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Paperback Details
  • 12/2022
  • 979-8370066535 B0BQFNF5C3
  • 125 pages
  • $8.99
Ebook Details
  • 12/2022
  • B0BQFNF5C3
  • 126 pages
  • $2.99
Louiza Kallona
The Tickling Tale of Smoo

Middle Grade; Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror; (Market)


Some strange things arrive suddenly, like frogs that rain down instead of cats and dogs. Other strange things creep up slowly until one day no one can ignore them any longer. This is the story of the McClaffertys, and the mysterious disappearance of laughter.

Lucy McClafferty and her brother Ben are fed up. The weather has been dreich for months, and no one is laughing anymore.

It’s up to Lucy and Ben to uncover the mystery of why the world has stopped laughing so laughter can return to the world again.

Join them on their weird and wonderful adventure as they travel to the top of Scotland, meet fantastical characters, face unexpected challenges, solve riddles, journey through a portal across the earth, help old friends mired in giref, and discover that there is more to some people and places than meets the eye!


Kallona’s playfully imaginative novel for middle-grade readers follows a girl named Lucy on an adventure to discover why everyone in her family has stopped laughing—as well as her own exciting destiny. The story begins during a snowy winter in the Scottish town of Fiddle Wood, where 12-year-old Lucy lives with her parents, her brother, Ben, and grandmother. Predictably, everyone is bored and miserable, having been stuck indoors for weeks on end. One day it occurs to Lucy that no one has laughed in a long time, not even Grandma, who had “an incredible hooting laugh which made everyone else laugh too.” When Lucy mentions this, Grandma makes a surprising declaration: “It’s the Old Man of Smoo!” she insists.

While Grandma is seen by some as a “batty old woman,” Lucy and Ben take her seriously. Without hesitation, they and their Uncle Patrick accompany the elderly woman on a trip to find Gabel Lylhu, who Grandma explains is “one of the ticklers of the world” and whose name is an anagram for “belly laugh.” On their journey, Lucy learns Gabel is responsible for keeping the world laughing, and his inaction has led to a widespread lack of humor. As Lucy and her family put together the pieces of the puzzle, she discovers her own surprising connection to the ticklers, a story development that will encourage young readers to delve into their own unique family histories.

From start to finish, this tale is relentlessly offbeat and fanciful, inviting readers to enter a world where laughing gull feathers are as valuable as treasure and Gabel must sniff out Smoo’s armpits with his “Nez Extraordinaire.” At times this extravagant fantasy can become nonsensical, but it is grounded by Lucy’s unwavering respect for her grandmother and, in the end, her exciting personal revelation. Young readers will relate to Lucy’s plight as they undertake similar ventures of self-discovery in their own lives.

Takeaway: This playful story follows a girl’s efforts to discover why everyone has stopped laughing.

Great for fans of: Kat Zhang’s The Emperor's Riddle, Varian Johnson’s The Parker Inheritance.

Production grades
Cover: A
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A-
Marketing copy: A-

Diane Donovan, Editor, Donovan's Literary Services

'The first thing to note is the lilting, lyrical, descriptive voice of Louiza Kallona as she presents this story.

Descriptive action crackles throughout the tale with thought-provoking, delightfully original scenes as Lucy, Ben, and Uncle Patrick face an array of unexpected creatures and encounters, from a grinning cat with a message to baboons that sing sea shanties. 

Kids who choose The Tickling Tale of Smoo for its promise of fantasy delights thus receive much more, from insights on joy to cultural revelations, all couched in fun wordplays and descriptions. 

Libraries that add The Tickling Tale of Smoo to their elementary-level collections will find it a standout not just for its sense of fun, but for its especially evocative language and blend of fantasy delights with cultural inspections.'

Kam Brook at Superkambrook

Five-star review 

The Tickling Tale of Smoo by Louiza Kallona was a wonderfully weird story filled with excitement and humor.

The adventure has readers meeting extraordinary people, witnessing unusual events, and hopping on a spectacularly odd bus (Grand Express) that children will be utterly fascinated by and probably say they’d like to ride.

