________________ CM . . . . Volume XV Number 7 . . . . November 21, 2008

cover The Hilarious Adventures of Mish and Mash: The Story of How Two Monsters - And You! - Make the Perfect Joke Book!

Illustrated by Remie Geoffroi.
Toronto, ON: Owlkids Books, 2008.
160 pp., pbk., $14.95.
ISBN 978-2-89579-208-6.

Subject Headings:
Wit and humour, Juvenile.
Riddles, Juvenile.
Puzzles-Juvenile literature.

Kindergarten-grade 4 / Ages 5-9.

Review by Devon Greyson.

*** /4

Reviewed from Final Pages.


What kind of bug can you measure with?
An inchworm

What did the lollypop say to the wrapper?
Stick to me or I'm licked!

Where do cows stay on vacation?
At a moo-tel

What can you put in your right hand but not in your left hand?
Your left elbow


Readers of ChickaDEE magazine, one of our few Canadian children's magazines, will be familiar with the Mish Mash page at the end of each issue. Mish Mash is a forum for reader-submitted jokes, tongue twisters and riddles. In The Hilarious Adventures of Mish and Mash, Owlkids Books has created a 10 chapter spinoff of the popular Mish Mash page containing over 600 jokes, puzzles, riddles and tongue twisters.

     The book is loosely held together by an overarching storyline in which clever Mish and brawny Mash try to fill the pages with jokes and more jokes while slimy nemesis Mush attempts to replace all jokes with riddles, tongue twisters, optical illusions and other puzzles. By the end, all three monsters have become friendly partners in goofiness. The shallow storyline, however, is quite nominal and doesn't get in the way of the usual nonlinear mode of joke book use.

     The jokes are the heart of the book. And they are good! The humour is funny and inoffensive, and comes interspersed with age-appropriate puzzles and challenges. The jokes are nicely illustrated by Rennie Geoffroi, who does the ChickaDEE Mish Mash page in the same cartoon-like style and adds a neat bonus how-to-draw tutorial at the end.

     The Hilarious Adventures of Mish and Mash could be useful in classroom — strategically employing the puzzles as brainteasers, or the jokes as levity — or just available as fun free reading for any student. The book might be an especially nice hook for a young reluctant reader as it blends silliness and fun with valuable literacy skills delivered via puns and wordplay.

     Overall, The Hilarious Adventures of Mish and Mash is a good contemporary joke book! Up-to-date content and good jokes are a strength. The puzzles are a bonus. The attempt at an overarching storyline is unnecessary but doesn't detract from the book in any way. I'd recommend this to anyone looking for a joke book for an elementary collection, a fun book for primary readers, or to any adult who needs a stash of kid-friendly jokes in their repertoire.


Devon Greyson is a librarian at the Centre for Health Services and Policy Research in Vancouver, BC.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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