Parodies, Spoofs, and Twisted Tales

In the 1930s, high school teacher Earl Dias noted that parody can be used to “magnify the characteristic of a writer’s style to such great proportions that even those comparatively inexperienced in the tenets of literary criticism may be able to achieve at least a partial understanding of the peculiar qualities of the type of writing that is parodied.”* Parodies also are great for a good laugh. Below is a bibliography of children and young adult parody books. For a more adult spoof on children’s fairy tales, tryPolitically Correct Bedtime Stories located in the Main Stacks, call number 813 G186po.

Parodies are not always clearly marked in the online catalog, so a little creativity may be needed to find them. Some search terms to use include: parodies, parody, imitations, wit, sarcasm, “nonsense verses,” and “wit and humor.”

*Article cited: Dias, Earl J. “The Use of Parody in Teaching.” The English Journal 28.8 (1939): 650-655.

Allard, Harry and James Marshall.
The Stupids Have a Ball. 1978.
The Stupid family celebrates the children’s awful report cards by inviting their relatives to a costume party in this children’s book spoof.
[Education Storage SE.AL52ST]

Cheatham, Val R.
Skits and Spoofs for Young Actors. 1977.
Skits include Big, Bad Wolf at the Door, The Tortoise and the Hare Hit the Road, The Way-out Wizard of Oz, and Aladdin Strikes it Rich, among others.
[Education Oak St. no call number]

Denim, Sue.
The Dumb Bunnies’ Easter Story. 1995.
In another spoof on children’s books, the Dumb Bunnies are celebrating the holidays in their own ridiculous ways.
[Education Storage Q.SE. D415DB]

Di Darco, Alfredo.
The HoaX-FILES: an unauthorized parody: The Spoof is Out There. 1998.
In this parody of the television show and movie, The X-Files, Agents Moldy and Scolder investigate three hoaX-Files, #1: Alien dogduction, #2: Ixnay on the eezechay, and #3: Epidermis enigmata.
[Education Storage S.D5612h]

Flapdoodle, Pure Nonsense from American Folklore. 1980.
A collection of spoonerisms, word plays, visual jokes and riddles, punctuation rhymes, nursery rhyme parodies, and other nonsense speech, verses, and stories compiled from folk sources around the country.
[Education Oak St. S.398.0973 F614]

Gorey, Edward.
Amphigorey. 1972.
This collection of 15 books by Edward Gorey includes The Gashlycrumb Tinies, a hilariously twisted alphabet book that begins with “A is for Amy who fell down the Stairs. B is for Basil assaulted by bears.” See also Amphigorey Again, located in the S Collection.
[Uni High Graphic Novels GN G668a1980]

Greenberg, David.
Whatever Happened to Humpty Dumpty?: and Other Surprising Sequels to Mother Goose Rhymes. 1999.
Humorous verses are added to traditional Mother Goose rhymes.
[Education Storage Q. S.811 G829w]

Harris, Leon A.
The Night Before Christmas, in Texas, that is. 1980.
Parody of The Night Before Christmas, by Clement Clarke Moore, using Texas tradition and lingo.
[Education Oak St. SE.H242N]

The Harvard Lampoon.
Nightlight: a Parody. 2009.
This Harvard Lampoon book parodies the currently very popular Twilight novel by Stephenie Meyer. Belle Goose begins stalking the uninterested and nerdy Edwart Mullen when she becomes falsely convinced that he is a vampire.
[Residence Halls Pennsylvania Avenue Circulating Collection 813 H2613ni]

Johnson, Paul Brett.
On Top of Spaghetti. 2006.
In an adaptation of the original parody of “On Top of Old Smoky,” the hound Yodeler Jones tells what happened when his beloved meatball escaped from a plateful of spaghetti and ended up under a bush outside his restaurant.
[Education S Collection Q. SE. J636o]

