Each member of The Funny Dictionary’s howler hunters Hall of Fame has influenced the creation of The Funny Dictionary: An A–Z of Kids’ Funny Definitions (2018) in slightly different ways.

Amsel Greene provides a fine example of an inquiring, analytical mind; Art Linkletter epitomises unwavering optimism; Cecil Hunt had a zest for life, an unbounded curiosity, and an indefatigable determination to get things done; and Nanette Newman gives an educational purpose to books like hers and The Funny Dictionary.

In the case of The Funny Dictionary, in order to understand much of the book’s humour, you need to have a fairly good vocabulary and broad general knowledge. Thus, the book provides an extra, fun incentive for improving your vocabulary and expanding your general knowledge.

Nanette Newman (born 29 May 1934) is an English actor and author. She was born in Northhampton, Northamptonshire, England, the daughter of Sidney Newman (not to be confused with Sydney Newman, who initiated the creation of Doctor Who) and Ruby Newman. She attended Sternhold College, London; the Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts stage school; and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA).

In an interview in 1981, Nanette said she likes to ‘think of myself as an actress first’,[1]  and would rather be known for her film roles than for her dishwashing liquid advertisements. But Nanette also has ‘a hankering to write’[2] books — around 40 books so far, including bestselling children’s books. Her books of humorous children’s sayings (her Love series) have sold in the hundreds of thousands of copies.

Speaking about one of those books in the 1980s, The Facts of Love, which sold 25,000 copies in 10 days, Nanette said: ‘Really, it's only a little nonsense book, one step up from a greetings card. It's cheap and funny and you can put it in the loo ... that's why it has sold well’.[3]  But Nanette understates her publishing achievements. All her Love books have a joy that evidently many people find irresistible.

Nanette NewmanWebsite

(Above: My collection of Nanette Newman's 'Love' books)

When one of Nanette’s daughters, Emma (herself now a successful broadcaster), was age 7, Nanette heard Emma ending her prayers with 'And God bless love.' Nanette’s famous writer and film director husband, the late Bryan Forbes, told Nanette, 'Good title’, which inspired Nanette to edit a collection of children's thoughts and drawings on love, published in the 1970s.[4] God Bless Love became a bestseller and ‘gave me a foot in the door’,[5] Nanette said in 2010. Nanette donated the royalties from God Bless Love to the Invalid Children's Aid Association and in its first 8 years of publication raised around $60,000.

Nanette writes in long-hand and writes most days. She is quite disciplined about it. Every wall in Newman's work room, where she writes, is crammed with photographs, sculptures, and paintings — she's a keen artist herself. She finds the writing process pleasurable, though not necessarily therapeutic. Writing provides just one way for Nanette to stay occupied: ‘The important thing is to keep working and to find something that occupies you. You need distraction and things to look forward to.’[6]

As well as providing joy to thousands of people, Nanette’s books have an educational purpose: ‘I believe that if you can read, you can learn anything and you’ll never be lonely!’[7]

Her books of children’s sayings include:

God Bless Love (1972)
Lots of Love (1974)
Vote for Love (1976)
All our Love (1978)
The Facts of Love (1980)
The Best of Love (1985)
God Bless Love Birthday Book (1988)
The Very Best of Love (1988)
The Little Book of Kids’ Talk (1999)
To You with Love (1999)
Small Talk (2004)

Endnotes

1. Australian Women’s Weekly, 11 February 1981, 18.
2. goo.gl/ry6o2L (‘The Stepford Wives Star Nanette Newman: Where is She Now?’, Express, 22 July 2017, accessed 26 January 2018.)
3. Australian Women’s Weekly, 11 February 1981, 18.
4. goo.gl/Yadgqi (The Lifestyle News Hound podcast with Nanette Newman and Lindsay Branagh, accessed 26 January 2018.)
5. goo.gl/Yvo9Go (‘Nanette Newman: I Pay by Card — It Doesn’t Feel Like Real Money’, The Telegraph, 26 March 2010, accessed 26 January 2018.)
6. goo.gl/bdvM8X (‘Nanette Newman: Loss of my Husband was Heartbreaking – but I Knew I had to Move on with my Life’, The Irish News, 27 April 2017, accessed 26 January 2018.)
7. goo.gl/ry6o2L (‘The Stepford Wives Star Nanette Newman: Where is She Now?’, Express, 22 July 2017, accessed 26 January 2018.)