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A Roald Dahl Funny Prize hat-trick!

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If you’re a fan of funny books, then Nosy Crow is the place to be. Today the shortlist for the Roald Dahl Funny Prize was announced, and we are thrilled to say that there are THREE Nosy Crow titles across the two categories – a quarter of the total number of shortlisted books!

In the category of the funniest book for children aged six and under, both Weasels by Elys Dolan and Troll Swap by Leigh Hodgkinson are shortlisted.

Leigh says:

Of course, I am being not remotely original or interesting by saying how much of a Dahl fan i have always been (I even wrote my degree thesis on him)… but it is true. I can’t remember exactly when I stumbled across his words which were magically glued to Quentin Blake’s spiky illustrations… but all I know is that my world was never quite the same again. So to be nominated for this award is a very special thing indeed. For me, it is a validation that a jaunty angled story which makes you grin can also have something more meaningful lurking underneath if you look past the giggles.

Elys says:

I’m extremely excited and also quite relieved that people find Weasels funny and not completely insane! Or maybe they think it’s both…

And in the category of the funniest book for children aged seven to fourteen, The Grunts all at Sea, written by Philip Ardagh and illustrated by Axel Scheffler, has been recognised.

Philip says:

As anyone with a degree in engineering will know, there are few things in life more exciting than cheese, but one such thing is being shortlisted for the Roald Dahl Funny Prize for a second time.

The first time, back in 2009 when talk was cheap, I – along with my splendid illustrator Jim Paillot – went on to win the prize so never dreamed of reaching the shortlist again (my standards having dropped so dreadfully since then), which only goes to show what SUPERB judges they have this year, guided by the unsteady hand of Michael Rosen.

If, however, my book The Grunts all at Sea, lavishly illustrated by the truly remarkable (but little known) Axel Scheffler fails to win the 2013 prize, ignore the previous praise and be aware that the judges are a bunch of numbskulls who wouldn’t recognise a good book if it sat on their lap and said, “Call me Gerald!” *

(*They won’t be reading this blog, will they?)

I’m having great fun writing The Grunts – I finished book three this very week – and, from the occasional guffaw coming from my cellar, Axel seems to enjoy illustrating them, so it’s a delight to know that children and prize judges alike are enjoying them too.

The Roald Dahl Funny Prize takes children’s funny books seriously, and that’s certainly something to celebrate AND smile about.

Now, if I start shampooing my beard now, it should be dry in time for the award ceremony in December.

Axel? Axel! Have you seen my heated rollers…?

The three shortlisted titles are equally brilliant – three unique authorial voices and three fantastically distinctive illustrative styles – and all, needless to say, very, VERY funny. Funny books are particularly great for reluctant readers, and for reading together. But they’re also good for reading outside, under the bedcovers, in the dark, on top of a hill, in the bath or while sat on someone’s shoulders. ANYWHERE, in fact. So if you’re looking for something to make you (or perhaps someone young who you know) laugh, see what fits.

Here’s a look inside Weasels:


Buy the book online.

Here’s a look inside Troll Swap:


Buy the book online.

And here’s the first chapter of The Grunts all at Sea:


Buy the book online.

You can read more about the Roald Dahl Funny Prize and the full shortlists on the Booktrust website, here. The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in December – good luck Leigh, Elys, Philip and Axel!

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  • I came to the Nosy Crow ‘Everything you ever wanted to know..’ and purchased a copy of The Grunts for my eight year old son. I had his parents evening yesterday in which his teacher told me that Jack is one of the only boys who willingly picks up a book to read in free time – it was The Grunts. He has also written a book review. I just wanted you to know that even if Jack was the only one who picked ‘The Grunts’ to read (unlikely I know) then you have accomplished something amazing. You have my vote.

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