humorous new picture books

One of the thing I’m loving most about my internship is the new books! New books are held at the reference desk for a few days so the librarians have a chance to see what is coming into the collection and become familiar with all the new books. They also have a chance to make sure they are cataloged the way that best meets patron’s needs as well as discover any new titles they want to start recommending to patrons or maybe use in a story time.

And it always feels like Christmas when a new truck is brought down, full of brand new books for us to look over. Sometimes I can even fit in a quick read of a short picture book or two. Today I thought I’d highlight a few I read recently that I thought were a lot of fun.

I Want My Hat BackI Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen. Ages 4-8. Candlewick Press, September 2011. Copy from my public library.

This book is a rare find among picture books. It has a broad appeal to almost any age group. I think most adults would find it quite funny, and children as young as 3 or 4, while they might understand it on a different level, will enjoy it just as much.

The story features a large, expressionless bear and other forest creatures. This bear has a bright red hat that he loves very much. But one day it goes missing and so he asks the other animals in the forest if they know where his hat is. The story is told completely in dialogue and much of it happens in the pictures and between the lines of the text. Most of the humor lies in the bear’s deadpan expressions and the subtleties of knowing when someone is lying.

The book ends with a surprising but hilarious twist. This is where I must place some caution, however, because the ending is not for every parent or every child. Someone might get eaten at the end of this book, and I know that isn’t for everyone. But it is also laugh-out-loud funny and is a rare bit of humor that is equally funny to both children and adults.

Is Everyone Ready For Fun?Is Everyone Ready for Fun? by Jan Thomas. Ages 3-6. Beach Lane Books, September 2011. Copy from my public library.

Three cows come to visit Chicken, ready for lots of fun. Unfortunately for Chicken, this fun involves jumping on her couch. And then dancing and wiggling and it just won’t stop!

This is another book told purely through dialogue. The illustrations are silly and lively and full of action and expression. Young children will certainly relate to the three cows, who continue to find clever ways to use the couch when they are told, “No jumping on the couch!”

This book is perfect for 3 and 4 year olds, who will surely find it very funny. It would also make a fun, humorous read for a preschool or toddler story time.

You Will Be My Friend!You Will Be My Friend! by Peter Brown. Ages 3-6. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, September 2011. Copy from my public library.

Lucy the bear wakes up and announces today she will make a new friend. And then she persistently struggles to achieve that goal, with slightly disastrous results. She is loud, exuberant, and big. She is so heartwarming and enthusiastic, readers will feel for her and her troubles.

The illustrations are cartoonish and give the book a very fun feel. The bright colors and rounded shapes match Lucy’s attitude perfectly. The theme of friendship is one children will relate to and the predicaments she finds herself in are sure to bring laughs. The book ends happily and readers will be eager for more books staring Lucy the bear.