Archive for the ‘Humor’ Category

the snatchabookA beautifully, richly illustrated story with rhyming text. This book makes a great read aloud – ideal for older pre-schoolers, K, and first grade. It contains a positive message about the love of books. It begins in the woods of Burrow Down where every creature is wondering about the mystery of the disappearing bedtime stories. The storybooks just disappear – even the smallest squirrel has a book taken! Is there a bedtime story thief? Eliza Brown, a brave little rabbit, is determined to catch this pest.

“She planned one night to lie in wait and use a pile of books as bait”

She is successful and the small flying creature she captures red handed is a snatchabook – he admits to being wrong too.

“Can’t you see I’ve got no-one to read to me!

Eliza realizes that the snatchabook just needs someone to read to him – “then he might behave alright!”
He agrees to make amends and return all the stolen bedtime stories. He can now join in happily, listening on someone’s bed to bedtime stories every night like the rest of the residents of Burrow Down.

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A Dog's LifeThis is a funny, simple story about a dog’s life from the dog’s perspective. Large format digital illustrations make this suitable for group readings for pre-schoolers, a quick, funny reading to older kids, or inclusion in a dog-themed story time. The text is basic, short, and could be used for children learning to read. The story is about a loveable family dog – (mongrel, of course) and how busy his doggy life is!

“I wash dishes. Slurp! Slurp!”
“I inspect the trash for anything I can recycle. Munch! Munch!”
“I keep the humans warm since they don’t have any fur”

He doesn’t know how his family would manage without him! He epitomizes the dog that thinks he is, well, human!

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Drat that CatTony Ross has created more than one hundred books for children. Drat that Cat! is a humorous story illustrated with comic pen and ink watercolors. The book is about a beautiful white, furry cat with big blue eyes called Suzy. Suzy is always getting into trouble. She piddled on Dad’s golf bag and the smell would not go away. When Mom bought a bright new yellow sofa, Suzy loved to sharpen her claws on it. Everyone complained, “Drat that Cat!” But that was until Suzy refused to eat or drink! “She just lay on the bed.”

Check out this book to see how her owners bent over backwards to help her get better. And what did Suzy confide to Charlie Dog next door after she spent two days at the vet’s?

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nighttime ninjaA child’s search for a bedtime snack turns into a nocturnal adventure in Barbara DaCosta’s playful Nighttime Ninja.
A ninja is on a mission. Armed with a rope and anchor, he swings through the night sky until he reaches an open window. Carefully, with grace and precision, he enters through an open window and makes his way through the quiet house. He reaches his goal and prepares his tools when all of a sudden the lights turn on and the ninja (and reader) is greeted with a humorous surprise.
Nighttime Ninja is a simple and straightforward story highlighted by DaCosta’s confident, austere prose and Ed Young’s wonderful mixed-media collage illustrations. The text and illustrations truly complement each other. The collages are so large and expressive that too much text might overwhelm their effect. The scenes where the ninja is moving through the house are especially inventive.
Parents looking for a fun bedtime story should consider Nighttime Ninja.

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duckling cookieThe pigeon receives an unforgettable lesson in politeness in Mo Willems’ hilarious The Duckling Gets a Cookie!?
All the duckling wants is a cookie, and just by asking politely he is rewarded with a large cookie full of nuts. The duckling’s happiness comes to a sudden end, however, when the pigeon spots the cookie. The pigeon asks the duckling how he got the cookie, and is flabbergasted to learn the duckling got the cookie just by asking. An indignant pigeon then tells the duckling all the things he asks for – from driving the bus to his own personal iceberg – but never seems to get. The pigeon’s lamentations finally come to an end when the ducking surprises him with an unexpected act of kindness.
Warm and humorous, The Duckling Gets a Cookie!? is a fun book that gently reinforces the importance of being polite. Willems’ illustrations are simple but effective, consisting of little more than the pigeon, duckling, and cookie set against a plain and uncluttered background. Willems’ dry humor will also appeal to older readers who will sympathize with the duckling’s request at the end of the story.

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Hi, Pizza Man! Cover“Hi, Pizza Man!” by Virginia Walter, with illustrations by Ponder Goembel, was inarguably the biggest hit of the pizza-themed toddler storytime I led last spring.  My listeners loved the story’s humor and frequent opportunities for audience participation.  Since then, I have read this book to a variety of groups, and it has never let me down.  At the beginning of the story, young Vivian and her mother are waiting for a pizza to be delivered to their house.  Every page spread in the book features a view of the same room in Vivian’s house, with her front door (sometimes closed, sometimes open) always appearing on the right-hand page.  To pass the time while they wait, Vivian’s mother asks her what she’ll say when the doorbell rings and she opens the door.  The girl’s answer is, “Hi, Pizza Man!”  These words are accompanied by a picture of a man standing in the open doorway, holding a pizza box.  On the next page, the door is closed again, and Vivian’s mother asks, “What if it’s not a pizza man?  What if it’s a pizza woman?  Then what will you say?”  The answer, of course, is “Hi, Pizza Woman!” and is accompanied by an illustration of an elegant woman delivering a pizza.  Vivian’s mother then invites her to imagine a variety of comically-dressed animals delivering the pizza.  Vivian plans to greet each animal by making its sound.  For example, to the cat wearing a top hat and cape, she’ll say, “Meow meow, Pizza Kitty!”  This book offers listeners lots of opportunities to practice waving and making animal sounds to greet each imaginary pizza deliverer.  At the end of the story, the doorbell rings.  The pizza has arrived, and the reader finally gets to find out which person or animal is delivering Vivian’s dinner.  This book’s silly humor appeals to young children.  Animals don’t deliver pizza or wear fancy clothing, so it’s funny to see them doing these things in the story.  “Hi, Pizza Man!” is a great read-aloud for toddlers and preschoolers, either in a group or one-on-one.  I plan to read this sure-fire winner to many young listeners in 2014.

