What better way to understand how to publish the book I’m working on, than to find similar books and review them? This will help me understand who is making, publishing, and buying them.

My review today will be a little different than your average review. This review process will go a little bit deeper as I’m treating my reviews for the next little while as a bite sized dive into the market I plan to enter next. So, if you are not an author or illustrator and just want to know if the book is worth it, The 1st section of this review is for you:

About the Book

  • Title: Giggle Fit: Spooky Jokes
  • Author: Joseph Rosenbloom
  • Illustrator: Steve Harpster
  • Publisher: Sterling Publishing Co. (2003)
  • Length 48 pages of full color illustrated jokes

The Jokes

This was a very cute joke book. I actually brought it with me to my paint-bar job one night and read jokes to my co-artist while we were setting up. It was a lot of fun! Granted, she too is a fan of puns and groan-inducing Dad jokes. So that helped. LOL

On the critical side, a number of the jokes were the “well, duh” type of common sense joke that, tend to fall a little flat for me. For example:

Why did the vampire wear a black belt?

To keep it’s pants up.

Rosenberg, J. Spooky Jokes. NY, NY. Sterling Publishing, 2003.

However, there were also a lot of really fun jokes in this book and I genuinely had far too much fun tossing these at my co-worker for half an hour. What I enjoyed the most about this book though was the inclusion of cute illustrations on every page that brought the puns to life.

Text next to a happy skeleton with an umbrella illustration reads, "Why didn't the skeleton cross the road? Because he had no guts. How did the skeleton know it was raining? He could feel it in his bones. Why don't the police ever arrest skeletons? Because it's hard to pin anything on them.

The Illustrations

The illustrations were well done and enhanced the reading experience. They were colorful, with great rounded shapes that made even the spookiest characters approachable and fun. The illustrations also did a good job of enhancing jokes that may not have been as funny without the visual gag. Such as this pickle joke:

Text reads, "What is green and comes out at night? Vampickle." To left is a goofy fanged pickle looking cross-eyed.

Buy or Borrow?

I think, for the none joke-obsessed family, this book is worth borrowing. Go to the library, check it out for a weekend and have fun with it! The whole family can have fun reading jokes to each other out of this book. However, I don’t think it’s a book you need to own outright. Although fun, it is a short enough size to get through in a weekend and once you know the jokes, you’re probably done.

Deep Dive Section

This section will explore a little bit more of the behind the scenes of this book and be more of a market research section for myself. Notes for myself on things to explore more of in the future etc.

The Author

From a quick Google search I learned all about Joseph Rosenbloom… the journalist. Which wasn’t altogether helpful. I actually had a hard time finding clear information about the kid’s book author.

What I did find though was a staggering collection of 75+ books that Rosenbloom (the correct one) has authored. Joke books, tongue twisters, riddles, storybooks, he’s made them all! His list of published books is really inspiring and I think his collected works will deserve future visits.

The Illustrator

Steve Harpster was a lot easier to track down. He even as a Twitter account and YouTube channel!

Harpster is an artist whose career I want to take a closer look at. He’s published at least 45 books, has such a cool drawing style, and his own publishing company. I also love that he does a lot of presentations at schools and outreach programs. I can only imagine how motivating it would have been to a young me to meet an illustrator like him. After watching just one of his videos I feel like I could send him a DM for advice and actually hear back. I’ll be exploring more of his work moving forward as well.

The Publishing Company

Sterling Publishing Company is an active publishing company and a big one at that. They have several catalogues spanning many demographics, but their children’s book collection alone is 108 pages long. Scrolling through their catalogue, I see a lot of digital art used for illustrations. So that will be something to keep in mind when moving forward with my own illustrations.

Closing Thoughts

I really enjoyed reading this joke book. It was a fun, playful book that I’d totally borrow from the library again to share with my Dad.

Also, I’m extra excited about what this little ol’ book review means. It means finally taking this goal seriously and dedicating myself to learning what I need to make my own book happen!

Thanks for reading, and if you have any author/artist/book suggestions, let me know!

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