My stumper is a humorous book that was like a travel or field guide for aliens from outer space, illustrated with black and white drawings. The aliens had heads like Easter Island statues. The book was a magazine sized paperback, and had a blue cover. It was published in the mid to late 1970s.
The book I am looking for, a book I read at my elementary school library quite often, is a children’s book, maybe aimed at the 9-12 year old set. I suspect from the late 1960s to the mid 1970s. It was a book of self-proclaimed nonsense, with riddles and jokes and poems and shaggy dog stories, with surrealistic drawings and text. The sense of humor was counter-cultural and a bit Monty Pythonesque. I seem to recall that it had the “As I was going to St Ives” riddle in it.
It was a larger format book, 8.5”x11” or larger, and around 80 pages. I think the cover was a brownish green. The drawing style was in a similar borderline grotesque line-art mode as the illustrations for Shel Silverstein or Roald Dahl books, but with a significant amount of clip art and a throwback-y quality to it. I think the title itself had the word nonsense in it, or a word with a similar meaning.
I’ve been racking my brains trying to recall more about it, but that’s all I can seem to manage.
A young kid like to tell stories to his friends. One summer they hear about a (bank robbery/jewelry heist/etc) and go looking for the stashed loot. I can’t remember the reason but they needed money. They end up putting on an impromptu play for the town in an old house. The main character is emoting to the crowd and stomping on the stage which causes a skeleton to fall out of the ceiling, scaring the audience and making the play a success.
I am looking for a small hilariously funny book in which the author goes and analyses or re-tells several famous fairy tales using common sense and pointing out the truly ridiculous bits.
I remember in the pulling apart of “Little Red Riding Hood” he ponders why in the world everyone would name a kid after an article of clothing and wonders what if she had been “Little Dirty Tee Shirt” instead.
In “Snow White” he points out that the mirror is essentially creating the whole problem by maliciously or cluelessly making the queen wildly jealous. He also thinks that “Snow White living in the glen, with the seven little men” rather suggests they are getting up to something and is further evidence of the mirror’s troublemaking.
In Rapunzel he comments upon the whole idea of naming your child after a root vegetable and the wisdom of robbing witches.
In Rumpelstiltskin he thinks everyone is rather hard on the poor guy, and wonders why when she knows what his name is, and her baby is on the line, the queen decides it is funny to play around and wind him up by giving the wrong names at first.
The book was (I think) a half-sized hard back (half height but same length as a hardback book? Size of say an Edward Gorey single story like The Doubtful Guest.) I think it had a black and white drawn illustration on the cover.
I know I gave my copy to a friend around 1983-1985 so it was in print before then. I am thinking it was probably published after 1972 as I think I would have been over 13 when I first received it. My vague memory is that my mother bought several copies as gifts and it was being sold fairly prominently one Christmas season in NYC possibly at Barnes and Noble.
I have tried searching for it but only ever get Fractured Fairy Tales back and that is not it.
I would really enjoy finding this book again!
What I remember: I read it before Borders bookstores closed. I picked it up in paperback on a display that said this type of book was not the author’s usual style. It was long.
Plot: a guy in the south (maybe Georgia?) thinks he kills his secretary and rolls her in the rug and takes the rug to the dump. The reader has the idea she’s alive, but the hero goes on the lamb in a convertible — I think eventually ending up at his dad’s house.
I also remember at scene where he accidentally sees the neighbor’s wife in a revealing outfit and it causes a family rift. There is a teenager daughter. Maybe he works at a furniture store? I would call it a archetype = hero’s journey
Thanks for any help!!
I am looking for a paperback book of humorous anecdotes published in the late 1960s; the book was possibly intended for a young teen or young adult audience. One of the stories was “How to Cook a Coot.” I read it as a Boy Scout about 1969 or 1970.