Laughter can brighten any day, and these humorous picture books will put a smile on the faces of the young, and those who read to them.
“The Orchestra Pit” by Johanna Wright, 2014, Roaring Book Press, ages 4-8.
A surprised snake quickly realizes that he has wandered into the orchestra pit instead of the snake pit. His friendly explorations lead him past the sights and sounds of the orchestra, including the tuba, trombone, and oboe. Beautiful oil-based paintings lead the reader through an introduction to various instruments, one of which is swallowed by the snake.
“My Pet Book” by Bob Staake, 2014, Random House, ages 4-8.
Instead of a dog or a cat, a young boy decides a book would make a great pet. It doesn’t eat, shed, or drink from toilet bowls. The boy’s book holds many tales and provides hours of entertainment, that is, until the book is missing. Where would a pet book hide? Bright, cartoon-style illustrations and the use of rhyme and humor will make this book a favorite for all ages. The author, Bob Staake, presently appears on a television commercial in which he is shown creating this book using his computer tablet. His work has also appeared in the New Yorker, Time, the Washington Post, and the New York Times.
“This Book Just Ate My Dog”, by Richard Byrne, 2014, Henry Holt, ages 3-6.
For those seeking pure silliness from a book, you will find it in this one. The dog appears to be eaten by the book, as the front half of his body disappears in the center fold. Soon the dog is joined by others who disappear, and the reader is asked to help retrieve the lost ones. Young children will especially enjoy the humor of such a silly story, and I predict, will want to hear the book again, and again.
“And Two Boys Booed” by Judith Viorst, Illustrated by Sophie Blackall, 2014, Farrar Straus Giroux, ages 4-8.
Six children are in the class talent show, and the boy who must wait until the very end to perform begins to have doubts. Ballet, poetry, juggling, artwork, all are presented. Will the class like the boy’s singing? Judith Viorst, author of “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” presents a rhyming story that will strike a chord with anyone who has been nervous when presenting to a group. Watercolor and pencil illustrations include flaps that give readers opportunities to interact with this touching story.
“X.L. Elephant (Secret Agent)” by Ken Berry, Illustrated by Andy Valdivia, 2013, Jostens Commercial Printing, ages 4-7.
Local children’s book author and illustrator team, Ken Berry and Andy Valdivia, created a collection of children’s books that use humor and animals to tell stories with a lesson. In “X.L. Elephant”, the secret agent uses his ellacar and ellaphone to track bad guys and bring them to justice. Being a secret agent is exciting and dangerous work, but X.L. is proud and has plans for his future as an agent, which includes spending his cash bonus and a vacation at a Congo-minimum near the ocean.
Reviewed by Elizabeth Dobler