Knock knock. Who's there? Amazon's best-selling holiday author

Fri Dec 19, 2014 7:48am EST
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By David Randall

NEW YORK (Reuters) - It sounds like the usual setup for a knock-knock joke: Who is the best-selling author on all of this holiday season? Rob Elliott. Rob Elliott who?

Yet it's no laughing matter for Rob Teigen, a father of five in Grand Rapids, Michigan who, under the pen name Rob Elliott, currently owns the No. 1 and No. 2 spots on’s best-selling book list, outpacing such hits as "Unbroken" and the latest from Bill O'Reilly.

The source of his success: two books, “Laugh-Out-Loud Jokes for Kids” and “Knock-Knock Jokes for Kids,” both of which are aimed at parents and grandparents looking for help now that their six year olds are just discovering the art of telling jokes, but have awful material.

“I can’t tell you how many people have come up to me and said ‘You saved my life,’” Teigen says.

Not that all of Teigen's jokes are gems, he is quick to add. Most of the material wouldn't be out of place in a Jackie Mason show. (Example: "Who keeps the oceans clean? The mermaid." )

Yet even a groaner like that is likely to top whatever a kindergartner will come up with by himself, a concept that Teigen, 45, learned by experience. He began writing his first book in 2009 when his youngest daughter was six and desperately wanted to tell jokes around the dinner table, but struggled to understand the concept.

"She would spout off what she thought were punch lines and you'd laugh while thinking 'That doesn't make any sense'", Teigen said.

Each year, there’s a new set of parents and grandparents in the same predicament, which explains why Teigen’s “Laugh-Out-Loud Jokes for Kids” hit No. 1 on Amazon last holiday season, too. Each book is priced at $4.95 - and $2.99 for the e-book version, a low enough price point to make an inexpensive stocking stuffer.   Continued...

Author Rob Teigen smiles with his wife Joanna in Michigan in this September 2011 picture provided by Rob Teigen on December 17, 2014.REUTERS/Rob Teigen/Handout via Reuters