounding in fairy tales and nursery rhymes to really get the humour, which shouldn’t be too difficult for most children!
I am in awe of how Hilary Robinson has managed to make phrases that fit together in any combination to make a sensible (silly) story. For Mixed Up Nursery Rhymes, that’s three parts to 12 rhymes, making possible 1,728 combinations, and for Mixed Up Fairy Tales, that’s four parts to 12 stories, making 20,736 combinations! And they all work!
(* It might be 1,320 and 11,880 combinations. My maths is very rusty. It’s something to do with permutations. Whatever the answer, it’s a lot of laughs…)
Some random examples from Mixed Up Nursery Rhymes:
Old Mother Hubbard went to town riding on a pail of water.
Polly found a crooked sixpence and lived in a cup of tea.
The Grand Old Duke of York went to Gloucester in a shower of rain and stood on a plum.
The Queen of Hearts put the kettle on and drank a spider.
Highly recommended essentials for every bookcase (not that they’ll stay on the shelves for long, these live under my daughters’ beds for easy access most of the time…)
Disclosure: Mixed Up Nursery Rhymes received for review from Hachette Children’s Books.