David Bruce: The Funniest People in Books, Volume 2 —Children


• Edward Lear, author/illustrator of A Book of Nonsense, grew up in a large family — he was No. 20 in a family of 21 children. (This was during the early 1800s.) His father once bought 12 horses and 12 carriages so that he could take his large family out for a ride on Sundays. As an adult, Mr. Lear devoted himself to art and to writing and to making children happy. He once wrote a friend, “I like to think that if a man ain’t able to do any great service to his fellow critters, it is better (than nothing) to make half a million children laugh innocently.”

• When Madeleine L’Engle, author of A Wrinkle in Time, was eight years old, her father, who was also a writer, took her to see the opera Madama Butterfly. Unfortunately, the opera had an unhappy ending, shocking the young girl. Shortly afterward, her father took her to see another opera, I Pagliacci, and she asked, “Father, does this opera have an unhappy ending, too?” When he told her that it did, she started crying and kept on crying. Eventually, her father took her home — even though the opera had not yet started.

• Children’s book writer Phyllis Reynolds Naylor did a lot of writing when she was young, and she illustrated the stories she wrote. When she learned to draw lace, suddenly the heroine of her stories began to lose her clothing so young Phyllis could draw her lacy underwear. On another occasion, her mother explained the facts of life to her, and so young Phyllis wrote a “Manual for Pregnant Women,” complete with her own drawings. After she showed the book to her mother, the book turned up missing.

• Katherine Paterson, the author of such children’s books as The Sign of the Chrysanthemum and Bridge to Terabithia, wrote a mystery at the request of her children. One night, a power failure occurred, so to entertain her children, she began to read them the manuscript of her mystery, promising to read them more the following night. The next day, she found her 10-year-old son searching for the manuscript because he didn’t want to wait until evening to find out the next development in the plot.

• When author Leroy Jones, later known as first LeRoi Jones and then as Amiri Baraka, was in grade school, his vivid imagination caused him to invent stories that were believed by other people. For example, some grade-school teachers once showed up at his house because, they said, they wanted “to see the snakes.” Investigation revealed that young Leroy had told people at his school that he had rescued his mother from snakes that had invaded his home.

• Harold Dahl believed in a charming superstition. He believed that children could be educated to appreciate beautiful things — while they were still in the womb! Therefore, whenever his wife became pregnant, they would go on what he called “glorious walks.” He would take her somewhere beautiful, and then they would go for a walk. Harold’s only son, Roald, became the author of such noted children’s books as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

• While waiting in line at a post office, gay author Michael Thomas Ford noticed a young boy about seven years old wearing glittery pink nail polish on his toes and on his fingers. He also noticed that the boy’s mother was totally nonchalant about the glittery pink nail polish. The boy may someday discover that he is gay, or he may be going through a temporary phase, but either way, Mr. Ford says, “You go, girl. Both of you.”

• The son of professional writer Arthur Machen once asked him to write a 200-word article on the French Revolution for his school’s magazine, but he warned him that the magazine’s editorial board — composed of children like himself — would have to find the article worthy before it would be published. Mr. Machen was gratified when the editorial board deemed his article worthy of being published.


Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved


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Music Recommendation: Jim Ivins — “18 Dreams”


Music: “18 Dreams”

Artist: Jim Ivins

Artist Location: Nashville, Tennessee

Info: Jim Ivins is the lead singer of the Jim Ivins Band.

See jimivins.com for comprehensive personal, co-writing and session work discography, as well as voice-over work.

Music & Lyrics by Jim Ivins 

Jim Ivins – Vocals, Guitars, Bass, Drums 
Treesa Gold – Violin 
Kevin Inge – Pedal Steel 

Price: $1 (USD) for track

Genre: Pop Rock.


Jim Ivins on Bandcamp


“18 Dreams”