It’s been a blast putting this book list together, and we’ve needed a good laugh lately. This year has been one of sneezes and sniffles, three hospital visits, and a holiday to the snow, during which we spent most of the time sick in bed. Thankfully our favourite Silly Books were at arm’s length. Along with sneezes and sniffles, there’s been plenty of giggles and chuckles during story time. Here are 5 Silly Books that will make you laugh out loud and smile from ear to ear.
Penguin Problems by Jory John was one of our Top Ten Books of 2016. Again with The Bad Seed, wit is used as a tool to impart an important message, one of understanding, compassion, and not being too hard on yourself. It’s cleverly and clearly told. A delight to read. Kids enjoyed the repetition of “A bad seed — A baaaaaaaaaaad seed” and Pete Oswald’s animated illustrations.
Our protagonist, a very despicable sunflower seed, seems to take great pleasure in being mischievous, devious and rude.
How bad am I? You really want to know?
He continues to list the many irreverent acts he’s known for, such as never putting things back where they belong, lying about pointless stuff, cutting in line, staring and glaring at everyone, and being noisy in the library. Because of these actions, he’s met with disdain, gasps and uneasy looks. Many people stay away because he’s such a baaaaaaaaaaad seed.
We learn that our sunflower seed used to have a big family and a happy home in the middle of a grand sunflower until the petals dropped. A sequence of terrible events followed, causing hiss cheerful and positive demeanour to completely flip. The dismal, lonely life suited him — for a time — until a big decision is made.
I don’t want to be a bad seed anymore.
Although every now and then he slips back into his baaaaaaaaaaad ways, what’s important is that he’s trying, always trying, and believing in himself.
The Bad Seed and The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors.
There were moments while reading The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors, by Drew Daywalt and Adam Rex, when I had to pause and take a breath because I was laughing so much. The giggles began with the line, “You, sir, look like a fuzzy little bum.” I’m not one for books that focus on referencing such things to get a laugh, but I couldn’t contain myself. Let me give you a little background—Rock is the strongest warrior in the Kingdom of Backgarden. He sets off in search of a worthy adversary. Clothespeg was destroyed in one hit, and so Rock journeys to the mystical Tower of Grandma’s Favourite Apricot Tree, where Rock leads with that line. Unrestrained laughter. Daywalt’s dialogue is hysterically funny. He has an exceptional talent for delighting children AND the adults who are reading his books with them. “Are you not entertained?!” We sure are.
Back stories for Paper and Scissors follow. Anticipation builds as we wait for the battle between the three undefeated warriors. All three have been searching for someone to challenge them, they’re desperate to meet their match—and they do. The three foes become friends.
Round and round they went, in the most massive and epic three-way battle of all time! And it is said that this joyous struggle still rages on to this very day.
Rex’s illustrations are as daring and fearless as the characters portrayed. Bold text makes for easy reading, especially helpful when your eyes water from laughing so much. The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors is indeed legendary, just as side-splitting spectacular as Daywalt’s Crayons series.
In the endpapers of Be Quiet, by Ryan T. Higgins, Rupert the mouse is planning his own wonderful wordless book in which he will be the star. But—oh dear—there’s a snag in his perfect plan. First page, enter Thistle, Rupert’s talkative friend. Page four introduces Nibbs, another very talkative mouse. Both share their ideas on how to make this wordless book something special, but Rupert is not impressed, especially considering that his friends won’t stop talking!
I told you to be quiet! You’re putting too many words in the book!
With each turn of the page, Rupert’s anger and frustration escalate. His own words end up being infuriated black scribbles, until one unchecked rant, which goes on and on and on and on. Nibbs quietly reminds him that his book is supposed to be wordless. The end. Yes, it ends here, with a perfect level of amusing irritation.
As readers, we’re involved in the creation process of this lively story, full of nonsense, absurdity, and hilarity. Bruce the bear, from Mother Bruce and Hotel Bruce, makes an appearance, and an adorable kitten. Who doesn’t love kittens? Perhaps mice!!!
Be Quiet and Froodle.
From mice to birds. Froodle, by Antoinette Portis, features a range of birds who sing through the day.
Little Brown Bird doesn’t feel like cawing or cooing, neither chipping or peeping. Instead, Little Brown Bird lets out a “Froodle sproodle!” Crow is quick to show his disapproval. High on a power line, Little Brown Bird is reminded to stay in line, do what is done, what is expected. But tiffles and biffles and little miffles can’t be contained. Ickles and zickles, pickles and trickles. Dove is brave enough to try something new—an oobly and a snooble. Even Crow eventually comes around.
Read aloud, this book is great fun. There’s wordplay and symbolism, gentle colours and joyful expressions. It’s sure to bring a giggle.
Before & After, by Jean Jullien, is simply brilliant. My Pictures After the Storm, by Éric Veillé, similarly exhibit the before and after of an event and allow readers to examine the changes that occur with equal genius. Some changes are relatable, others ridiculous.
My Pictures After the Storm.
My Pictures After the Battle show two children in dress-up attire, one an outlaw and the other a knight. With them is a tidily made bed, a lamp, chair, and an ordered bookcase. What comes after the battle is what any home could look like after a day of fun and games—the bed is turned on its side, other furniture too, books are scattered across the floor, and the children have cheerful and contented expressions. My Pictures After the Elephant are so absurd they’re too funny for words. A cake becomes a splitch, a pear becomes sweet pear jam, and a pig becomes a piece of ham.
Together the bright colours and black outline illustrations are striking. They stimulate the visual senses, draw in the eye, and elevate the comical nature of each picture. So too do the expressions of human, animal, and object characters. You’ll find eyes on a tractor and a coat monster, and so much more in this clever and, of course, highly amusing read.
Is reading your thing? In need of a good laugh too? Any one of these is sure to brighten your day.