Tag Archives: funny

The only thing I’ve ever wanted since right now

i-have-a-balloon-9781481472500_lgOwl and Monkey.  Balloon and Bear.  Can we trade?  Can we share?  Perhaps.  Perhaps not.  The world is full of changing needs and wants.  But be careful what you choose, because all your plans might come to nothing when the ring-tailed lemur shows up with an ice cream cone.

Snarky.  Fun to read.  Not a sharing book.

I Have a Balloon by Ariel Bernstein and Scott Magoon

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Bad seed? Baaaaaaaad seed.

bad seedNice play on words, Jory John.  This bad seed is a happy sunflower seed gone gloriously wrong.  He plays the drums in the library, lies about pointless stuff, tells long jokes with no punch lines, and has some super-duper big eyebrows for a seed.  Deep inside, though, is a good seed trying to get out.  We’re not our reputations, people.  We can be seeds of change if we like.

The Bad Seed by Jory John and Pete Oswald

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Look out, Little Red! You’ve got competition.

rapunzel woolvanWill there ever be enough adaptations of fairy tales?

Not until Bethan Woollvin has illustrated every single one of them.

Following up one of my favorites from last year –Little Red­­—is no easy thing, but Bethan Woollvin has done it well, creating a Rapunzel who may be stuck in a tower for a while, but even without knowing the end, you know she’s not there for goodThis Rapunzel will outsmart the witch and ride off into the sunset, heading off into adventures we can’t even imagine.  Wonderful.

Rapunzel by Bethan Woollvin

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Libraries know everything

max and birdIf you work in a library (check) and read books to kids (check), this book will positively sing to you.

“Follow me,” said Bird.  “We’ll go to the library.  Libraries know everything.” (from the book)

And then they DO go to the library.  And they find materials to do their research, which might take them weeks, because they are just that serious about their research.  And then they experiment and make mistakes.  (Also, they meet a pigeon who looks a bit like our friend Pigeon from Mo Willems’ books.)  Will they succeed in solving their problem?  Will Max’s list of pros and cons sway him to eat a friend or be a friend?

It’s a happy ending.  I’ll be reading this one to kindergarten this year, I think.  It’s a bit wordy for really young kids, but oh so fun.  If you haven’t read Vere’s Max the Brave, check that one out, too.

Max and Bird by Ed Vere

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A bad guy meets his match

bad-guy-9781481460101_lgAh…siblings.  The power struggles, the down and dirty tricks, the trips to the library.  All part of that constant struggle to stay on top, right?

There’s a nice twist here.  The bad guy whose mom calls him “sweetie” turns out to have an equally evil sister, the kind who will eat the last popsicle in front of you and probably laugh her evil laugh.  And Mom?  Maybe she’s not so nice, either….

Bad Guy by Hannah Barnaby and Mike Yamada

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Two balls of clay

claymatesTake a deep breath and imagine what you’d do if you had two balls of clay.

This book would be my dream scenario, since honestly, no animals I’ve ever made from clay look remotely like this.  You could probably figure out my elephant from the anatomically incorrect long trunk, but otherwise, good luck.

And that’s why I love this book so much. It’s beautiful, packed with creative and easy-to-pick-out animals and shapes and things.  Kids will love it, too, because it’s kind of sassy and funny, and the unseen artist’s attempts to create one thing might turn into something else.  Definitely worth a look and possibly a great one for a kindergarten book lady day next year.

Claymates by Dev Petty and Lauren Eldridge

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3 sweet and funny picture books to lighten up your fall

When the political ads and life’s dramas make you feel a little cranky and down, take a minute and check out these silly reads:

The Very Fluffy Kitty, Papillon by A.N. Kang – Papillon is so darn fluffy, he floats!  Not even the most ridiculous costume can anchor him, and one day, he follows his heart and drifts away, following a new friend on an adventure.  A delightfully sweet ending ensues.

King Baby by Kate Beaton – King Baby is a bit of a tyrant, at times benevolent and loving, but extremely demanding on occasion, too.  Anyone who’s spent time around an infant lately will laugh a little to see the exhausted parents and King Baby, who wants “not this thing! The other thing!”  Does he look just the slightest bit maniacal at times?  Perhaps, but he is on his way to greater things.

I Will Not Eat You by Adam Lehrhaupt and Scott Magoon – Theodore is a bit of a mystery, hiding out in a cave, not particularly interested in any of the many potential dinners that walk by.  Then a pesky boy arrives.  A nice snack or a new friend?  “I can always eat him later, thought Theodore.” Perfect.




