February 19th, 2015

julius zebra: this book is funny!

I got to be a judge in the final year of the Roald Dahl Funny Prize, and since it ended, there's been a big gap in the recognition of funny books. Many of the best of these books are illustrated, but too wordy to bag the Greenaway illustration medal, and too reliant on pictures to win the Carnegie writing prize. Funny books are more difficult to write than serious books or even books that make us cry. It's easy to dismiss funny things as less consequential or important than serious ones, but political cartoons that cleverly capture an idea often have far more impact than an impassioned article. Sales show that kids LOVE funny books, and laughing at a situation can often help take away the fear of things that would otherwise be scary or worrying. Comic timing is one of the most difficult skills to master... so why haven't we been heralding Britain's best?

Well, never fear! Some of my friends are ON THE CASE and have been scheming to develop This Book is Funny!, with plans to seek out the funniest books. I was at the pub a couple weeks ago with Alex Milway, Gary Northfield, David O'Connell and Matt Baxter (who all make funny books and comics) and Matt showed me the red logo he'd designed. Here it is!

And the very first book they're featuring on the website - www.thisbookisfunny.com - is my studio mate's upcoming book, Julius Zebra. Wahoo! Here are a few words from Alex Milway about the project:

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