Sunday, June 26, 2016

10 Picture Books That Will Make You Smile (and Laugh)

This list is for everyone who loves an twisty, turny, funny, ironic, laugh out loud picture book. Each one is sure to warm your heart as you snuggle with your little ones during story time, share in your classroom, or read independently because you are a picture book junkie like me. Be sure to check out these 10 picture books on your next trip to the library or bookstore. They will make your day a whole lot brighter as well as elicit smiles and giggles from the kids in your life.  


I Am Bear by Ben Bailey Smith and Sav Akyuz
Publisher Summary:
“This is Bear.  He was bare.  Now he’s wearing…purple hair.  His favorite thing is playing tricks. He makes trouble just for kicks. “

What’s to Love: 
This book had me laughing out loud.  The rhyming text is quick and snappy. The humor is primarily in the discrepancy between the words and the pictures (situational irony).  For instance, Bear says he does magic which prompts a pile of fish to appear.  However, it is clear that the wand has a fishing line on it.  He reveals his favorite game is cops and robbers, but it is quite different than what the reader expects. Kids may not fully understand irony, but they will recognize the humor.  (Do not hesitate to identify the ironies to young listeners.  They will likely catch on to this concept quicker than you think.)


Publisher Summary: 
“Everyone likes hugs, especially when Bear gives them!  Everyone, that is, except for Skunk.  Bear really gets on Skunk’s nerves.  He’s too happy…and he’s always giving way too many hugs!  Skunk has the perfect plan to keep Bear from giving any more hugs.  Will it work?”

What’s to Love: 
Skunk tries three different tricks on Bear, each with a hilarious and unfortunate end—for Skunk.  Kids are sure to giggle as Skunk gets skunked. Bear continuously offers Skunk a hug, but he adamantly declines it.  Bear always replies, “It’s okay.  I’ll save you one for later.”  When Skunk finally changes his mind, Bear really wants to save it for later—and for good reason. 


Publisher Summary: 
“Clemmie the Cat knows everything about how to catch a mouse—and she would prove it, too, except that she’s never actually seen a mouse! Perhaps, she thinks, they’re all afraid of her.  But wait…is that a pink tail? And a whiskery nose?” 

What’s to Love: 
Clemmie sees a long pink tail.  She creeps up, thinking it is a mouse.  Instead, it is a ribbon on a hat.  The same sequence happens with two round ears (a stuffed bear) and whiskery, pointy nose (a spider).  She is convinced she has scared away all mice.  However, there is a mouse lurking around craftily.  This story has potential for interaction as children look for and guess along with Clemmie as well as point out the sneaky mouse.  The ending is a fun surprise. 


Publisher Summary: 
“Sandwich?  What sandwich? Oh, that sandwich. Right. Um. Well. It all stated with the bear…”

What’s to Love: 
The bear’s journey from the forest into the “jungle” of a city is worth the read.  The illustrations add so much energy and humor as the bear scratches his back on a tree (light post), squishes in the mud (wet cement), and finds interesting smells (trash cans).  His experience finding, eating, and retreating is a rollicking fun time.  What got me, though, was the end.  I laughed out loud (but I won’t ruin the surprise).


How to Share with a Bear by Eric Pinder and Stephanie Graegin
Publisher Summary: 
“The perfect thing to do on a chilly day is to make a cave.  But, of course, a comfy cave never stays empty for long.  What’s a boy to do when a bear takes over his cave?  Try to distract him with a trail of blueberries?  Some honey? A nice long back scratch?”

What’s to Love: 
The protagonist comes up with several solutions to his “bear” problem, showing resourcefulness and creativity.  The illustrator does an excellent job with blocking, so the reader does not see what is really going on until the end.  This imaginative text is so sweet you will not be able to help but smile real big. 


Publisher Summary:
“Meet Max.  Max the Brave, Max the fearless,  Max the Mouse-catcher.  But, in order to be a Mouse-catcher, Max needs to know what a mouse is.”

What’s to Love:
Following a similar format as “Are You My Mother?” Max asks each animal if he is a mouse.  The hilarity begins when he actually meets Mouse.  After a couple quick twists and turns, there is a satisfying and clever ending. 


Publisher Summary: 
“Two bears. Three yaks. Four seals. Six cats. All of them have one thing in common: They hate to share. But here comes a pack of twenty pigs—count on them to prove that sharing makes everything twice as fun.”

What’s to Love: 
This concept book teaches counting and number words while illustrating the importance of sharing in a comical way.  It is the most energetic concept book I have seen.  Word play includes onomatopoeia, alliteration, and rhyme.  The illustrations are fantastic.  Sharing and underwear are taken to a whole new level. 


Publisher Summary:  
“I am my own dog.  I fetch my own slippers, curl up at my own feet, and give myself a good scratch.  But there’s one spot in the middle of my back, that I just can’t reach.” 

What’s to Love:  
This story is told through the dog’s perspective, mimicking many of the phrases associated with them, but in unexpected ways.  The “little guy” who follows him home is the man pursuing the dog.  The ones “yapping” are the people as the dogs looked annoyed.  Of course, he has to clean up all the man’s messes.  Dog lovers will smile and chuckle at this inversed story full of irony and humor. 


Publisher Summary
"It's race day, and once and for all, it's time to determine the better feline:  little cats or big cheetah.  Cheetah might be bigger, taller, stronger, faster...but the little cats have some tricks up their sleeves, so don't count them out." 

What’s to Love: 
Cheetah is, let's say, an over-achiever.  He has to win and to be the best at everything!  The sly little cats let him win several challenges but have an ulterior motive.  While Cheetah has no clue, the reader can infer what is really going on.  Full of humor and action, this story will be a winner with readers or all ages.   


How to Cheer up Dad by Fred Koehler
Publisher Summary
"Little Jumbo's dad is having a bad day. Little Jumbo has no idea why.  Luckily, he does know just how to cheer up Dad with some of his--ahem, his dad's--favorite things!"

What’s to Love: 
This endearing story about a boy and his loving dad is sweet.  The adorable pictures capture the mischief and energy typical in preschool-aged children.  I laughed in a couple places and smiled all the way through. The pictures and the words convey different ideas, making this one ideal for teaching inference and irony.  

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