________________ CM . . . . Volume XIV Number 18. . . .May 2, 2008


You Crack Me Up! Chick and Dee's Big Book of Fun. (You Crack Me Up Series; #1).

Jay Stephens & Steven Charles Manale.
Toronto, ON: Owlkids, 2008.
80 pp., pbk., $12.00.
ISBN 978-2-89579-191-1.

Subject Headings:
Puzzles-Juvenile literature.
Wit and humor-Juvenile literature.
Chick (Fictitious character).
Dee (Fictitious character).

Grades 1-3 / Ages 6-8.

Review by Tanya Boudreau.

*** /4



Arf's Funnies:

What do spiders like with their hamburgers?

French flies

Meet the Gang: Robin

Chick's big sister Robin is like a big sister to everyone. She likes to cook but usually ends up making a mess. Maybe it's because she dances while she bakes.


Children might recognize these two feathery friends from the ChickaDEE magazine. Now they star in their first book! You Crack Me Up! Chick and Dee's Big Book of Fun is the initial book in the "You Crack Me Up Series". The jokes, comics, and puzzles do feature Chick and Dee, but the book also includes their good friends Shelldon, Fang, Jack, Bruno, Robin, Petal, and Arf. These animal cartoon characters appear in the comic strips and puzzles, they tell jokes, and they demonstrate how to do things like be a hero or ways to be environmentally friendly.

     For children not familiar with ChickaDEE magazine, there is a four page section entitled "Meet the Gang" where tidbits of information about each character are listed, ending with a piece of trivia called "Did you know?" Here we learn about Dee's love of chocolate syrup and Chick's jumping jack routine before bed. For the readers who are budding artists, drawing tips and step-by-step drawing instructions are including for Chick, Dee, Arf, and Shelldon. At the end of the book, readers will find the answers for the spot the differences puzzles and the solution to the character maze. These puzzle and maze activities give readers something to tackle after reading the comic pages and the jokes that appear throughout the book.

      The Chick and Dee comic strips in the book are the main attraction. They are one page in length with the exception of the longer Chick and Dee strips entitled "Something Fishy" and "Trouble in the Tree House" that are each five pages in length. The bright colors and large illustrations, which are full of movement and action, are child friendly. The situations the friends find themselves in, the activities they do in their free time, and their likes and dislikes are all things children can relate to, and even laugh with, at times. The pages involve sports, lunchtime, sleepovers, and school, but the page I think will get a big laugh is the one about toilet paper trouble.

      This interactive book (even interactive on the "flip" corner pages of the book) is upbeat and provides a variety of ways for children to be entertained.

      Born in Toronto, Jay Stephens won an Emmy for his cartoon series Tutenstein. He created the Chick and Dee comic strip in 1999 for the 20th anniversary of ChickaDEE magazine. His other comics include The Land of Nod and Welcome to Oddville!. His illustrations can be found in the children's cookbook Eat it Up!. He lives in Ontario with his wife and children. Steven Charles Manale is the newest author and illustrator of the Chick and Dee comics. His hilarious webcomic, Superslackers, has been recognized in the comic and cartooning field with several award nominations. He keeps busy with his band and exhibiting his work in art shows and drawing.


Tanya Boudreau is a librarian at the Cold Lake Public Library in Cold lake, AB.

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

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