RhyPiBoMo 2016 Day 21 Author Samantha Berger

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I was fortunate to meet today’s guest blogger last summer at the LA SCBWI Conference! Do you see why I attend conferences? How many of our bloggers did I meet at that event? Lots and lots!! Samantha is just as much fun in person as she appears on her social media! Full of energy, loves her job and life itself!  That comes through in all her wonderful books!! I can’t imagine anyone better to blog about humor.



I am pleased

to introduce

Author Samantha Berger

Samantha Berger

Author Samantha Berger
Photo credit by Leo Moreton



(Because there weren’t nearly enough letters in that acronym already)

by Samantha Berger

So, if you’re like me, the moment someone asks you how to be funny, your pendulum swings the opposite way, into NOT FUNNY AT ALL LAND.

You get serious.

You clam up.

You’re suddenly certain that you’ve never been funny a moment in your life.

But just at that moment, you fart, and it sounds like there’s a question mark on the end, and you laugh so hard, you forget all about the original question of how to be funny.

Because you just slayed yourself.

When it comes to humor (in rhyme, in life, in the bathroom), we all have the only thing we ever have—our own voice.

Yours will be different from mine, different from Jon Scieszka’s, different from Katie Beaton’s, different from Louis CK’s, Amy Schumer’s, and Fozzy Bear’s.

Yours will be different from everyone else on the planet.

And that’s good!

That’s what makes you YOU, your humor, YOUR humor, and your writing, YOUR writing.

But there are some universal things that do help with the funny factor.

And I wanna focus on three biggies here:


What was funny about that fart?

It caught me off guard. (it was unexpected).

I was thinking about not being funny (the timing).

There was a question mark on the end <frrrt?> (the specific).

Put those three together, and you just might have a nugget of comedy gold.

And there are some incredible rhyming picture books that do it so well.

guess again

One of the best books to use that winning combo is Guess Again by Mac Barnett and Adam Rex.

He steals carrots from the neighbor’s yard.
His hair is soft, his teeth are hard.
His floppy ears are long and funny.
Can you guess who? That’s right! My—-


[turn the page:]

Grandpa Ned.

What this book does so brilliantly is rely on the reader’s knowledge and expectation of rhyming books. Then misleads us, surprises and delights us.

The reveal is the unexpected.

The page turn is the timing.

The who it actually is, is very specific.

It’s not just Grandpa. It’s Grandpa Ned.

I can’t stress enough what a hilarious and genius book this is.

These guys got the unexpected, the comic timing, and the specifics just right.

When I went through my collection of favorite rhyming picture books, I found these three elements of comedy exist almost unanimously.

The Nutshell Library by Maurice Sendak, poems from Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein, various Dr. Seuss books.

 Intersteller Cinderella

Interstellar Cinderella by Deborah Underwood, Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast by Josh Funk, Mrs. Biddlebox by Linda Smith, they all know how to take it to unexpected places, use the timing, and include a very specific “zoombroom” when necessary.

Even though they’re now second nature, I do try to keep these things in mind when I am writing.


In Snoozefest, a sloth going to a concert for the world’s greatest sleepers felt unexpected to me. And kinda funny.


In Junior Goes to School, spinning the wheel to see what absurd thing a pig would worry about, felt like good timing, And kinda funny.


In Boo-La-La Witch Spa, a witch getting a serpent spit spritzer at a spa felt very specific. And kinda funny.

So put them together and get some HA! into your RHYPIBOMO.

*And remember even a fart can inform your art.



Samantha Berger writes and writes and writes
She’s written cartoons for television. She’s written comic books and commercials.
She’s written movie trailers, theme songs, licensed-books, slogans, promos, articles, poems, and PSAs.

You name it, Sam’s written it.
And when she ISN’T writing, she’s doing voice-overs, traveling the world, and helping rescue dogs.
THEN, she writes about that, too!
Samantha splits her time between New York City and sunny California.


Twitter – @BergerBooks

Instagram – SamanthaBerger321

Facebook – Fans of Samantha Berger


Crankenstein Book Trailer I made:


Snoozefest Book Trailer I made


Crankenstein Valentine trailer I made





Thank You Samantha!

