Tag Archives: humor

There, There

There, There
by Tim Beiser, illustrated by Bill Slavin
Tundra Books, 2017

As half the work of a picture book is the illustrations, this book’s textured, rich acrylic pictures, kept me turning the pages, again and again.  I was not familiar with Bill Slavin‘s books, but I’m reading them now.  A Canadian artist, he’s won numerous awards.

The text, written in well-done rhyme also pulled me in.  The story features a whiney rabbit who complains of just about everything, and a patient bear who accepts his friend’s quirks up to a point.  Tired of all his complaining, he marches his friend out and show’s him an earthworm who spends all his time in dirt, has no arms or legs and gets happy when he mistakes his own rear end for a friend!  Fortunately, rabbit gets it, and suddenly the day turns warm.  But the worm, tossed into the dirt was insulted!  The story ends on a humorous note in perfect rhyme.

A fresh story with a good lesson.

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This is NOT a Cat!

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This is NOT a Cat!

by David LaRochelle, illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka
Sterling Children’s Books, 2016

As a mouse teacher instructs her mice student on what a cat looks like, a cat enters the classroom.  Frightened, teacher and students all scream “A Cat!” and run.  As they leave the building, the reader sees the ‘cat’ is only a costume.  Inside the costume is a rat.  Smugly the rat leaves the building to come face to face with a real cat! Using minimal words and color-filled pages of action, readers can enjoy the humor of all the twists and turns in the story.

If you like humor, you may enjoy other books by David LaRochelle.  Check out 1+1=5 and Other Unlikely Additions, a silly book on addition.   If you have a budding actor, introduce them to Moo!  Using only one word throughout the story, the story is told through voice inflections.  Toddlers love this story when they quickly learn to read ‘moo’ and practice their expressive verbal skills.  This book sometimes finds its way in junior and high school drama classes, too!

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My Dad at the Zoo

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My Dad at the Zoo
by Coralie Saudo, illustrated by Kris DiGiacomo
Enchanted Lion Books, 2016
Originally published in France.

A hilarious story of what happens when a son and dad switch roles.

Most of the time dad is great, until Sundays.  When he wakes, he wakes everyone and cries to go to the zoo.  He pretends he’s a camel and gallops to the ticket window.  He flirts with flamingos, patters like the penguins and terrorizes the turtles.  And even though his son explains it’s too early, Dad has a meltdown screaming for ice cream.  But the worst is the souvenir shop.  Son holds “Dad’s hand with all my might, trying to keep him from going in. But Dad is still bigger and stronger than me.”

The muted illustrations totally capture Dad’s childlike antics, bringing a chuckle to every page.  Both adult and child readers will enjoy this one.

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Wolf Camp

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Wolf Camp
by Andrea Zuill
Schwartz & Wade Books, 2016

Wolf Camp is a hilarious story about a family dog that gets a once in a lifetime experience going to a wolf camp.   Fang and Grrr, Homer’s camp counselors, teach him how to howl, track wild animals and hunt.  But, Homer soon finds out eating what you hunt is gross!  And through a series of humorous lessons, he learns that being a wolf isn’t always what he thought it was.  Homer returns from camp a changed dog.

Readers will feel the excitement of preparing for camp, riding the bus to camp, and making new friends at this very different place called “camp” and will love Homer and his loveable, laughable friends.

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The Bear Ate Your Sandwich

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The Bear Ate Your Sandwich
By Julia Sarcone-Roach
Alfred A Knopf, 2015

In a hilarious, wild tale, a narrator shares how the bear ate berries from a truck, that carried him over rivers and bridges and into town.  The bear explored everything with a smell, from garbage cans, to farmers markets, to dumpsters.  He discovered the park and played, until he found the sandwich, which he gobbled up straightaway.  Knowing he did wrong, he dashed up a tree and, missing his forest, caught a boat home.  “So.  That’s what happened to your sandwich.  The bear ate it,” says the dog (narrator) to the knowing little girl.  A fun tall tale, a great read aloud.

