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.