• R.L. Stine, the author of the Fear Street and Goosebumps books, has sold millions of copies of his books, and he has millions of young fans throughout the world. One young person who resisted reading Mr. Stine’s books was his only child, Matthew. According to Mr. Stine, “He brags about it. He knows it makes me crazy.” Mr. Stine’s wife, Jane, agrees: “I think he does it to annoy Bob, and it works.”
• J.K. Rowling is the author of the Harry Potter books, so it isn’t surprising that the first words Andrea, her daughter, learned to read were “Harry Potter.” Sometimes, Ms. Rowling would take her young daughter to a bookstore, and Andrea would see some Harry Potter books and yell, “Harry Potter!” Ms. Rowling worried that people might think that she had asked her daughter to do that.
• Mina Shaughnessy was a good friend of authors Calvin and Alice Trillin — and to their children. She once gave Abigail, one of the Trillins’ two daughters, a necklace that she said had been given to her by a princess. The princess had decided to make a career move and no longer be a princess, and therefore she didn’t need the necklace any more. Young Abigail believed Mina’s story.
• Science fiction author Anne McCaffrey wanted to dedicate her novel Decision at Doona to her middle child, Todd Johnson McCaffrey. She wanted the dedication to read, “To my darling son, Todd,” but at age 12 he worried that such a dedication would result in taunts at school, so she compromised and changed the dedication: “To Todd Johnson — of course!”
• Humorous poet Ogden Nash once saw a five-year-old child precariously standing on a farm building’s roof. He asked the child, “What are you doing up there?” The child replied, “Trying not to fall off.” Later, Mr. Nash reflected, “It struck me that that is what we all are trying to do — simply trying not to fall off.”
• Children everywhere have a special love for the Harry Potter books of J.K. Rowling. At a book signing crowded with lots of children — and adults — wanting Ms. Rowling’s autograph, a 12-year-old Scottish girl told her, “I didn’t want there to be so many people here, because this is MY book.”
• When George Ella Lyon was in the seventh grade, she devised a code to use in writing a novel. Unfortunately, after she had written 50 pages, she lost the key to the code, and so no one could read her novel — not even herself. Later, she became a successful poet and writer of children’s books.
• Jerry Spinelli, author of the Newbery Award-winning young people’s novel Maniac Magee, is aware that at age six, many future authors were reading such works as Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women. What about Mr. Spinelli? He was reading Bugs Bunny comic books.
• When happens at a book signing by the authors of children’s books? Louis Sachar, author of the Newbery-Award-winning Holes, says, “When I ask if anybody has any questions, every hand goes up.”
• Goodman Ace was the head writer for The Danny Kaye Show. While Mr. Kaye was performing, his agent, Abe Lastfogel, asked Mr. Ace, “How can we make this man [Danny Kaye] funnier?” Mr. Ace replied, “I can’t hear you.” Again, Mr. Lastfogel asked his question, and again Mr. Ace said, “I can’t hear you.” Mr. Lastfogel then asked, “Why not?” Mr. Ace said, “The audience is laughing too loud.”
• A few minutes before his show went on the air, Jack Benny called a conference with all his writers and told them that he wanted the words “Professor LeBlanc was played by Mel Blanc” added to the end credits. His head writer, Milt Josefsberg, listened to the request, then told Mr. Benny, “You know, Jack, just two of us could have handled it.”
Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved
The Funniest People in Books, Volume 2 — Buy