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Chuckle through Val Chadwick Bagley's new comic book, 'Happy Are We!'

By Miranda H. Lotz

For the Deseret News

Published: Sunday, Nov. 24 2013 5:00 a.m. MST

"Happy Are We" is Val Chadwick Bagley's new book.

Covenant Communications

"HAPPY ARE WE!" by Val Chadwick, Covenant Communications, $10.99, 104 pages (f)

It's been said that if you can't laugh at yourself, you're missing most of life's jokes.

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will find plenty of self-depreciating good humor in Val Chadwick Bagley's new book, "Happy Are We!"

In 1978, Bagley's first cartoon about the cultural idiosyncracies of Mormons was published in the LDS Church's "New Era" magazine. Now, 35 years later, more than 100 of Bagley's comics about Mormonism are compiled into this volume.

In one scene, one young boy lounges in front of a television while speaking to his brother, "I couldn't find the remote for three days. Someone hid it under my scriptures."

In another, a missionary slumps across his mailbox in despair. His companion amiably apologizes while holding up a picture of a tractor, "Oops, my mistake! It's an ad from John Deere, not a 'Dear John.'"

Appropriate for all ages, "Happy Are We!" showcases Bagley's talent for drawing expression filled characters interacting in humorous situations. His illustrations are simple, yet human, with a nod to Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz. The one- to two-line captions are witty and children as young as 7 will be able to appreciate many of the jokes in the book.

At 5.5 by 8.5 inches, "Happy Are We!" is the perfect size to keep around for laughs on a coffee table — ahem — hot chocolate table.

Miranda H. Lotz is a military wife, mother of five, and book lover who currently lives in Colorado Springs.

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