November 17, 2010 / 2:26 PM / 8 years ago

Dog and teenage girl tales win Dahl Funny Prize

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - A reading dog and an awkward teenage girl are the central characters of books which won the Roald Dahl Funny Prize, announced at an awards ceremony in London on Wednesday.

“Dog Loves Books” by Louise Yates won the prize for the six-year olds and younger category at the awards, which are named after the best-selling author of “Matilda,” “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and other children’s classics.

Louise Rennison was handed the award for the seven to 14-year-old category for “Withering Tights” for a book that explores the world of a teenage girl’s early adventures with the opposite sex.

Dog Loves Books follows the trials and tribulations of a canine who is so enamored of reading that he decides to open a book shop.

As for many small, independent retailers however, Dog finds it hard to attract many paying customers. But he finds the solution to his problems in his stock.

“An outrageous idea, beautifully told and illustrated,” said poet and broadcaster Michael Rosen, chairman of the judging panel. “Sometimes, what you want from a new book is a surprise, something fresh and odd.”

Tallulah Casey, the main protagonist of Withering Tights is an awkward 14-year old who joins a performing arts school and starts to discover the delights and drawbacks of boys while comparing her fate to Cathy in Emily Bronte’s “Wuthering Heights.”

“This is a witty, wry, inside view of what it feels like to be a gawky, witty girl who knows what’s going on around her, is detached enough to comment on it all, but carried along in the flow all the same,” Rosen said. “There’s a gag on every page with loads of funny situations and people.”

The awards were set up by Rosen in 2008 when he was Britain’s Children’s Laureate. They were established to honor those books that simply make children laugh.

The judging panel also included comedian Shappi Khorsandi, 2009 Dahl prizewinner Philip Ardagh, illustrator Bruce Ingman and journalist Nicolette Jones.

The winners took home a 2,500 pound ($3,972) check.

Reporting by Simon Falush, editing by Paul Casciato

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