Nonsense and stuff

“Humbelly doo,
Lumbelly la,
Loopy loo…”

These three have little in common on the face of it. But they all contain at least a sliver of well-turned nonsense. Silly words are always a delight to kids’ ears.

We borrowed Lottie and Walter by @_annawalker_ from the library recently and have been enjoying this story of the girl who overcomes her fears of the swimming pool with the help of an imaginary walrus. But it was immediately obvious what clinched it for the children – the moment Walter the walrus starts singing: “Humbelly doo, Lumbelly la, Loopy loo…” (Happily, he repeats his song several times in the course of the short tale.)

It’s more than ten years ago now, but I remember vividly my nieces falling about laughing at Annie Rose’s baby talk in Shirley Hughes story Breakfast. Alfie’s baby sister Annie Rose bangs her tray and sings “Morra, morra, morra, gorra, Doo-lay!” There is no way of reading this aloud in a low key way. Our two kids still reliably crack up at it.

I couldn’t not include The Book With No Pictures, for B.J. Novak’s wholehearted embrace of nonsense. Above this, he intuited that the spectacle of adults reading silly things out loud is a big part of the joke. The climactic double page is a XL serving of gibberish, ending with the explosive “Ba-dooongy Face!”.

The final page has also provided us with a meaningless occasional family catchphrase: “BONK. I didn’t mean to say that.” Good for any occasion.

What silly words have tickled you and yours lately?

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