A new joke book is taking dad jokes to the next level by using puns to help families fight fear with fun during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The book, named Laugh-A-Bull, was written by Melbourne dad Daniel Stones, who came up with the joke book while reflecting on happier times with his family after being stood down from his job due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Mr Stones said he believed people were looking for more fun in their lives during these “dark times”.
“To have something a little more fun and put a few smiles on people’s faces, I think people are really looking for that,” he said.
“To be able to spread some good news and try and balance things out, and give people something that’s a little bit brighter than what’s on their screens at the moment is a good thing.”
The premise of Laugh-A-Bull is to create puns by replacing words ending in ‘ble’ with ‘bull’.
Mr Stones turned to Australian crowd funding platform Pozible to raise $8000 to cover the cost of producing, publishing, marketing and distributing the book.
At the end of its Pozible campaign, Laugh-A-Bull raised $9121 and has now entered the early stages of production.
Mr Stones said he was thrilled the community got behind the project.
“You set out with these goals not knowing exactly how it’s all going to pan out, especially in these uncertain times,” he said.
“To come through in the end and have the support of everyone was really cool.
“It’s so easy to think that you’re sort of disappearing in these times when everyone is isolated.
“To have everyone come out and support [the book] and connect and do all those things, it just reminds you that there is a world going on out there that is bigger than the four walls we’re stuck in,” Mr Stones said.
Mr Stones recognised Laugh-A-Bull needed an adora-bull mascot to bring the children’s joke book to life, so he partnered with 19-year-old Swinburne University animation student Cassie Fleming to get the job done.
Ms Fleming joined the team as illustrator and created Hank the Bull, the star of Laugh-A-Bull.
“It’s amazing to watch her work,” Mr Stones said.
“You give her a couple of ideas and discuss it, and this thing [Hank the Bull] comes back, and that’s almost exactly what I had in my mind, but I could have never have drawn it anywhere near the way she does,” he said.
Ms Fleming said she did not “know what to say” when Laugh-A-Bull reached its fundraising goal.
“It’s amazing really,” she said.
“I’m just so grateful to be given this opportunity.”
The Laugh-A-Bull team are aiming for a December 2020 release date and Mr Stones said they would be donating 500 copies of the book to the Starlight Children’s Foundation.
Mr Stones said the commitment to the Starlight Children’s Foundation would continue after the book’s launch, as anyone who purchased a copy of Laugh-A-Bull would have the option to purchase an additional copy to donate to the charity.
“They [the Starlight Foundation] say fun fights fear every time and wins, and I tend to agree with them.”
The Starlight Children’s Foundation’s National Partnerships Executive, Kate Slaytor, said the organisation could not thank Mr Stones enough “for his generosity and passion in wanting to support Starlight”.
“The generosity of Daniel in donating 500 of his amazing books is outstanding,” Ms Slaytor said.
“Starlight Children’s Foundation is there for sick kids and teens to provide positive distraction for seriously ill children, teens and their families.
“We replace the pain, fear and loneliness with fun, joy and laughter – and the Laugh-A-Bull book will certainly bring plenty of laughs to sick kids, and to our Captain Starlights,” she said.
Cassie Fleming said the involvement with Starlight was the driving force behind her decision to illustrate the joke book.
“I’m really looking forward to that, them getting the books,” Ms Fleming said.
“That was one of the main things that made me want to accept this job to illustrate it,” she said.
“To hopefully brighten some kid’s day.”
For more information you can visit www.laughabull.com
If you would like to see more of Cassie Fleming’s art, it can be found on Instagram at ichiyocherry