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The Silly Book Hardcover – August 3, 2004

45 customer reviews

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Press the yellow dot on the cover of this book, follow the instructions within, and embark upon a magical journey. Each page instructs the reader to press the dots, shake the pages, tilt the book, and who knows what will happen next. Hardcover | More for ages 3-5
$14.45 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Only 7 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

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The Silly Book + Stoo Hample's Book of Bad Manners
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Stoo Hample is the da Vinci of Daft, the Socrates of Screwy, and the Gershwin of Goofy. His book is mordant, scintillating, pungent, and deeply profound, but it's just a bit too silly for me." — Norton Juster, author of THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH — Norton Juster

"Stoo Hample's THE SILLY BOOK is more than forty years old and just as silly as ever. Me, too. Which is why I still love it. So do my grandchildren." — Mary Rodgers, author of FREAKY FRIDAY — Mary Rodgers

"THE SILLY BOOK is back again. It's the epitome of Stoo Hample himself. His crazy sense of humor and laughter — his unique frolic with the sound and fun in words — is like having Stoo himself in the room making us laugh." — Charlotte Zolotow, publisher emerita and children's book author — Charlotte Zolotow

"THE SILLY BOOK is — ha ha — so silly — ha ha — that I have trouble — ha ha — thinking about it while writing this — ha ha ha ha — blurb. I mean, have you noticed that the first two — ha ha — letters in Hample are Ha? I mean — ha ha — isn't that — ? It's so — ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. Forgive me." — Jules Feiffer — Jules Feiffer

About the Author

Stoo Hample is the author and illustrator of many books for children, including MY MOM'S THE BEST MOM, YOU STINK! I LOVE YOU, and the international bestseller CHILDREN'S LETTERS TO GOD. THE SILLY BOOK, Stoo Hample's first book, was originally edited by the legendary children's book editor Ursula Nordstrom. The book became a colossal hit, and its popularity led to THE SILLY RECORD, a Boodleheimer doll, and other silly merchandise. This is a book for those who, like the author, believe in silliness. "Life," he maintains, "is essentially silly, or why would there be war, disease, and dandruff?"

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Product Details

  • Grade Level: Kindergarten - 12
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick; Reprint edition (August 3, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0763622567
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763622565
  • Product Dimensions: 10.5 x 0.3 x 10.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,163,191 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Stuart ("Stoo") Hample, chronic self-doubter, writer, 5th to 6th-rate cartoonist, citizen, husband, father, fantasist, and self-styled "Multi-media Failure," has written, edited (and sometimes illustrated) more than 2 dozen books, including the international best-seller "Children's Letters To God" (1,293,000 copies in print). With two songwriters, he adapted "Children's Letters" into a small musical that had a six-month's run off-Broadway and is now touring from sea to shining sea around this great nation, beautiful, for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain, and purple mountain majesties above the fruited plain (See www.childrensletterstogod.com).

A produced playwright, Stoo also wrote the books for two Broadway musicals, which he calls "My hit musicals; if you mention them I'll hit you." Back in the early days of television (remember flickering black & white images, Kukla, Fran & Ollie, Jon Gnagy?) he hosted two shows at WBEN-TV in Buffalo, N.Y. Since then he has written TV comedy for the sitcom "Kate & Allie" and sketches for "George Burns Comedy Week" and "Jackie Gleason's American Scene Magazine." For PBS he created a 90-minute special, "The Great Radio Comedians." Stoo performed on the CBS TV children's show "Captain Kangaroo" as "Mister Artist," sketching cartoons to music, and has been a guest on "The Tonight Show", "Who Do You Trust?," "Oprah," and enough local TV and radio shows to give an entire nation gas.

To keep his unfocussed career sufficiently disparate, for some years he performed as a musical cartoonist at children's and pops concerts with symphony orchestras in the United States and Canada (see Stoo Hample page on Wikipedia). In the newspaper comics field he was co-creator with Woody Allen of a nationally syndicated comic strip, INSIDE WOODY ALLEN, based on the comedian's persona. A collection of some 250 strips appears in his new book DREAD & SUPERFICIALITY (Abrams), with a foreword by Buckminster Fuller, and an introduction by Hample telling how the strip came to be, and what it was like working with Woody Allen.