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Boo and Baa CoverBoo and Baa Have Company by Lena and Olof Landström is charming picture book filled with droll humor.  The story is translated from Swedish, and stars Boo and Baa, a male and female sheep whose good intentions get them into sticky situations.  Other books featuring these characters include Boo and Baa in Windy Weather, Boo and Baa at Sea, and Boo and Baa on a Cleaning Spree.  In Boo and Baa Have Company, the two sheep are raking leaves when they notice a cat sitting on a high tree branch.  Believing that the cat is afraid to climb down, Boo and Baa try various methods to tempt it from the tree.  Their attempts to help go awry, leading to slapstick humor in the illustrations paired with deadpan humor in the text.  Boo and Baa eventually decide that maybe the cat prefers to be in the tree, and they go inside and go to sleep.  At the end of the story, only the reader sees that the cat has climbed in through the window and fallen asleep on the rug in the sheep’s bedroom.

Boo and Baa Have Company features colorful line drawings.  Boo, Baa, and the cat are the only characters, and they all have very expressive faces and bodies.  On some pages, the text describes exactly what is happening in the illustrations.  For example, when Baa is greasing the axle of the wheelbarrow, the text reads, “She greases the axle.”  This supportive relationship between image and text could be helpful for young readers who are unfamiliar with the concept of greasing an axle.  On other pages, however, the spare text provides droll commentary on the action taking place.  For example, one attempt to rescue the cat leaves Boo stranded in the tree.  When Baa tries to use a rope to lower Boo to the ground, both sheep fly into the air and fall into a leaf pile.  Instead of describing the action on these pages, the text simply reads, “Baa is lighter than Boo.  She hasn’t eaten any sandwiches.  It’s lucky there is a pile of leaves.”  Text like this requires the reader to pay attention to the illustrations.  When I read this book aloud to kindergarteners, I had several opportunities to invite the kids to describe what was happening in the story.  These listeners especially enjoyed the spread where Baa is making a variety of “disgusting” sandwiches, including a cucumber sandwich and a sardine sandwich.  I shared Boo and Baa Have Company at a fall-themed storytime.  It was nice to have a book in which autumn is the setting but not the focus of the story.  This funny book would work well year-round as a read-aloud for preschool and up.

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Rrralph CoverThe best picture books for little ones are simple enough to delight the toddlers, and clever enough to make the grownups smile. Rrralph is one of those.

For starters, it is simple enough that even your dog could read it. That’s because Rrralph is the story of a dog that can talk. The narrator asks Ralph his name, and he replies, “Ralph! Ralph!” He goes for a walk past a tree covered in, “Bark! Bark! Bark!” And later he encounters a scary, “Wolf! Wolf!”

You get the idea. Children love joining along with Ralph. And Ehlert’s dog, with button eyes, an aluminum pop-top nose and mouth made out of a zipper, is wonderful to watch romp across the page.

This story is perfect with a group or one-on-one. I’ve shared it many times with babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers, and I wouldn’t hesitate to use it with kindergarteners or first-graders.

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Rattletrap Car Cover‘Tis the season for family car trips. If you’re looking for a story to get everybody in the mood, Rattletrap Car is full of rhyme, silliness and wonderful sounds.

Junie, Jakie and the baby beg Papa to take them to the lake, but he’s worried about their rattletrap car, because “it doesn’t go fast and it doesn’t go far.” But they load it up anyway with a surfboard, toy boat, a beach ball and a giant tub of chocolate marshmallow fudge delight and off they go. But they don’t get far when, Boom—ssssss! A tire goes flat.

But remember that beach ball? It’s the perfect spare, and they glue it on with handfuls of chocolate marshmallow fudge delight. And off they go again, until . . . another part of the car dies or falls off. Along the way the car gets noisier and noisier, with sounds like wappity bappity, lumpety bumpety, clinkety clankety, bing bang pop!
And all those toys and the chocolate marshmallow fudge delight come in very handy!

This is a great read for preschoolers through kindergarten. The large illustrations are wonderful to use with a class.

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Napping House Cover I don’t generally use cumulative tales in story time, because they bore me. But The Napping House is one, glorious exception.
This is the story of how a wakeful flea disrupts the slumbering mouse, on the snoozing cat, on the dozing dog, on the dreaming child, on the snoring granny, on a cozy bed in a napping house where everyone is sleeping. It works so well because Audrey Wood’s text sounds so good, and her husband’s pictures are so big and funny.
Like all good illustrations, Wood’s images give observant children the chance to find more in the story. The next animal to climb on top of the bed is always waking up on the page before. And if you’re sharing the book one-on-one, you can even see the flea hopping closer to the bed page by page.

This is the perfect story to read and then share again as a flannel board. And if you go to the Woods’ web page, you’ll find printable coloring pages for the story. You’ll find that page here:


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