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Archive for the ‘Humor’ Category

bathChildren never seem to tire of Mo Willems’ Pigeon books and neither do their parents. In The Pigeon Need a Bath! readers can expect the same humorous antics for which the Pigeon stories are so beloved.

The story begins with the reader being introduced to the Bus Driver character from Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus. He informs the reader that the Pigeon needs a bath and he could use some help. As usual, the Pigeon has his own strong opinions and he announces that he doesn’t really need a bath. The Pigeon gives various arguments as to why he doesn’t need a bath. His points start out calm and rational, but he is, after all, the Pigeon. He eventually loses it as his strong convictions rapidly deteriorate. One comical point in particular is when the Pigeon questions the readers own cleanliness and their right to judge him.

Mo Willems’ illustrations are fun and are always successful in depicting the range of emotions that make the Pigeon so comical in his zeal to prove a point. It’s hard not to laugh as he whips himself into frenzy.
Readers are certain to enjoy the conclusion and the Pigeon’s comedy of errors when he discovers the truth about bathing.

Check the WRL catalog for The Pigeon Needs a Bath!

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not normanNot Norman: a goldfish story is about a boy who wants a different kind of pet. He wants a pet that he can run and jump with…a furry pet. But not Norman!

But when he decides to trade Norman for a “good pet” he discovers that Norman is actually exactly what he’s looking for.

Author, Kelly Bennett, creates a straightforward story with simple language that begs this book to be read aloud. She brings Norman to life with language that shows the personality of this silly little goldfish and the relationship that forms between him and his owner. “Not Norman” is repeated over and over and gives young audiences a chance to “read along”. Noah K. Jones gives us lively artwork that enhances the story with his eye catching illustrations. This author/illustrator duo have given us a tale that is o-“fish”-ally one of my favorite story time gems for the summer.

Check the WRL catalog for Not Norman: a goldfish story.

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FlightSchoolEvery child should be encouraged to have dreams and be given the opportunity to achieve them. In this newest book by Lita Judge, Penguin declares that he has the “soul of an eagle” and is determined to learn how to fly. Although the instructors at the flight school are skeptical, they decide to give Penguin a chance. For weeks, Penguin practices with the other students. Finally, it is time for all the birdies to attempt their first flight. Penguin shouts “Geronimo” and leaps into the air. Unfortunately, Penguin sinks into the ocean. Penguin is disappointed, especially after the Teacher says, “Penguins just aren’t built to fly.” Dejected, Penguin starts to leave until one of the instructors has an idea. Will Penguin achieve his dreams and finally fly?
Lita Judge is one of my favorite children’s illustrators. Earlier books include red sled and red hat. Using watercolor and pencil, her illustrations are perfect for this amusing story and eloquently convey the enthusiasm and determination of Penguin. This is a great choice for anyone with a dream.

Check the WRL catalog for Flight School.

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auftOur final conflict for the week is between the illustrator and the reader. In An Undone Fairy Tale the illustrator is a character named Ned. He’s really more of a set painter, costumer, hair and makeup artist, and prop man who is creating the illustrations for a typical fairy tale out of “real” objects. His troubles arise because we are reading the book entirely too fast. Ned never has time to prepare the illustrations for the next page before we turn to it. The narrator repeatedly tries to convince us to slow down and not turn the page yet. We, of course, do anyway.

The typical fairy tale we were expecting becomes decidedly atypical as Ned attempts to cobble together characters and scenes quickly enough to match the reader’s speed. This results in some quirky substitutions. For example, the king’s crown ends up being a donut. The knight’s horses aren’t ready in time, so Ned must replace them with fish. The only costumes ready for the knights are tutus.

The fairy tale becomes stranger and stranger until, finally, the narrator offers up a plea. “This is your final warning. The next page won’t be ready for four or five weeks. So put the book down and come back then. Okay? Pretty please?” Somehow I get the feeling that even if we did as he asked, the book still wouldn’t be ready.

Check the WRL catalog for An Undone Fairy Tale.

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wnpIn the book Wait! No Paint! author/illustrator Bruce Whatley takes the familiar story of The Three Little Pigs and throws a wrench in the works. Everything is chugging along as usual (the pigs move out, build their own homes, the wolf comes to visit) until the illustrator, referred to initially as “a Voice from nowhere in particular”, interrupts the action. While illustrating the book, he spills his orange juice on the page. His actions affect the course of the story, as the first little pig’s house is now “soggy and sticky”. Then the illustrator pops in to announce that he must redo the wolf’s nose and suddenly we see a paintbrush, pencil, and eraser enter the scene. These interruptions culminate with the announcement that he has run out of red paint. As we all know, red paint is used to make pink paint, and pigs are pink.

Whatley tries making the pigs green, but that makes them queasy, he makes them flower-patterned, but they blend into the chair cushions. All the while, the wolf is advancing on the third pig’s chimney. Children familiar with the original version of The Three Little Pigs will know that it is the fire in the fireplace that ultimately does the wolf in. Without red, the illustrator can’t make the fire. What can be done to save the pigs?! You’ll never guess what solution Whatley thinks up.

Children love to hear twists on familiar stories, and this one is fun and humorous with a great ending. Readers will enjoy the blurring of the wall between the pig’s story and the illustrator’s world.

Check the WRL catalog for Wait! No Paint!

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catlThis week’s theme is “illustrator conflicts”. In today’s title, we have a fictional conflict between the author and illustrator. In Chloe and the Lion author Mac Barnett is dissatisfied with the artistic license illustrator Adam Rex’s has taken with the titular lion’s depiction. Specifically, Rex thinks “a dragon would be cooler”. Their argument leads to some artistic shenanigans until Barnett finally fires Rex and replaces him with another illustrator. This illustrator is willing to draw a lion, only it still doesn’t look quite right. Barnett then attempts to draw his own illustrations for his story, with less than stellar results. On the verge of giving up, it is the book’s heroine, Chloe, who convinces Barnett to keep at it. But the problem still remains, who will be the illustrator?

Mac Barnett’s books are typically filled with humor, and Chloe and the Lion is no exception. This book takes a humorous look at the various ways different illustrators interpret the same text. It includes the simultaneous use of several illustrative techniques including clay sculpting, painting, model making, and photography.

Check the WRL catalog for Chloe and the Lion.

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In Seen Art? a young boy’s quest to find his friend takes an unexpected turn. Standing on the corner of Fifth and Fifty-third in New York City, a boy waits for his friend, Art. When Art doesn’t arrive the boy begins asking people who pass by if they have “seen Art”. Everyone’s reply is the same: “MoMA?” Deciding this must be some kind of code word, the boy plays along and is directed to a building just down the street. Inside, people show him many works of art including van Gogh’s Starry Night, Dalí’s The Persistence of Memory, Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Cans, and sculptures by Calder. While the boy finds all this very interesting, he isn’t any closer to finding his friend. His insistence that he must “find Art” is misinterpreted by the helpful museum-goers, as each tries to show him what art truly is. But none of their art is the Art he is looking for.

This is not your average picture book, and it is not one I would recommend for storytime. This is a great one-on-one book for older children with an interest in art. Scieszka’s story draws you in and showcases the works of art in a funny and whimsical fashion. Smith’s illustrations are built around images of the works I mentioned above as well as numerous others. Seen Art? would be especially enjoyable for a family preparing to visit an art museum like MoMA (aka the Museum of Modern Art).

Check the WRL catalog for Seen Art?

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