As an extension of his 2004 book, "Happy Cat Day: A Manifesto For An Official Cat Holiday," he created a monthly humor page that ran in CAT FANCY Magazine in 2005 to 2006, titled TIGER'S TALES, hosted by Tiger, the cartoon cat from Happy Cat Day.(see www.happycatday.org)

Zack Hample, his youngest son, is the author of two baseball books, "How To Snag Major League Baseballs: 100 Tested Tips That Really Work," in which he reveals some of the secrets that account for his phenomenal collection of over 4,000 baseballs (and counting)acquired by attending scores of ballgames in virtually every major league stadium - and WATCHING BASEBALL BETTER, the 8th best-selling sports book of 2008.(See www.zackhample.com).

Naomi Hample, Stoo's wife, is a partner in the renowned antiquarian shop in Manhattan, Argosy Book Store, founded in 1925 by her father, the late Louis Cohen. So while her husband and son write books, Naomi sells them, though hers are essentially rare and out-of-print and are merely part of the store's extensive stock which includes first editions, antique maps and prints, American paintings, and autographs. Security cameras have been placed throughout the building to monitor Stoo's movements by way of precluding his predilection for pocketing interesting items that catch his eye (See www.argosybooks.com). But he claims he amassed his large collection of cartoon art on his own.

Stoo's most recent picture books for children are the minor classic "The Silly Book," "I Will Kiss You Lots & Lots & Lots," and Stoo Hample's Book of Bad Manners.

Among Stoo's heroes (besides E.B. White, J.S. Bach, and Louis Armstrong) is the mid-20th Century humorist and author Fred Allen, radio's lone satirical wit, who fashioned, among other bon mots, these oft-quoted lines: "All the sincerity in Hollywood you can stuff into a flea's navel and still have room left over to conceal eight caraway seeds and an agent's heart" and "The world is a grindstone and life is your nose."(Cf Hample's book "All the Sincerity in Hollywood). He has just finished a play based on Allen, also titled "all the sincerity in hollywood" - yes in lower case because Allen wrote of his penchant for typing without capital letters, "i never learned to shift for myself." The play will feature former talk show host Dick Cavett, and the actress Didi Conn ("Frenchy" in the movie GREASE, and is to be directed by Austin Pendleton.

Hample's project-in-work is a satirical book about the United States Senate. He hopes his barbs will shame the hubristic senators into forsaking their egregiously-partisan obstructionist behavior to begin doing the people's work, as they were instructed by the Founding Fathers. But he has no illusions that his dream will come to fruition.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By M. Allen Greenbaum HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on March 17, 2005
Format: Hardcover
With such diverse opinions about this book, I thought I'd excerpt a few representative lines to give you an opportunity to preview it. Author/illustrator Stoo Hample originally put out "The Silly Book" in 1961; Candlewick published this edition in 2004. Not having seen the original, it's difficult to say how the two compare. In general, I think that nostalgia and memory make the booklover's heart grow fonder. However, Candlework's typical high production values (thick glossy paper, quality book materials) may actually work against the frivolity of the book; a cheaper 'zine (slang for low-tech magazine) format may have been more consonant with the throwaway silly humor. Here's an example:

SILLY STORY
I want to see my mommy a minute,
My mimmy a monnit. My mommy a minnit.
I want to see my mommy a minnit.
To sing her a little song,

To sing her a little.
To ling her a sittle,
To sit her a lingle long.
(I think my mommy will like it
Because it's a very short long.)

Nothing extraordinarily clever here--you're not gonna get something akin to the "Mozart effect" (in which parents play Mozart for their infants, hoping to stimulate their brains). No, when Hample titled this "The Silly Book." he meant it.

Here are some examples. Note how some of these riddles and word plays are now very formulaic for adults. The example immediately following is the kind of riddle that helped build one adult comedian's (G.C.) reputation.