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Dark humor for the young ones…picture books with a kick

It’s probably a good thing they don’t let me do storytimes all the time.  When I come across books like Barnacle is Bored and Little Red, I really can’t wait to see how the younger crowd will react.  Many of them, I know, will laugh uproariously when the final joke is revealed, even though it’s a little dark.  Some parents are right there with you on it, but others, (sadly, think) believe books for young children should not be dark or even a little snarky.  They are looking for more gentle and warm/fuzzy books.   They somehow think that kids should be protected from everything outside their cozy little boxes.  I, on the other hand, am that person who gives I Want My Hat Back for a baby gift.

Anyway, Barnacle is Bored and Little Red popped up on my holds list this weekBarnacle really is bored.  His whole life is predictable.  He wonders how much more fun it would be if he were that polka-dotted fish.  It would be really fun, he thinks, except for that bigger fish with the big teeth and all. Ha!  The way the illustrations play with the text (in a boring font)  is delightful.  Barnacle’s expressions are sooo bored and then later so surprised.  Perfect!

The illustrations also make Little Red.  I started laughing when Wolf imagines Little Red and Grandma on a dinner plate, and didn’t really stop until the end.  Although it’s mostly gray, black and white, the splashes of red and bold, wacky drawings add to the humor of the text, which is just a little unpredictable even with such a predictable story.

If your dark, bitter, snarky side needs a few more laughs after you’ve read Barnacle is Bored and Little Red, take a look at these earlier posts.

Need a good laugh?

Storytime for the seriously snarky?

Perhaps a little alligator fun?

And a Pinterest page which has a few more favorites…

Barnacle is Bored by Jonathan Fenske, Little Red by Bethan Woolvin

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Story time for the seriously snarky – Rude Cakes, Wolves, and I Don’t Want to Be a Frog

rude cakesAt some point this spring, I filled in for our children’s librarian by reading books I think are funny. (No stories about ducks, no paired crafts related to growing milkweed for butterflies, just some funny books and some rockin’ tunes. Awesome, dude.) That could have been a dangerous move. Not everything that’s funny to an adult will work for kids, and some parents really, truly believe their children need happy stories with appropriate characters that don’t do things like burp, fart or wear underwear. That’s the beauty of being the substitute for the “real” librarian, though. I could read books about all three, and the worst thing that would happen is that the kids would laugh a lot and maybe somebody would walk off in a huff or complain about me. I can’t lose that job, since it’s not my job. Really, it’s ideal for subversive behavior of a certain kind.

So now I’ve got another family story time coming up, and I’ve just come across a few new slightly dark and seriously funny picture books. I might not use them all, but it’s nice to know they’re there, waiting for the perfect moment.

My favorite? Rude Cakes by Rowboat Watkins. His name is Rowboat? Ok, I’m there. There’s also a pink little cake that’s obnoxious and does not play well with others. And cyclopses. Yes, really. Cyclopses who are polite and share. Wow. Just wow.

Wolves by Emily Gravett and I Don’t Want to Be a Frog by Dev Petty are kind of like Jon Klassen’s I Want My Hat Back or This is Not My Hat, but it doesn’t make them any less funny or wonderful. They approach the material in different ways – one from a research-based storyline about wolves, and the other as a parent-child discussion about who you are – and both do end happily, although kids will see the darker possibilities, too.

Kids actually understand and appreciate dark humor much more than some adults realize. We can protect them from that, or celebrate it as a great coping skill for living in a troubled world. I choose to laugh.


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Something to laugh about


I’m a sucker for funny picture books. There’s nothing quite like the moment when a little one figures out the joke and shakes with laughter, and really, you don’t even have to be that little to appreciate the humor. A few of my favorites:

 Wolfie the Bunny, Ame Dyckman. Bunny parents adopt a wolf, much to the dismay of their bunny daughter.

Shh! We Have a Plan, Chris Haughton. Four friends try to capture a bird.

That is NOT a Good Idea, Mo Willems. A nice twist on a silent movie villain saga.

I Want My Hat Back, Jon Klassen. A bear loses his hat, but wait a minute…

Children Make Terrible Pets, Peter Brown. A bear adopts a squeaky boy. Is this a good idea?

Cat Secrets, Jef Czekaj. You can only read this one if you are a cat.

This Book Just Ate My Dog!, Richard Byrne. This book has a healthy appetite.

Pardon Me!, Daniel Myares. A little bird tries to relax. The rest of the swamp has other plans.

These also work well with much older kids if you’re looking for ways to jump start discussions on creativity or storytelling.  Or maybe you all just need a good laugh…

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