We recently had the extreme pleasure of listening to Fake Mustache by Tom Angleberger on audiobook. We’re relatively new to audiobooks. Mushroom and BalletBoy didn’t love them when they were little and we have eased slowly into listening to them more regularly over the last couple of years.
Fake Mustache was by far one of the biggest hits we’ve done so far. The book was well narrated, with two readers who had just the right accents and inflections. The story is hilarious and preposterous. From start to finish, the book had us in stitches with the bizarre occurrences and characters like the novelty shop run by a very masculine woman, the grabby hand that grabs anything, the disguises that work too easily, and the TV show where the stunts are real but the singing is fake.
The oddities of Fake Mustache reminded me of other weird children’s books and I thought it was worth sharing a few more, on audio or not.
Fake Mustache: Or, How Jodie O’Rodeo and Her Wonder Horse (and Some Nerdy Kid) Saved the U.S. Presidential Election from a Mad Genius Criminal Mastermind by Tom Angleberger
Odd Plot: Lenny Flem realizes that his best friend Casper may be using his new fake mustache to rob banks and then steal a presidential election. With a little help from a pre-teen rodeo star, Jodie O’Rodeo, he has to try to stop him.
Weirdness Example: The mustache allows the wearer to hypnotize a group of wandering accordion players into robbing a bank.
Funny Name: If Jodie O’Rodeo, Lenny Flem and Fako Mustacho aren’t enough for you, the mustache has a name too: The Heidelberg Handlebar #7.
Five Novels by Daniel Pinkwater
Odd Plots: Five short novels are included in this collection, including Alan Mendelson: Boy from Mars and my favorite, Young Adult Novel.
Weirdness: The counselor that the main character sees in one novel advises him to take a week off school and smoke cigars. Also, ice cream is prepared with pizza in the microwave in another book. And an obsession with dada art and Grape Nuts touches off an epic food fight in another.
Funny Names: Samuel Klugarsh, Harold Blatz, Hades Terwilliger, Winston Bongo… I could go on. Pinkwater is genius with names.
A Whole Nother Story by Cuthbert Soup
Odd Plot: When an inventor creates a time machine, he must grab his kids and run for their lives from an assortment of unexpected villains, including spies with a super smart chimpanzee.
Weirdness: The family evades the bad guys with the help from a dog who sees the future. Also, did I mention that a sock puppet is a pretty big character?
Funny Name: Even common names like Jough Psmythe get a silly twist.
Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar
Odd Plot: This classic story is about a school that was built the wrong way, with all the classrooms on top of each other, instead of next to them. Each story follows a different character in one class.
Weirdness: A much hated teacher is turned into an apple and give to the recess monitor for lunch.
Funny Name: Mr. Pepperadder is the name of the assistant cook.