Book Review: Tales Too Ticklish to Tell

Title: Tales Too Ticklish to Tell

Author: Berke Breathed

Author’s current web site:

Date: 1988

Publisher: Little Brown & Company

ISBN: 0-316-10735-2

Length: 122 pages

Illustrations: cartoons

Quote: “The news is there is no news…it’s all old news. Today there was death, greed, hypocrisy and White House lies…nothing new there!”

This is another volume of the history of the fictional Bloom County, where middle school children and animals relate to the news in ways real children and animals probably never have done or will do. In Tales Too Ticklish to Tell we get the full story of what was going through the minds of Opus and Lola when they mutually cancelled their wedding at the altar, how Bill the Cat failed to defend himself against charges of wholesomeness and saw no alternative to becoming a televangelist, how Opus was run out of Bloom County after Bill preached about the evils of “penguin lust.” This is the first volume to contain the iconic full-color strips where the blonde “tonsil sucker” got to John’s brain, where Steve “shredded” Barbie with his imitation of Colonel Oliver North, and where warnings about the hazards of sniffing dandelions prompted Steve (followed by the animals) to get high on dandelion pollen.

In other sequences not available in the selective reprints, the regular characters in the cartoon strip go on strike and are replaced by adult human “management officials,” Oliver sees stars spelling out the message “Repent Oliver” (and observes that it’s difficult being an agnostic), Opus works as a garbage collector, and Cockleberry Cockroach challenges Milquetoast’s position as tap-dancing spokesman for the cockroach community.

Sequences that were anthologized include the one where Steve was kidnapped by Zygorthian raiders and “Gephardtized,” the one where the Zygorthians participated in a formal congressional investigation and charmed the population by looking like big-eyed puppies, and one of several where Opus worked at the Bloom County Beacon.

Tales Too Ticklish to Tell was a bestseller when new and is therefore easy to find online. You may find a better price from other online sellers; however, if you buy it here, it’s a Fair Trade Book. That means that, of the $5 per book + $5 per package you send to either address at the lower left-hand corner of the screen, Berkeley Breathed or a charity of his choice will receive $1. If you buy five copies (or one copy of each of the similar-sized original “Bloom County” paperback books), you send a total of $30 to either address, and Breathed or his charity will get $5. So, if you want these vintage books, buying them from this web site is a way to show respect and support for a living writer.

Needless to say, you can show even more respect and support by buying Breathed’s new books, for the full new-book price, directly from his web site; if you like good-natured comedy and goofy-looking animal cartoons, this is encouraged.

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