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The Happy Hocky Family Paperback – September 1, 1996


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Step aside, Dick and Jane, or the very hilarious Happy Hocky Family might just run you over. Deftly parodying the repetitious, simplistic sentence structure of basal readers with lots! of exclamation points, Smith adds his signature prankishness to a series of banal family escapades: "I have a balloon. Do you have a balloon? I have a balloon. My balloon is red. If you had a balloon, what color would it be? My balloon is red. POP! I have a string. Do you have a string? I have a string." In keeping with the campy tone, the artwork has a stylishly retrograde appeal, featuring smiley-faced stick figures block-printed in primary colors onto beige construction paper-quality pages. Unlike the frenzied intersection of word, image and design that distinguishes the artist's previous works (including The Big Pets and, with author Jon Scieszka, The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales ), the comic impact of this book derives from Smith's deliberate pacing. Each punchline is delivered with a master comedian's timing. Go, Smith, go. All ages.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

Seventeen extremely short stories to delight the pre-primer crowd and their younger sibs. Smith parodies the smugly middle- class textbook, transforming boringly repeated lines into comic resignation in such dramas as a burst balloon: ``I have a balloon. Do you have a balloon? I have a balloon. My balloon is red...POP! I have a string. Do you have a string? I have a string.'' The Hockies may be a classic family of parents, boy, girl, baby, and pet, but these events--like those in Mother Goose or schoolyard lore--hinge on misfortune: ants escape; the contents of pockets shrivel in the wash; grandmother's perfume smells like too many flowers; a cousin habitually breaks toys; sibs exact retributive justice. The stories' easy informality is supported by illustrations featuring wonderfully expressive stick figures on paper-bag tan, spiced up with touches of bright red, blue, and mustard; Smith's graphics are disarmingly simple, but nonetheless expertly deployed. Fun for all. (Easy reader. 3-8) -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 3 - 5 years
  • Lexile Measure: 180L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Puffin (September 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140557717
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140557718
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 0.2 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #471,488 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Lane Smith is the author and/or illustrator of several award-winning books for children. He is a two-time winner of the Caldecott Honor for Grandpa Green (2012) and The Stinky Cheese Man (1993). Four of his books have won the New York Times Best Illustrated Book Award and several of his books, including It's a Book, John, Paul George & Ben and Madam President have been New York Times and Publishers Weekly bestsellers. Mr. Smith has illustrated works by the likes of Bob Shea, Roald Dahl, Dr. Seuss, George Saunders, Judith Viorst, Florence Parry Heide, Jack Prelutsky and Eve Merriam. Some of his most popular books are with frequent collaborator, Jon Scieszka. Mr. Smith lives in Connecticut with his wife Molly Leach, an award-winning graphic designer.
www.lanesmithbooks.com

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Daniel G. Lebryk TOP 50 REVIEWER on April 1, 2009
Format: Paperback
This is a lesson every child and adult should learn, how to look at the bright side of what you are dealt in life. If memory serves me correctly, I read this book to my sons starting 6 or 7 years ago. For a long time it was almost a nightly read. The boys were 6 and 11 at the time. All three of us laughed every single time we read this.

To this day, we still look at eachother and say, "Toys, What are toys, we don't have any toys," whenever somebody asks about something silly. Or one will just say, cousin stinky, and we all laugh.

This is a genuinely funny book. It teaches a wonderful lesson, things go wrong in the world (your balloon pops, your coat gets dirty, cousin stinky likes to break toys) and how you react to those things is important. Looking on the bright side of those events will make much happier people.

The illustrations are fun. The language is fun. It's fun to read out loud. And what kid wouldn't love saying cousin stinky? And honestly, it's all in how you read to your child that makes this book fun and appropriate.

The perfect companion to this book, the dumb bunny family, Dumb Bunnies Collection. We still love to talk about hammering up Valentine's hearts on the windows for Christmas.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on December 29, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book is very funny and well animated. It is filled with a lot of dry humor that will probably go over the childs head. As I read it to my kids, I couldn't keep myself from laughing. This book is stinking funny!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on April 1, 2005
Format: Paperback
This book is a little kid book, but I'm 13 and it still made me laugh with joy. This book is very simple yet funny about a little twisted family. I think everyone should read this book because it would make the grumpiest person.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Pammela Quinn on November 7, 2005
Format: Hardcover
My husband, my 2-year-old daughter, and I are huge fans of the sequel - "The Happy Hockey Family moves to the country." So we were all very excited to get our hands on this book also. It is, as expected, a very funny, wry satire that is well-drawn and fun to read, BUT unlike the sequel it is really totally inappropriate for a small child. The book contains a segment about the very, very scary monsters that come in through the windows at night which is very frightening. So be warned that it is really a book for older kids (and parents) to enjoy.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Helen on November 5, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I loved reading the Happy Hocky family to my both of my children. Just as my daughter was approaching school age, I saw her reading the Happy Hocky family. It was the first independent reading she did.
Yesterday evening my son, who is the same age now, got the HHF out of the bookcase... and read a bit of it to me.
So, both of them have started independent reading with the same book.
I think the "magic" is in the fact that the repetition helps kids get their heads around the reading part -- while the dry humour helps the parents come back to the book where if it were real Dick and Jane stuff, they wouldn't be able to stand it.
If your children are in the age group 3-5 I strongly suggest you get this book. It's a reading magnet.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 15, 1998
Format: Paperback
When I see that a children's book has been written and illustrated by the same person, I ususally find some weakness in the story line or the visual presentation. Lane Smith has beat the pattern and authored a unique and entertaining book that caused my three children (ages 3, 11, and 12)to laugh out loud. The illustrations are marvelously spare, yet masterfully efficient in portraying the Happy quirky Hocky family. Did I tell you that I laughed out loud as well? I love sophisticated humour for kids; this is a fun book. I hope Lane Smith gives us more Hocky Family stories.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer McKasson on August 18, 2009
Format: Paperback
I was introduced to this book when I was 17 and in a training program to be a camp counselor for girls. It changed my life. I bought my own copy and have read it to most every group of kids I've worked with in a camp setting since 2000. It's fantastic and the kids BEG to have it read to them every time. It's instant entertainment and whether the kids are first-timers to hearing it or it's their ninth time hearing it, they still flock to me when I hold up the book. Magic, thy name is Happy Hocky Family. Even the staff love it and many have approached me with complaints that they haven't heard it yet. Sometimes I omit the monster story because I read it to kids who are in an outdoor setting, have vivid imaginations and plenty of noises to fuel those imaginations. I didn't want children in my cabin in the middle of the night scared of the normal noises because I read them a story about a monster who comes in through windows. If my children are older I will read the entire book. The nice thing about this book is that omitting one or two stories you don't think are wise to include is easy and doesn't interrupt the flow of the book at all!

My stars must have been in alignment today because I found a copy in hardback at the local used book store and it made me SO happy. I have a copy of The Happy Hocky Family in hardback. Do YOU have a copy of the Happy Hocky Family in hardback? I do. Hee hee! If you'd like to see my reading of the book to children and the way my 4-6th grade girls responded to it, you can find it on YouTube. The title of the video is Dizzie Reading Happy Hocky Family and it's in 2 parts. You can see where I omitted the monster story and the Cousin Stinky/Toy Story to make it more age appropriate. The kids only noticed the second time and the flow wasn't interrupted at all.
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