Layne, Steven L.
The Teacher’s Night Before Christmas. 2001.
Exhausted from parties and pageants at school but with presents still to buy, teachers are greeted at the mall by an unexpected helper driving a flying school bus in this hilarious take on the Christmas classic.
[Education Storage Q. S.811 L454t]

Lish, Ted.
The Three Little Puppies and the Big Bad Flea. 2001.
Three puppies leave home as they are warned about the Big Bad Flea. They build houses using flimsy materials, which the flea knocks down easily.
[Education Storage Q. SE. L6871t]

Lowry, Lois.
The Willoughbys. 2008.
In this tongue-in-cheek take on classic themes in children’s literature, the four Willoughby children set about to become “deserving orphans” after their neglectful parents embark on a treacherous around-the-world adventure, leaving them in the care of an odious nanny.
[Education S Collection S. L955w]

Rex, Michael.
Goodnight Goon: a Petrifying Parody. 2008.
A young monster says goodnight to all of the other monsters in his bedroom.
[Center for Children’s Books SE. R3291g]

Rex, Michael.
The Runaway Mummy: a Petrifying Parody. 2009.
A little mummy who wants to run away tells his mother how he will escape, but no matter what horrible creature he claims he will become or where he plans to go, she promises to be there with him.
[Education S Collection Q. SE. R329r]

Scieszka, Jon and Lane Smith.
The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales. 1992.
Madcap revisions of familiar fairy tales, including Chicken Licken, The Really Ugly Duckling, Jack’s Bean Problem, The Stinky Cheese Man, and The Boy who Cried “Cow Patty.”
[Education S Collection SE.SCI27S]

Scieszka, Jon.
The True Story of the Three Little Pigs. 1989.
The wolf gives his own outlandish version of what really happened when he tangled with the three little pigs.
[Education S Collection SE. Sci27t]

Shapiro, Karen Jo.
Because I Could Not Stop my Bike, and Other Poems. 2003.
A collection of light-hearted parodies written in the style of such well-known poets as Emily Dickinson, Robert Burns, Christina Rosetti, Joyce Kilmer, and William Shakespeare.
[Education Storage Q. S.811 Sh226b]

Slime, R. U. (Rupert U.)
Gooflumps: Stay Out of the Bathroom. 1995.
In this parody of the Goosebumps series, Joe won’t put down the seat. Not now. Not ever. But the bully of the bowl has met his match. It’s payback time — and The Toilet is plunging into action!
[Education Storage S.SL362S]

Smith, Lane.
The Happy Hocky Family Moves to the Country! 2003.
This book parodies Dick and Jane style readers. When the Hocky family moves to a big old house in the country, it takes them some time to adjust to a new way of life.
[Education Storage SE. Sm618h]

Snicket, Lemony.
Lemony Snicket: the Unauthorized Autobiography. 2002.
Readers of Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events books will enjoy this parody of an autobiography. The elusive author provides a glimpse into his mysterious and sometimes confusing life, using fanciful letters, diary entries, and other miscellaneous documents as well as photographs and illustrations.
[Undergrad 813 Sn31Ys]

Spiegelman, Art and Francoise Mouly (ed).
It Was a Dark and Silly Night… 2003.
A collection of comic strips by various artists, each of which begins with the phrase, “It was a dark and silly night.” This collection includes comics by Lemony Snicket, William Joyce, Neil Gaiman, and more.
[Center for Children’s Books S.741.5 It11]

Not Just for the Little Ones: Teen Reads in the S-Collection

While thoughts of the S-Collection may conjure up images of picture books and beginning readers, there are also a large number of young adult materials on the shelves. Books are usually classified as young adult or teen based on their theme and the age of their main characters and target audience. It is also not uncommon to find a considerable amount of cross-over between young adult literature and material that is marketed towards adults. The S-Collection has many titles from popular and award winning young adult authors including Walter Dean Myers, Laurie Anderson, Robert Cormier, Chris Crutcher, and Sarah Dessen.

