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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: #691,222 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.6 out of 5 stars  16 reviews
14 of 14 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.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My childhood favorite June 1 2012
By Mrs. Robinson - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
When I was a child, I inherited from one of my parents an old book full of stories by many different authors -- mostly forgotten -- and this jewel was in it. I loved it so much and for years quoted it: "And very good they are. Dolls." Etc. Long after I had forgotten the name of the story (I never knew the name of the author) I quoted it and called animals "aminals". Yes, as a childless adult, when I suppose I should have outgrown such silliness.

Then I ended up with a little girl of my own and found myself desperately wanting to read her that wonderful story from that long-lost book. I turned to my good friend Google, on which you can find absolutely anything, and entered: "And very good they are. Jumjills." Wanda Gag came right up. I ordered the book for my little squirt for Christmas that year.

The best thing about getting her the book was that I got to discover Wanda Gag's illustrations for the first time. For some reason, the book in which I'd first read the story had used very pastel, very post-WWII illustrations that were largely pink and green -- all right, but not too memorable. Now, 30 years later, I was savoring the elegant, shapely, flowing, organic Artsy-Craftsy lines of Wanda Gag's work.

As an avid reader of children's picture books, I've noticed an unfortunate fact: The books with great stories that are good for reading aloud to small children are not necessarily the ones with beautiful pictures, and vice versa. But here is a book with a story that was fun and delightful with blase post-WWII illustrations, and here it turned up in my life again with truly gorgeous ones, by the author herself, no less. A book like that is a rare treasure!

Something that I find rather interesting is that this is the story about a little man named Bobo who lives in an underground house with a round door and offers seed puddings to a "Funny Thing" that is clearly a dragon. A different sort of children's book was published eight years later, a book about a little man named Bilbo who lives in an underground house with a round door and serves seed cake to dwarves who drag him off to steal treasure from a dragon. Hmm. I have to wonder if my beloved Mr. Tolkien saw this picture book and was influenced by it. It's in rather a similar style as his own beautiful drawings, too.
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!

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