Laughter Remedy Books

1) Health, Healing, and the Amuse System: Humor as Survival Training

by Paul McGhee.
Published by Kendall/Hunt, 1999; 273 pages
$20 (reduced rates are available for orders in quantity).
To order, call 302-897-7827
This book first reviews the basic research on humor and physical health (references to the original research are included), along with research documenting the power of humor to help you cope with life stress. (See Articles on Humor) A long chapter discusses issues related to humor in the workplace. The rest of the book provides a hands-on humor training program for learning to develop the basic foundation skills required to use humor to cope with stress. This 8-Step Program shows you how to
1) determine the nature of your own sense of humor
2) become less serious and cultivate a more playful attitude in life (this is the basic foundation for your sense of humor)
3) develop a more hearty and healthy belly laugh
4) improve your joke-telling skills
5) create your own spontaneous verbal humor
6) find humor in everyday life
7) laugh at yourself, and
8) start applying these skills to cope with stress.
Homeplay is provided for each step, outlining exactly what you need to be doing over a 2-week period to develop the skills associated with that step. Guidelines are also offered for running a group session (at your work site, within a support group, etc.).

2) Understanding and Promoting the Development of Children's Humor

by Paul McGhee
Published by Kendall/Hunt, 2002; 65 pages.
Comes shrink-wrapped with Stumble Bees
and Pelephones
. The two books must be
purchased together. $16 for the pair.
To order, call 302-897-7827

This book is designed to give parents and teachers a better understanding of children's humor. Chapter 1 discusses the broad range of intellectual, emotional, social and health benefits children receive from a strong sense of humor during their growing years . Chapter 2 discusses in detail the basic developmental changes in children's humor from infancy through the elementary school years. Numerous examples of children's humor are offered at each stage. The final chapter shows parents and teachers how to help build strong humor skills during the preschool and elementary school years. [Note: Dr. McGhee is internationally known for his own research on children's humor. He has published 3 prior books on the topic.]

1. Why should you nurture the development of your child's sense of humor ?
2. Developmental changes in children's humor.
3. How to nurture your child's sense of humor.

3) Stumble Bees and Pelephones: How to Develop a Powerful Verbal Sense of Humor (children's edition)

by Paul McGhee
Published by Kendall/Hunt, 2002; 81 pages.
Comes shrink-wrapped with Understanding
and Promoting the Development of
Children's Humor
. The two books must be
purchased together. $16 for the pair.  
To order, call 302-897-7827

This book is geared to kids between first grade and junior high school. It is designed to improve verbal humor skills at an age where kids are highly motivated to learn jokes and riddles. It consists of riddles and jokes with a key part of the punch line missing. Three clues are provided and the child must use the information given in each clue to create a funny punch line. Three levels of riddle difficulty are provided, and answers are given at the end of each section-although a different answer from your child may be just as good as the one provided here.
The basic rationale behind Stumble Bees and Pelephones is that kids must have experience at actively generating their own funny punch lines to strengthen their verbal humor skills. All children spend endless hours telling riddles, but don't improve their ability to create humor, because the riddles and their answers are simply memorized and repeated. This book channels their thinking about a riddle in the right direction without actually telling them the answer, allowing their humor muscles to stretch. Extended practice at this age builds humor skills that eventually become a powerful tool for effective living the rest of a child's life.

Most of the riddles and jokes presented are geared to the elementary and junior high school level, but adults and adolescents will also benefit from reading the book. Even though children's riddles are easy for adults to understand (and, therefore, generally not very funny), it is intellectually challenging for adults to come up with their own funny answer without help. Most are unable to do so. Adults, however, will almost always come up with the answer using the clues given; and the process of making the effort to create a funny answer 250 times will boost your own humor skills.

4) Small Medium at Large: How to Develop a Powerful Verbal Sense of Humor (adult edition)

by Paul McGhee

Published by Author House (previously called 1st Books), 2004, 170 pages, $12.50 in bookstores or $11.25 from publisher. 

To order, call 302-897-7827

This book elevates your ability to creat spontaneous and original verbal humor by giving you repeated practice at creating funny punch lines.  The book does most (but not all) of the work by providing everything but a key word or phrase that completes the punch line.  A clue is given to get you thinking in the right direction, and you have to create your own funny punch line.  Once you've made the mental  effort to generate your own punch line, you can check it with the one given at the end of that section of jokes.

This approach works in building humor skills because it calls attention to the many different kinds of thinking involved in creating jokes and gives you repeated practice at building your own humor.

 Sample items:

 Two ropes walk into a fine restaurant.  The waiter asks the first rope,"Are you one of them ropes?"

 "Why yes," stammered the rope.

"Well, we don't serve your kind," said the waiter, as he threw him out.

   The second rope decided he'd better disguise himself, so he tied himself into a knot and made his two ends all ragged.  The waiter then walked over and said, "How about you, are you one of them ropes?"

   "I'm a _________________," said the rope.

 CLUE:  It's a way of saying "no," but of describing what he's just done to himself, as well.

EXTRA CLUE:  The key is the ragged ends of the rope.  (Try to come up with the answer yourself before looking at the answer below.)

 A skeptical anthropologist was cataloging South American folk remedies with the help of a tribal doctor who said that the leaves of a specific fern were a sure cure for constsipation.  When the tribal doctor saw the doubt in the anthropologist's face, he said, "Let me assure you, many of our local villagers have come to me and said, 'With _______ like these, who needs _______?'"

 CLUE:  The familiar phrase refers to friends who turn out not to really be friends.

 This book is a natural accompaniment to Step 4 (developing verbal humor skills) of my Humor Skills Training Program in my book, Health, Healing and the Amuse System: Humor as Survival Training (see above).

Answer: frayed not (afraid not)

Answer: fronds (ferns works less well) . . . enemas (friends . . . enemies)

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