How to Talk Nonsense

Last Friday, in my English 703: Critical Approaches to Children’s Literature class, the students and I spent 5 minutes talking nonsense.  We’d been reading theories of nonsense, and Lewis Carroll’s Alice books – I thought it would be both fun and educational to put those theories into practice. So, based on our readings of Tigges,

Syd Hoff’s Teeth: The Leftist Satire of A. Redfield

While he was contributing to the New Yorker as Syd Hoff, he was also contributing to the Daily Worker and New Masses as A. Redfield – the pseudonym he adopted for his radical work.  The Ruling Clawss (Daily Worker, 1935) collects his cartoons originally published in the Communist daily.  Contrary to what all published biographies (except

Crockett Johnson Laughs

Crockett Johnson was not a teller of jokes.  His sense of humor was wry, subtle, sardonic.  He’d quietly offer a well-turned phrase or make an off-hand observation that perfectly addressed the moment.  However, in contrast to his gentle delivery, he “had this sort of earthy laugh,”1 a “marvelous laugh.”2 Courtesy of Nina Stagakis, here is

It’s a Lane Smith Book

Comedy is hard.  Lane Smith makes it look easy.  I’m not going to reveal the punch line to his latest, It’s a Book, because I don’t have to: There are plenty of amusing moments along the way.  When the jackass asks, “Where’s your mouse?” Smith provides a wordless page in which a mouse emerges from