Slight downgrade. I wrote my below review after reading the stories that weren't immediately familiar and skipping the ones from books I knew well. Now, after reading the entire anthology, I'm changing from 5 stars to 4 stars, because some of the selections are enough out of context that the humor is missing or not fully explained. Still, it's a great jumping-off point for finding a wide selection of funny stories.


What am amazing selection of humorous short stories!

I expected the modern children's book authors well known for their humor: Beverly Cleary's Ramona, Judy Blume's Fudge, Betty MacDonald's Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, Sid Fleischman's McBroom. I loved that older selections were also included: E. Nesbit is a timeless favorite ; T.H. White's Sword in the Stone was a great choice.

I didn't expect the inclusions by well-known writers not considered children's writers: Garrison Keillor, Mark Twain. Among the best inclusions of this sort were two well-known short stories: Shirley Jackson's fabulous "Life Among the Savages" (I read this years ago, and it made such an impression that I had already told my kids the story before coming across it here) and Saki's hilarious "The Lumber-Room", which is cleverness itself. It's great to come across these stories, because I had just been bemoaning how depressing the modern short story is: humor is rare unless it's gallows humor.

This book is a delight to read. It's also a delight to read aloud to your kids. For them, the stories can be a great jumping-off point to find good books, since they can read more by the authors whose stories and characters they enjoyed.