Review Blog

Aug 09 2010

My Dad thinks he's funny by Katrina Germein

cover image

Ill. by Tom Jellett. Black dog books, 2010. ISBN 978174203121 7.
Picture book. Kids will love the literal meanings of the words and phrases used in this very funny picture book. Each thing the boy says to his father is turned around by dad taking the meaning as implied by the words, not the meaning as we all recognise. So when someone asks his father, 'How are you going?', father replies 'By bus', instead of the response to a question about his well being. The humour comes thick and fast, as the boy asks his dad for help, because he 'doesn't know how', dad replies, 'I know How, he's What's brother', parodying the famous dialogue between Abbott and Costello about a baseball game with How, What and Who on each diamond.  
Tom Jellett's individual style of illustration adds a new level of comedy to this already funny story. The black line drawings seem to have been done on a variety of resources, wallpaper, material, brown paper, graph paper, crumpled paper and so on, all stressing the ephemeral nature of the words and their use.
The illustrations provide a great model for work in the classroom, and the children's work on new phrases which can be taken two ways added to their efforts.
All very tongue in cheek and showing a delightful family setting underlining the humorous dialogue which occurs everyday between parents and children, siblings and friends. Children will squeal with delight as they recognise the differences between how words are used in our language, and will attempt to add some of their own. ESL students in particular will be puzzled and delighted at finding out how English is used in their new home.
Fran Knight

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