The 28 short stories, autobiographical essays, and comic strips in this entertaining anthology are meant to prove that females can be funny, and they succeed.
Librarian and blogger Bird has gathered contributions from a stellar group of female children’s and teen writers and illustrators, including Rita Williams-Garcia, Jennifer Holm, and Shannon Hale, plus a few professional comedians who give advice on crafting and delivering jokes. Variety abounds, encompassing Lenore Look’s pun-filled Chinese zodiac, Mitali Perkins’ “Brown Girl Pop Quiz” of multiple-choice questions, and Raina Telgemeier’s comic strip “Attack of the Killer Bee.” Among the standouts are Carmen Agra Deedy’s first-person account of the time her mother set a bathtub on fire to rid it of germs and Libba Bray’s “Public Service Announcement About Your Period” from a witty 12-year-old girl who objects to the secrecy surrounding the subject. A handful of other entries also deal with girl-specific topics such as bra shopping, and nearly all the stories and reminiscences focus on girls. Boys will also enjoy the humor, which ranges from slapstick to subtle. Brief biographical notes about the contributors conclude the volume.
Whether these live up to the subtitle’s claim of “funniest stories ever” is subjective, but the lighthearted array will surely appeal to a wide audience. (Anthology. 9-13)