The Mischievians

TheMischieviansCoverby William Joyce

published 2013, by Simon and Schuster

(I love that upside down A. I suppose that sucker is called The Letter Flipper Upside Downer. The Fontfiender. Or something.)

Impeccably designed with nods at its book-ness, the cover is distressed and worn like it’s been studied and loved and needed. It’s a book that knows it’s a book, so it looks especially, book-y.* Right?

But let’s start with this. You might know some of these guys:

breaker This is the latest offering from William Joyce and Moonbot Studios, a dazzling storytelling team. (Remember that book-loving Morris Lessmore?) But this one is mayhem and wordplay and maddening and glorious. You wouldn’t expect anything less, right? Mischievians1 The story starts on the endpapers where some kids are at their wit’s end and a spindly green arm yanks away a vowel. Awful. Naturally, their parents are blaming them. Wouldn’t you? But no. The peculiar looking Dr. Zooper sucks them into his laboratory, and introduces them to the encyclopedia that explains everything. Darn those Funny Bones. Did you know they find your ow-ding-ow-oh-oh so hysterical that they hide out until the giggles subside? Thanks to this encyclopedia of mischief-makers, I know that’s why they only show up a few times a year. They’re out there somewhere, chortling and waiting, plotting and howling. Jerks. Mischievians2 The Mischievians. Mischievians3 When the kids are zooped back up the chute, they have a monumental task. Document! Top Secret! Report and resist!

I don’t think it will take them too long. breaker How about you?

Thanks to Simon and Schuster, I have two copies to zoop over to you! Just leave a comment here by midnight PST on December 31. Maybe even tell me which mischief-maker is driving you most nuts? Is it the Remotetoter? The Stinker? The Lintbellian? You have my sympathies and my snickering.

Sorry about it.


*Other book-y looking books I love:

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (the original design!) by Newt Scamander (and J.K. Rowling)

Shaun Tan’s The Arrival 

The ridiculously brilliant Battle Bunny, by Jon Scieszka and Mac Barnett (That post from Julie Danielson at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast is a smorgasbord of awesome.)

And, of course, Greg Heffley’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. (With a huge nod to Jeff Kinney, obviously.)


  • Posted December 23, 2013 at 5:36 am | Permalink

    Oh! I looked at this in the library before it came out (love a librarian who sneaks you a book before it’s released) and keep meaning to get it out now that it’s official.

  • leandrajwallace
    Posted December 23, 2013 at 6:32 am | Permalink

    I’d have to say the Remotetoter- and here I thought it was my toddler doing all the remote stealing… 😉 It looks like a fantastic book!

  • Kim Pfennigwerth
    Posted December 23, 2013 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    This looks so fabulous! It would be the sticker outside that Always gets my barefeet!!

  • Posted December 23, 2013 at 7:01 am | Permalink

    This looks great. Thanks for sharing….I love books that are meta and recognize their bookiness in a fun way.

  • Posted December 23, 2013 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    The worst Mischievian in my life is Bacefook (sounds like a swear-word, but isn’t, not really.) Bacefook is itself totally nondescript except for the fact that it from head to toe it’s decked out with dozens of dazzling magic lanterns, lanterns that emit mesmerizing yet ultimately insubstantial visions. And Bacefook hypnotizes me every damn time.

    Another Mischievian is the beastie who’s keeping me stuffed up on one side of my head but not the other, which is really throwing me off balance even as I right this. I call him the dextergyrophleghmtruder.

  • Posted December 23, 2013 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    *even as I write this –
    See?? I’m stuffed up on the right side of my head – and it’s interfering with my ability to both write things and right them!

  • Posted December 23, 2013 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    This book looks amazing! At our house, the sock snitcher is the mischevian that drives me crazy! I know everyone took two socks off, so where does the one go?? Thanks for introducing another great title to me. 🙂

  • Posted December 23, 2013 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    I saw this book at Barnes when it was first released, only I didn’t have time to REALLY read it! I LOVE the work by William Joyce, my favorite being THE FANTASTIC FLYING BOOKS OF MR. MORRIS LESSMORE. Such a talent! And I didn’t know he was a Brit!

    In fact, if any of you are interested, that book was adapted into a short, animated film that won an Oscar (I think it was an Oscar). It’s amazing! For your viewing pleasure:

    Enjoy, everyone, and stay safe through the holiday season 🙂

  • Danielle Heitmuller
    Posted December 23, 2013 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    It’s so nice to catch up on my blogs! Bill Joyce never disappoints and this looks like such fun! As a world-class klutz, I’m always banging my funny bone, who knew Mischevians could be at work?

  • Posted December 23, 2013 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

    I absolutely love Morris Lessmore! As for Mischievians…the lintbellians and the danglers are tied for first place favorites. Love your blog too Carter!

  • Posted December 23, 2013 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

    Well, as it is two days before Christmas, the most troublesome Mischievian at the moment are…

    the Wrapscallions – These wee creatures, dormant throughout much of the year, rise and shine during the gift wrapping holidays. They make themselves known by hiding the good scissors, all adhesives except the duct tape, and ensuring the available wrapping paper is just a tad too small for the package you desperately need to wrap.

  • Posted December 23, 2013 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

    Jim, that’s very funny lol Is that actually in the book, or did you just make that up? lol

  • Posted December 24, 2013 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    I made it up. Haven’t seen the book, yet. Thanks!

  • Posted December 23, 2013 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

    It would definitely say the Remotetoter! Hope you have an amazing Christmas and start to your new year!

  • Posted December 28, 2013 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    When I grow up, I want to work at Moonbot Studios–or maybe they’d just let me hang out there . . . Thank you for reminding me of this awesome book. I have my Christmas gift card ready, just in case the No-Chancers abscond with my name before the prize drawing.

    Happy new year, Carter!

  • Posted December 28, 2013 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    Just kinda love this book! We need some naughty creatures around here to steal the ice from our trees. It looks like a war zone. A very sad holiday in Georgetown Ontario.

  • Posted December 28, 2013 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

    So sorry to hear this, Candice 🙁 The pics of the trees down reminds me of several storms we’ve dealt with here in Jersey, too, like the year we had snow/ice while the leaves were still on trees. The weight just pulls them down or snaps them 🙁 I hope everyone gets power back soon. Too cold!

  • Posted December 29, 2013 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    The purse-wader will use any means possible to purse-wade said book-giver to draw her to win this much-desired picture book! This particular purse-wader will carry this book in her purse during her hometown’s Children’s Art and Literacy Festival as she wades through the crowd to get William Joyce to sign her copy! Yes! He will be here in June for our festival. He is one of the featured illustrators at our National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature. In his book, Santa Calls, the MC lives with his aunt and uncle in Abilene, Texas…where I live! See…so many connections! Am I being very purse-wading??? I hope so 🙂