Seriously, We Need More Silly
What has really kept most families going through lockdown?
Buying a lockdown puppy?
Finding alternative uses for toilet rolls?
Excessive consumption of alcohol (at least for the grown-ups)?
These are all valid answers, but I’d like to add something else to the list – Laughter.
Examples of things that have kept Blogling’s family going include:
Charades, where my daughter attempted to do the whole of Greek mythology (we didn’t guess it…)
Horrible Histories and Homeschool Histories (thanks, Greg Jenner!)
Infectious Diseases Top Trumps (“I’ve got syphilis!”)
Toilet roll fights (see above)
Finding out there was a Roman emperor called Maximus Pupienus (pronounced poopy anus)
Every evening, I am required to do ‘funny stuff with teddies’ (funny ‘ha ha’, not funny ‘peculiar’, I would like to add) and modify our reading books (Enid Blyton’s Mystery series) to make them funnier.
And it’s totally worth it. Laughter releases endorphins, stimulates circulation and reduces stress. It’s hard to feel negative thoughts whilst smiling, even when it is a false smile. Laughing reduces the levels of cortisol in the body, which can actually improve the function of your immune system in the long-term. In fact, the benefits of laughter are so powerful that there is an entire branch of medicine devoted to it – Medical Clowning.
In short, laughter is comedy Calpol.
Speaking to agents and looking at releases, it seems the Picture Book industry is focused on nature, kindness, community, empowerment, how we’re destroying the planet, and mental health. Whilst these are all worthy subjects, I haven't yet seen an agent say:
“We are particularly looking for books about how to give a giant a wedgie, imaginative uses for custard, and anything that makes me laugh so hard that tea comes out of my nose and fries my laptop.”
This is despite the fact that laughter is one of the most vital weapons in our wellbeing arsenal. Every book that makes you laugh is a book that tackles mental health.
Life can be tough but, even in the darkest moments, sharing a laugh with your child has to be one of the most special, life-affirming and joyful things you can do.
With that in mind, let’s put the real world to one side, just for a moment, and take being silly seriously. If you are after a good laugh, here’s a few suggestions from pharmacy of funny:
The King of Space – Jonny Duddle
Mixed-up Fairy Tales – Hillary Robinson & Nick Sharratt
The Day I Swapped my Dad for Two Goldfish – Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean
Stuck – Oliver Jeffers
The Great Dog Bottom Swap – Peter Bently and Mei Matsuoka
Dragon Stew – Steve Smallman and Lee Wildish
If I were You – Richard Hamilton and Babette Cole.
What else would you prescribe? Add your favourite funny books below.