PLEASE like our guest bloggers on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, go to their websites and express your appreciation for their time and wisdom! Many have generously donated multiple prizes and this event would not be successful without their support, so please support them! Oh…and buy their books too!!


To be eligible for today’s prize drawing by Random.org you must comment at the bottom of the page where it says “Leave A Reply” AND add your FIRST and LAST name in the comment. If I don’t have your name or how to contact you via email, you can’t win.

You must be a member of the RhyPiBoMo Facebook Group and if you haven’t officially registered, you are not eligible to win.

Please follow the pledge rules daily to get the most out of this challenge!


The drawings will be done daily and announced next week.




65 thoughts on “RhyPiBoMo 2016 Day 21 Author Samantha Berger

  1. Samantha’s writing reveals that she loves anything clever and funny. I like the way she points out the importance of timing, the unexpected and the specifics. Very good points to know . I hope i can try to be funnier with these good tips.
    Thanks again angie for getting such great bloggers.

  2. Great post, Samantha. Sometimes it’s difficult to figure out just why something is funny. Thanks for the insight! Adam Rex was a guest author at my kids’ school last year and he read GUESS AGAIN. The student (from 1st to 6th grades) were roaring with laughter after each page turn. It’s so, so funny. Perfect example (and I’m a huge fan of your SNOOZEFEST, too!).

  3. Ingrid Boydston- I hope this isn’t considered inappropriate, but my Papa’s favorite “rhyme” never fails to slay me. I think you might like it too. ” “Roo rah ree kick em in the knee! Roo rah rasa, kick em in the other knee!” Rhyming Dust Bunnies is another great example of what I call thwarted rhyme. Thanks for sharing! I have and love Crankenstein, and look forward to reading your other books!

  4. Being funny isn’t easy but these tips on how to get started are great! Loved the post and examples and dare I say, I’ve now got the phrase “even a fart can inform your art” in my head. 😉 Thanks for an awesome post! — Rebecca Colby

  5. Mona Pease
    Thanks, Samantha.This truly is funny. Start with a fart that leads to a question mark. Kids would love to share this with their literacy teachers!!! Love the mentor texts.

  6. Kirsti Call
    Thanks for making me smile this morning! We love Crankenstein at our house! Thanks for some great mentor text suggestions too. I just reserved them at the library.

  7. (Katelyn Aronson) PAHAHA! “Even a fart can inform your art!” Thanks, Samantha, for helping Angie and RhyPiBoMo go out with a bang this week 😉 !

  8. Anita Jones
    Thanks Samantha for your great..and funny tips! I’m looking forward to checking out some of the books you suggested! I love those “Unexpected” endings……

  9. Samantha, Thank you for adding the “Ha!” My favorite PB of yours is CRANKENSTEIN. I didn’t realize you had written a second one. Manju Howard

  10. This morning’s post is a gem! So many facets to successful writing! Thank you, Samantha, for sharing your expertise, giving mentor text suggestions, and most of all, a laugh-out-loud way of viewing the world.

  11. Daryl Gottier- Thanks for the pointers about the use of humor, particularly the specific, the timing and the unexpected. Your examples were helpful…and I loved your book trailers, they were so much fun!

  12. Debbie Smart – Thanks for a fun post about humor! Appreciate the helpful tips about timing tricks! Thanks for sharing your knowledge with us!

  13. Melanie Ellsworth – Thanks for the insights on humor, Samantha. Your SNOOZEFEST has been cracking my family up for months.

  14. Charlotte Dixon
    Thank you, Samantha, for the tips and examples for finding the HA in our RhyPiBoMo experience! Love your books 🙂

  15. Thanks Samantha! Who does’t need a little more Ha! in their day. Thanks for the tips to add ha! in our scripts.
    BTW – A sloth and a snoozefest…that combo is a must have in my library. Can’t wait to go buy it.
    Aimee Haburjak

  16. Therese Nagi
    Thanks for sharing these great specific suggestions. It really helps to share some of humor writing secrets. Humor isn’t easy to write, but you helped to crack the code.

  17. Judy Sobanski –

    Great post, Samantha! The Timing, the Unexpected and the Specific – all great points to remember in order to improve the humor in our rhyming PB texts. Thanks!

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