 The Tickling Tale of Smoo had humor, suspense, unforgettable characters, and a unique plot that required an out-of-the-box-thinking resolution. Oh, it also had puzzles that would delight and thrill those who like solving riddles and anagrams. I want to note that the anagrams are not very easy and might prove difficult for young readers. However, the answers are provided as the author tells the story, and thank goodness for that because they stumped even me.

 Kids will love The Tickling Tale of Smoo. Adults will love it too. It’s a story that the entire family can read and enjoy together! 


In the INDIE BOOKS WE LOVE section.

A wonderful rollercoaster full of laughter, discoveries and imagination.

 I fell in love with the book from the first page and even though I had prepared for a wild story because of the unique title, Louiza Kallona still caught me off-guard.

The book started off vibrantly, got intense in the middle, and ended so beautifully with a hint of what will take place in the imaginary world of the McClaffertys.

Louiza Kallona wrote in a way that made me feel I was a character in the story and not just a reader. However, prepare to be mind-tickled in a way such that you end up giggling to hooting in laughter. 

The Tickling Tale of Smoo is a magical book and a must-read for children of all ages, even so, to adults of all ages who don't mind a fantastical book. 

Morgan Amos, The Book Commentary

5-star review

The Tickling Tale of Smoo is a delightful romp that is full of life, passion, and heart! You'll be captivated by this adventurous and action-packed book.

 This whimsical story is delightful and perfect for middle schoolers. The book has vibrant characters, and vivid imagery, and it explores the importance of family and togetherness, which is a resonant theme in the story. These characters face surprising challenges, solve riddles, and meet various individuals with complex personalities along their journey.

The book speaks eloquently to contemporary readers who are so absorbed with the cares of life that they forget the simpler joys of the old life. The writing is clear, the plot has ample twists and turns, and the story has plenty of fun moments to keep readers engaged.

This quirky and unpredictable tale reserves a lot of surprises for readers. 

The Tickling Tale of Smoo is a delightful romp that is full of life, passion, and heart! You'll be captivated by this adventurous and action-packed book.

Readers' Choice Book Awards

'Brilliantly written, with unique characters, an imaginative plot, and lots of humour, this is a laugh-out-loud fantasy adventure not to be missed!'

The Bookish Elf

Editor's Pick

'What sets this book apart is the way it encourages young readers to think about the greater good. Through Lucy and Ben’s journey, readers are reminded of the importance of empathy and compassion, and how small acts of kindness can make a big difference in the world.

The Tickling Tale of Smoo is a heartwarming and uplifting tale that will leave readers with a renewed appreciation for the power of laughter and the resilience of the human spirit. Overall, it is a delightful book for readers of all ages, and a testament to the enduring power of storytelling.'


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Finalist in Readers' Choice Book Award

Amazed to learn that I am a finalist in the Readers' Choice Book Awards contest for The Tickling Tale of Smoo. Winners will be announced on May 31st.

'Brilliantly written, with unique characters, an imaginative plot, and lots of humour, this is a laugh-out-loud fantasy adventure not to be missed!'  


I was thrilled that LoveReading4Kids included me in their selection of INDIE BOOKS WE LOVE.

"A wonderful rollercoaster full of laughter, discoveries and imagination."

INDIE BOOKS WE LOVE logo from LoveReading4Kids

I was thrilled to receive the INDIE BOOKS WE LOVE logo for my book The Tickling Tale of Smoo, so I had to add it to the front of my book.

Thank you LoveReading4Kids!

The book cover now has a matt finish instead of gloss.

The Tickling Tale of Smoo has a new coat

Smoo has some new front buttons and reviews on the back. He has also gone from glossy to matt. He's feeling shiny on the inside. 


SPECIAL OFFER ON SMOO Only $ 0.99 for 1 week!

This Sunday is World Laughter Day.

It's the day when Laughing Clubs around the world meet to amp up the giggle and chortle ripples around the world.

As the chuckle day approaches, The Tickling Tale of Smoo ebook is on special offer, starting today and lasting a week. Only $ 0.99!

For paperback lovers, Smoo is still available for £8.99 or $9.99

Paperback Details
  • 12/2022
  • 979-8370066535 B0BQFNF5C3
  • 125 pages
  • $8.99
Ebook Details
  • 12/2022
  • B0BQFNF5C3
  • 126 pages
  • $2.99