Review of Alyce Joy Rininger’s KA-BOOM

Alyce Joy Rininger’s book, KA-BOOM, published by Halo Publishing International, is touring this month with the World of Ink, sponsored by V. S. Grenier. The illustrator, Diane Lucas, shows us a fantasy world any child would itch to get into, with a fairy, cute and funny animals, and a passenger butterfly.

Starting off with a bang, KA-BOOM, opens with the fairy, Sprout, blasting Taylor’s dollhouse to smithereens. Taylor grabs a flyswatter, but she’s determined to be brave. Though Taylor is distrustful of the fairy, they gradually become friends, and Sprout shrinks Taylor down to fairy size so they can go on adventures.

Sprout performs her magic tricks by touching her left wing to her right foot (or is it the right wing to the left foot?) Anyway, she gets the job done in a flurry of noise, light, and smoke.


Sprout can’t remember all that she’s supposed to do for Fairy Queen Splaminda Herminda of Spritesville, but she takes on the challenge. It has something to do with helping Taylor develop more compassion, be less suspicious, and believe in unbelievable discoveries.


Together the two teensy girls fly out of the house on a blue butterfly because one of Taylor’s wishes is to visit with a chipmunk and hop around on lily pads in the pond. While Taylor and Sprout go about seeking fun activities, danger surrounds them. For one thing, a couple of bad boys, Loozer and Doozer, the Brattz brothers, like to trample little critters. And for another, the Fish Hawk likes to swoop down to the pond and eat anything he can grasp in his talons. Taylor has to watch out for him when she’s riding on the back of Sir Leapsalot, the bullfrog.

But Taylor and Sprout also meet up with some charming characters who are friendly. Snilly Snail is the one who warns them about the Brattz brothers. And Miss Chipsie, the chipmunk, serves them her sassafras tea in pignut shells.

One of the humorous things is that Miss Chipsie’s blueberry bowl is actually Taylor’s missing tea cup from her tea set. But Taylor is becoming very generous, and she urges Miss Chipsie to keep the bowl (tea cup).

Sprout, with help from her friends, keeps Taylor safe through all their adventures and brings her back home where she adjusts her size back to normal. Sprout is sure the fairy Queen will be pleased with the way she handled Taylor.

Sprout wears a golden disk on a chain around her neck that tells something about what she’s doing or feeling. When she first arrives, she’s ZONKED.  The she runs the gamut from  HOPEFUL, DANGER, RELAX,  SPROUT CLOUTS (when she bested the fish hawk), PRIDE, and all the way back to KA-BOOM!

Lots of humor comes out in Sprout’s vocabulary. She loves to spout fancy words, and if there isn’t one, she makes one up. Here is a list of some of the words that the reader will find at the end of the book:

●Bedraggled……………………… limp, soiled and frayed.

• Bippityhooed………………….. one of Sprout’s words….loud, silly laughter.

• Camouflaged………………….. designed to look like natural surroundings.

• Cumbersome……………..….. difficult to manage because of bulk or shape.

• Discombobulated…………….. thrown into a state of confusion.

• Endeavored……………………. made a serious effort…struggled.

Follow Alyce Joy at: Website

KA-BOOM is available at:  Publisher


I was provided with a review copy of the book for providing an honest review.

Monday Metaphors: Puns Take off

Puns and take offs crack me up. They’re everywhere. It seems that we’re hardwired to make the associations of pictures or words or sounds or whatever that lead right into the take off. Comics who do the funny papers are especially adept at puns and take offs, and they do it in the most succinct manner and often simply visually. This is why my newspaper is all cut up.

Here are some of my favorites:

Hi and Lois. Cell phone rings. Boy one: Another message from Maggie? Second boy: She sends them all day; she’s my “tweet-heart.”

Mother Goose and Grim. Two vampires sitting in a bar. One says: I’ll meet you tonight at high moon.

Pickles. Kid: Where are you going, Grampa? Grampa: I’m going on a jabberwalky. Kid: what’s a jabberwalky? Last frame: Grampa has to listen to Gramma jabbering endlessly.

Frank and Ernest. Frank and Ernest are snorkeling and come upon a sign: “Welcome to Atlan tis”   Lying on the ocean floor is a letter “N”.  Frank says, “Look, Ernie! It’s the lost consonant of Atlantis!”

Message on t-shirt: Dijon Vu; the same mustard as before

Another t-shirt: Relish Today. Ketchup Tomorrow.

Cosmetics commercial:  “See spots run.”

Can you hear Meow? A takeoff on the commercial: Can you hear me now?

Gator Raid = a picture on the wall of a restaurant in Gainesville, FL, of the Gator football team whomping another team.

For swine flu you need oinkment. For bird flu you need tweetment.

Jessica, my granddaughter, and I were talking about the magazine Scientific American. I asked her if she knew anything about “quarks.” She said, “It’s a quarky world we live in.” August 18, 2011

Book titles are good sources for puns

Lucienne Diver’s book is titled Fangtastic

Peter E. Abresch’s book is titled The Faltese Malcom

Graeme Smith’s book is titled Comedy of Terrors

Bennett W. Goodspeed wrote: The Tao Jones Averages: a Guide to Whole-Brained Investing  

In The Weaver by Kia Strand  (Ch. 11) Abigail Wordsmith says, “Good morning eager weavers.”

James Joyce’s biographer says of Ulysses: Much of the wordplay in the book stems from the use of multilingual puns. . .

I haven’t read this book by John Pollack, but I hope to some day: The Pun Also Rises: How the Humble Pun Revolutionized Language, Changed History, and Made Wordplay More Than Some Antics.

This last is an exchange between two writers whom I admire:

July 8, 2011

Carolyn Howard-Johnson responded to a post on Virginia Grenier’s blog, The Writing Mama

 (the blog was about fractured fairy tales):

Virginia, I think a little wackiness helps with writers stress (it’s a little like writers’ block!). I always end my Sharing with Writers newsletter with a pun. They fit because puns are considered one of the highest forms of language and my readers are all authors–that is they–by definition–have to work with language.

Best, Carolyn

I agree with Carolyn that puns are an elevated form of language. My own story, “Gum-Fight at the Circle K Quick Stop,” is a take-off on the famous gun fight at the OK Corral.

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