Belly Rolls and Jellyfish ~
Remember the last time you doubled over in uncontrollable laughter? Or found yourself giggling right along with particularly infectious laughter—even though you have no idea what’s so funny? Have you ever been unable to contain your chuckles while attempting to repeat a good joke? There’s nothing like a good old-fashioned belly roll to lift the spirits!
Besides the secret smile I get when noticing a familiar title in a stranger’s hands or book bag, is the curious delight I feel when hearing someone laugh out loud with their nose in a book! I’ve done it myself and know you can get some pretty odd looks, but Hey, you just have to read it too-and you can, soon as I’m finished!
To some folks humor is as natural as breathing; they are just plain funny. When a perfectly normal discussion becomes an exhilarating laugh-fest, you know you’re in the company of a master. It’s a double-bonus when these same funny people happen to be writers who write the kind of books you recommend but never lend for fear of losing your own personal piece of that special kind of magic.
There was a time when I thought it would be particularly tricky to write humor for children. Age is definitely a consideration, though there’s no real guarantee that a seven year-old wouldn’t laugh at humor intended for say, a nine year-old. And quite honestly, unless you’re a polka-dot gnat on the playground, how would you know? For anyone pondering this, as I did, I recommend an (older) article by Jan Fields, “A Spoonful of Humor”
And now for the Jellyfish. In relation to humor, they are at once interesting and startlingly swift to harm. Kind of like bullies. Except that Jellyfish don’t follow you around the schoolyard. So what is a kid to do? Well, a little old fashioned embarrassment never hurt anybody. In fact, it will often remind a bully that he or she is only human, too. And kids, always, always tell a grownup—they’ll have some pretty good ideas!
Until again, be well, be happy and read!