SILLY QUESTION
If people get chicken pox, What do chickens get? SILLY ANSWER People pox.
ANOTHER SILLY QUESTION
If Mommy eats a Popsicle, What does Daddy eat? ANOTHER SILLY
ANSWER A Momsicle!
Read more ›
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Amy Givler on January 27, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This was my brother's and my favorite book growing up. We laughed and shared endless inside jokes quoting it to each other. After college, I snatched our tattered copy from our parents' home, but a few years later my brother asked me for it. How could I refuse him, since he asks for so little? Hence my children, who arrived after the book departed, did not have this book read to them during the crucial 4- to 8-year-old age range.

Knowing time was running out, a few years ago I started searching for a copy from online used bookstores, but to no avail. As soon as I heard it was re-printed, I bought a copy and read it to my kids. Alas, they didn't get it. You see, they are now 14, 13, and 11, and in their mind far too old for silliness. The 11-year-old caught a few of the jokes, but it won't be a favorite.

The lesson: Buy a copy early in your children's lives. There's nothing else out there like The Silly Book.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By C. A. Dekker on August 24, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Woo hoo! What a classic. The Silly Book is good clean fun, and of course very silly. So... where's the old Silly Record? Or will it be reissued as a Silly CD?
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Douglas Stone on August 10, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I read this book as a kid and have been looking for it ever since, so I'm delighted it's back! As I look back on it, I realize it had a huge impact on shaping my sense of humor. Stoo was a friend of my dad's and he came to our house a couple times when I was a kid, and I remember him as being warm and funny.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By J. R. Horowitz on December 1, 2004
Format: Hardcover
My sister and I grew up with my 3 cousins reading this book and as adults, fought over the one copy that was left (they won). We would hoot and howl over this book. It's ridiculous and genius at the same time!! Absolutely unique. Every kid will love this book. It's about time they re-issued this book.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Joanne Gareau on June 9, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My children, one of whom wrote a previous review, loved this book. After an exhaustive search, I was able to replace their long-lost copy. Then my family was delighted to hear a new edition was due in August of 2004 and could be passed to the next generation. I think the humor is not in "jokes" but in the overall material which provides an opportunity to read and sing with creativity and originality and differently each time parent and child(ren) sit together with the book. It's all in the presentation Silly!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Bookloving Mother on December 19, 2004
Format: Hardcover
What a joy to see your children reading a book over and over and laughing hysterically, then repeating phrases and poems from THE SILLY BOOK to their friends and cousins and giggling like all getout. This is a truly funny book, with imaginative drawings that enhance the marvelously original text. Amazingly, this book magically replaces anger or boredom or glumness in my kids with instant happiness. I wish every child in the world could have a copy of THE SILLY BOOK, then maybe laughter would prevail in place of the darker emotions. God bless THE SILLY BOOK!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By JMK on September 14, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was astounded to read the negative reviews of The Silly Book, obviously by the humor-challenged among us--and you know who you are. ;) Why did Chicken-Face cross the--oh, never mind.

I got the Silly Book when I was 4 and it quickly became my favorite book. In fact, it is family lore that I drove my parents mad reciting "I want to see my Mommy a minute" on long cross-country car trips. I was able to find another used copy of the first edition several years ago and introduced the book to my kids, both of whom immediately fell in love with it. For the previous reviewer who claims the book promotes "speaking baby talk," I can only say that that person must have no experience with kids and how they play with language or their own child is frightfully dull, LOL. My kids delight in the word games and absolute craziness of some of the stories.

I was very excited to get an email last year from Candlewick, who had seen my posts about the book on an internet site. They told me about their new edition, but I didn't order it until just last week. It came today, and my kids (now 7 and 9 and both speaking rather well, thank you, despite their early exposure to the linguistic anarchy of Stoo Hample) have not put it down all afternoon. The new edition it should be noted is about twice as large as the original, has some new and/or revised illustrations (Chicken-Face is wearing a mask--NOOOOOO!), as well as a couple of new poems.

You have to be seriously humorless not to enjoy this great trip through the absurd.
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