• First, we’re having a GREAT time with the One School-One Book program…. Getting “thank you” notes from parents already about how it’s “forcing” some family reading time that they seemed to have lost over the years.
    — Paul Marinko - Principal at St. Paul's Lutheran School - Fort Wayne, IN
  • Since last spring, our entire school has excitedly embraced the One School, One Book Program. We will soon begin our spring selection: A Cricket in Times Square -- the third book we've adopted since the spring of 2010!

    We are so thrilled with the positive impact this program has had on our students, families, and staff
    — Laurie LaRue - First Grade Teacher at Edgewood School - Bristol, CT
  • I think the OSOB program is brilliant. My seven year-old attends Orleans Elementary in Massachusetts and they (we) are reading Masterpiece. Since the grades levels range from one to five at this school, finding a book to suit all is difficult. My daughter can follow the big picture somewhat but we have to reinforce what we’ve read because it’s a lot to take in for her.
    — Glenn Krzeminski - Parent of student at Orleans Elementary - Orleans, MA
  • The One District, One Book program promoted by Read To Them...is a powerful way to systemically address and promote a culture of literacy throughout the entire school system.

    My school actually adopted a hamster and even used it as “pet therapy” for many of the behaviorally challenged children in our school.
    — Kenny Moles of West Virginia

A Barrel of Laughs, A Vale of Tears

by Jules Feiffer (1995)

Jules Feiffer is primarily known as a cartoonist and the author of delightful children’s picture books like I Lost My Bear and Meanwhile. But he also brings his inventive flair and irreverent wit to the children’s novel A Barrel of Laughs, A Vale of Tears. Yes, it’s a cumbersome title – but that’s just one of the things you’ll have to find or figure out for yourself by entering its charming, unexpected pages. A fairy tale setting, where anything can happen – including hijinks that upset the author…and are guaranteed to amuse children. More importantly, Feiffer is able to write strong, literary sentences, and not afraid to indulge in rich, valuable, entertaining vocabulary. Best of all, along with the brisk, unexpected plot developments and irreverent prose, Feiffer manages to impart some true, gentle, long-lasting wisdom. His characters grow and learn – just as each family will when they are finally able to figure out what the title actually means. All that, and not to forget Feiffer’s winsome, Pulitzer Prize-winning line drawings, which enrich every chapter, and are sure to keep younger listeners engaged even when the story takes an occasional heady turn.

There are nine supplementary resources for Jules Feiffer’s A Barrel of Laughs, A Vale of Tears:

  • a sample letter home to parents
  • a sample reading schedule
  • Daily Trivia Questions (w/ Answer Key)
  • a Trivia Contest (w/ Answer Key)
  • a Trivia Bank
  • a list of suggested activities
  • suggested assembly ideas

As a participating member of One School, One Book you may have access to all of these documents. Here are some samples:

The sample documents are incomplete. They are designed to give you a quick peek at the documents for each title. For the complete and full versions of all documents, you must be a participating Read to Them school. Contact bruce.coffey@readtothem.org for more information.

© Read to Them 2015. All rights reserved.
2201 West Broad Street, Suite 206 Richmond VA 23220
(804) 367-3195 (Main)
(804) 367-3434 (Fax)
contact us by e-mail