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Literature / The Silly Book

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In 1961, Stoo Hample said to the children's book editor Ursula Nordstrom: "You wouldn't be silly enough to publish anything I'd write." She replied, "You couldn't write anything silly enough that I'd publish." Accepting the challenge, he proceeded to write The Silly Book. Its popularity led merchandise including an LP called The Silly Record. After being reissued in 2004 with new illustrations, the book was released again in 2010 with the first-ever release of The Silly Record on CD.


Recurring characters include a cat-like creature with a moustache and six toes on each foot, named "Boodleheimer"; a boy named J.B.; and a girl named Louise. It includes silly songs, silly names to call people and things, silly recipes, silly poems, silly things to say, and even silly nothings. "Life," Hample said, "is essentially silly, or why would there be war, disease, and dandruff?"

Silly Examples:

  • Black Comedy Burst: In the silly version of the nursery rhyme, when Humpty-Dumpty has his great fall, all the King's horses and all the King's men don't even try to put him back together. They make scrambled eggs out of him.
  • Brick Joke: After a long poem about Cousin Millie and her lily, the young narrator later returns to tell us that cousin Millie is...upside down.
  • Cartoon Creature: Boodleheimer.
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  • Cloudcuckooland
  • Lethal Chef: "Silly Recipe".
  • Noodle Incident: The narrator forgets what the Silly Secret is after telling you how much you will laugh.
  • Rhymes on a Dime
  • Spoonerism: "Silly Story", "Silly Backwards Talk".

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