Finding YA Books in the S-Collection

A subject search in the online catalog using the terms “young adult literature” and “young adult fiction” will provide some titles, but these results are only a handful of the many young adult materials in the UIUC library system, which are often indexed under the same subject headings as adult fiction and literature.

If you do not have a particular author or title in mind, Novelist or the Children’s Literature Comprehensive Database will allow you to search for topics and narrow the results by recommended reading age. Titles can then be entered into the online catalog to see if they are part of the UIUC collection. Please note that these resources are available to UIUC affiliates only, but your local library may have access as well. UIUC affiliates will need to authenticate through the proxy server if trying to obtain access from off campus.

In addition to the S-Collection, young adult materials can be found in the collections at the Undergraduate Library, the Residence Hall libraries, the Center for Children’s Books, and the University Laboratory High School Library. The UIUC online catalog will provide information about the location of specific titles.

Teen Read Week 2007 (October 14-20)

Every year during the third week in October, the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) sponsors Teen Read Week to encourage teens to read for pleasure. The theme for this year’s celebration is “LOL @ Your Library,” featuring recommended lists of humorous books. [LOL = Laugh Out Loud]

More information can be found at the Teen Read Week website. Some highlights include:
What Makes Authors LOL and Books To Make You LOL @ Your Library.

More recommended reads and award winners from YALSA can be found at the Website.
S-Collection Books to Make You LOL

Here are just a few of the titles from Teen Read Week suggested reading list that can be found in the S-Collection:

Yee, Lisa.
Millicent Min, Girl Genius. 2003.
In a series of journal entries, eleven-year-old child prodigy Millicent Min records her struggles to learn to play volleyball, tutor her enemy, deal with her grandmother’s departure, and make friends over the course of a tumultuous summer.

Bagdasarian, Adam.
First French Kiss and Other Traumas. 2002.
The author recounts humorous, sad, traumatic, romantic, and confusing episodes from his childhood.

Cabot, Meg.
All-American Girl. 2003.
A sophomore girl stops a presidential assassination attempt, is appointed Teen Ambassador to the United Nations, and catches the eye of the very cute First Son.

Howe, Norma.
Adventures of Blue Avenger. 2000.
On his sixteenth birthday, David Schumacher changes his name to Blue Avenger. . . And things start to happen. To find out more about life and death, romance, gun control, lemon meringue pie, and world peace, you’ll have to read this book. The decision is yours. Or is it?

Rennison, Louise.
Angus, Thongs, & Full-Frontal Snogging. 2000.
Presents the humorous journal of a year in the life of a fourteen-year-old British girl who tries to reduce the size of her nose, stop her mad cat from terrorizing the neighborhood animals, and win the love of handsome hunk Robbie.
[S.R2952a 2000]

Goldschmidt, Judy.
The Secret Blog of Raisin Rodriguez. 2006.
In a weblog she sends to her best friends back in Berkeley, seventh-grader Raisin Rodriguez chronicles her successes and her more frequent humiliating failures as she attempts to make friends at her new Philadelphia school.

Limb, Sue.
Girl, 15, Charming but Insane. 2005.
Fifteen-year-old Jess, living with her mum, separated from her father in Cornwall, and with a best friend who seems to do everything perfectly, finds her own assets through humor.

Shusterman, Neil.
The Schwa Was Here. 2006.
A Brooklyn eighth-grader, Anthony, nicknamed Antsy, befriends the Schwa, an “invisible-ish” boy who is tired of blending into his surroundings and going unnoticed by nearly everyone. Antsy is fascinated by “The Schwa Effect” – the fact that no one ever sees Calvin Schwa. Even when acting weird and dressed like a total freak, The Schwa is only barely noticed. The two boys form a partnership and get away with all kinds of mischief, from conducting experiments at school to confounding opponents on the basketball court.

Vizzini, Ned.
Be More Chill. 2005.
Badly in need of self-confidence and a change of image, high school nerd Jeremy Heere swallows a pill-sized super computer that is supposed to help him get whatever he wants.