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A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to School

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A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to School

by Davide Cali, illustrated by Benjamin Chaud
Chronicle Books, 2016

This whopper of a tale a young boy tells his teacher as to why he’s late for class is a fantasy that some young people wish they could share.  The young boy’s imagination starts with giant invading ants, moves to a full-on attack by ninjas, then to a massive ape that thinks the school bus is his banana. The tale is so long, one might think it’d get repetitive, but each interruption, each action-filled page holds the interest.  Each illustrated page is so hilarious, young readers have to think to fully comprehend all the humor.  It’s a book that can be read over and over to uncover new nuances.  When the teacher challenges the young boy’s tale, the illustrations show that—maybe—he really was telling the truth!

A fun read.  It’s smaller 6×8 format is perfect for young hands

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Lost. Found.

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Lost. Found.

By Marsha Diane Arnold, illustrated by Matthew Cordell
Neal Porter Books, 2015

This is a clever, interactive book that kids can tell the story with their own words.

Only two words, ‘Lost’ and ‘Found’, are used and the illustrations tell the rest of the story.  The story is about a red scarf that is lost by a bear and found by raccoons, but lost then found by a beaver, but lost then found by an otter, etc.  Lost by several more forest animals, they all circle around the lost scarf.  Each wanting it for their own, they jump at it to make it theirs.  This, of course, ruins everything and a pile of yarn lays on the snow-covered ground.  Remorsefully, they each gather a pile and sit together to knit another red scarf—which becomes long enough for everyone to enjoy!

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And What If I Won’t?

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And What If I Won’t?

By Maureen Fergus, illustrated by Qin Leng
Owlkids Books, 2015

A cleverly funny story featuring one boy’s vivid imagination.

Mom asks her son to put his plate in the sink.  He asks, What if I won’t?  She says she would tell him that’s rude.  The boy asks what if he threw it across the room.  She says he would have to clean up the mess.  What if I made the kitchen a bigger mess?  Back and forth the two go, using wilder and wilder situations to make things worse and worse.  When he ends up on a foreign planet and even the aliens send him back home, it all returns back to the mother and son together and she says she’d ask him to put his plate in the sink.

A rollicking fun read kids will love!

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There was an Old Dragon Who Swallowed a Knight

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There was an Old Dragon Who Swallowed a Knight
by Penny Parker Klostermann, illustrated by Ben Mantle
Random House, 2015

A hilarious dragon story with fun, read-aloud rhymes.

When an old, greedy dragon swallows a knight, the reader learns, “It’s not polite.”  Then the dragon swallows a steed, then swallows a squire, then swallows a cook.  Soon he has swallowed practically a whole castle of people—and the castle—and the moat!  Like in the story, The House That Jack Built, every time he swallows something, the rhyme grows longer and funnier.  Great repetition and fun.  The illustrations contain dozens of laughable subtleties that add to the humor.

Adults and children who appreciate good rhyme, will love how this story keeps the pages tuning.

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I Yam a Donkey!

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I Yam a Donkey!
By Cece Bell
Clarion Books, 2015

A hilarious book that ends up being a lesson on grammar!  It kind of sneaks up on you.  A brilliant (silly) book!

A silly (dare I say illiterate) donkey declares, “I yam a donkey!”  A yam, obviously a true grammarian, corrects the donkey’s use of words, suggesting he say, “I am a donkey.”  The donkey hears the yam declare that he is a donkey and is most confused.  Between the donkey’s bad grammar and the yam’s grammatical corrections, a hilarious dialogue pursues.  When the yam explains how to conjugate “To Be”, the donkey only gets more confused and thinks all the vegetables are the funniest-looking donkeys he has ever seen.  I won’t share the ending, as it comes as a complete surprise!

Just a plain silly story, perfect for kids learning grammar in school!

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