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The Funny Thing [Hardcover]

Wanda Gag

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Book Description

Sept. 24 2003 Fesler-Lampert Minnesota Heritage
The Funny Thing is Gág's follow-up to her well-loved first book, Millions of Cats. It tells the story of a curious dragon-like "aminal" that eats children's dolls. A kindly old man named Bobo cannot stand by and allow the Funny Thing to steal dolls from children. He entices it to eat "jum-jills," a concoction he makes up from seven nut cakes, five seed puddings, two cabbage salads, and fifteen little cheeses, all rolled into little balls. A happy ending is assured when the Funny Thing discovers he loves jum-jills and is convinced that they will make his tail grow longer and his blue points grow more beautiful. He returns each day for the treats and never eats another doll.

Best known for her Newbery Honor winner, Millions of Cats, Wanda Gág (1893-1946) was a pioneer in children's book writing and illustration. Her ground-breaking technique of integrating illustrations with the text is evident in all of her classic books. Born in New Ulm, Minnesota, she rose from poverty to international acclaim as a children's book author, artist, and illustrator. In recognition of her artistry, she was posthumously awarded the 1958 Lewis Carroll Shelf Award for Millions of Cats and the 1977 Kerlan Award for her body of work.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Univ Of Minnesota Press; 1 edition (Sept. 24 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0816642419
  • ISBN-13: 978-0816642410
  • Product Dimensions: 17.4 x 24.9 x 1.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 249 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #654,179 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.5 out of 5 stars  15 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Funny Thing Tickles Funny Bones July 30 1998
By A Customer - Published on
My son and I found this gem at the library and it became an instant hit. Though the original publish date was nearly 90 years ago, the subject captivated my son and myself. Drawings and text are pure Gag, (think Millions of Cats), but the story of the Funny Thing with the odd food preference will appeal to any parent who has dreaded making yet another peanut butter and pickle sandwich for a picky eater. The Funny Thing's choice of delicacies may seem a bit outdated to adults, as does Bobo's tearful reaction; however, be prepared to giggle and to add a new phrase (or food?) to your vocabulary...And very good they are, jumjills. And very good she is,Gag.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Three Generations of Jumjills Jan. 12 2002
By Judith B. Criden - Published on
Imagine my feelings when I couldn't locate my "over 50" years old copy of The Funny Thing! Not only can I repeat the whole story but also my children and their children. Problem is I can't find my copy and without the pictures, I feel a little lost. This book is a tradition in our family and the uncountable times I have served the children "jumjills" has become a family joke. An invaluable book - wonderful story, but then I've always been a Wanda Gag fan - and so are my children and grandchildren.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How wonderful Oct. 1 1998
By A Customer - Published on
What a delight to find that The Funny Thing, which I adored as a child, has been republished in time for my very first grandchild. Wanda Gag's delightful drawings of Bobo will enchant the next generation as surely as it did mine.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my mother's favorites as a child, and mine too @ 72. Nov. 12 1998
By (or H.Brown) - Published on
A delightful dragon with an apetite for "jum-jills" sits on top of a mountain devouring them. The drawings beautifully show his tail growing longer and longer as it curls around the peak. I must have a copy for my grandchildren!
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Funny Thing July 16 2005
By R, your friendly neighborhood reviewer - Published on
At a local used bookstore, while walking along the picture books aisle, I spotted a text that looked like it had at six to seven decades on it's shoulders. The book was The Funny Thing (a first library edition, too), one that I'd heard of, and even more important, one by Wanda Gag. For those of you who don't know, Wanda Gag is perhaps the best picture book author/illustrator of the 20's and 30's. Ms. Gag was the recipient of two Newbery Honor awards (for writting) and two Caldecott Honor awards (for her beautifully-detailed pen-and-ink drawings). And though Ms. Gag wrote only a handful of books, her illustrations were some of the first in picture book history to be recognized as 'real' art. That's what makes each of them special.

Now onto the review. Within the first page of the story, we are introduced to Bobo, a baby-faced man who lives in a cave on top of the mountains all by his lonesome. Well, except for the animals, which Bobo takes time out to feed every day. He even has a stand where animals can feast on an assortment of dainties including, "nut cakes for the fuzzy-tailed squirrels" and "seed puddings for the pretty fluttering birds". Everything goes well for Bobo until on a beautiful day, he encounters an animal that looks like a cross between a dog and a dragon. This 'funny thing', as he calls it, talks, insisting that it is an aMinal, rather than an animal. The funny thing then asks what Bobo has for him to eat. After showing the funny thing all the different types of food he has to offer, and the funny thing rejecting each food, Bobo learns of what The Funny Thing loves to eat. Dolls. Yes, dolls. Bobo is terribly upset that The Funny Thing eats dolls, thinking of all the small children left doll-less by the aminals appetite. So Bobo decides to combine all the foods he has to make something The Funny Thing might actually like. And it works. But there's one problem: The Funny Things tails keeps growing longer and nothing can seem to stop it.

Wanda Gags creativity cannot be matched, and her books are some of the few that are just as good as they were the day they were published. The text in the story, as you may have noticed are hand-lettered. And, like always, the pictures are amazing. I'm tellin' you guys, Wanda Gag's work is some of the best out there.

R, your friendly neighborhood reviewer

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