Every week at school I share my favourite picture books at storytime with the younger children during their library visits. Although many books are gorgeous and beautifully written, I need books that are perfect for reading out loud and if I want to get the best reaction from the children it has to be a fabulously funny book. Today I’m sharing a selection of books that will make you smile, smirk and just laugh-out loud at their sheer silliness.
One of my favourite writer-illustrators team Polly Faber and Clara Vulliamy are back in their first collaboration since the glorious ‘Mango and Bambang,’ series. In ‘Picking Pickle,’ we meet the adorable Pickle who has been living at the dog’s home for the longest so is the perfect pooch to show you around and help find your dream dog. But which dog will you take home today? Will it be hungry Harvey who has an insatiable appetite for food? Do you need a guard dog like the magnificent Matilda who has the most marvellous teeth? Or Poochy Petunia Wuffles-Winstanley who has simple tastes, all she needs is a golden bowl and a diamond collar? Polly has created the most adorable, warm story that will fill your heart with joy and leave you with the biggest smile on your face. Whilst Clara’s energetic and fun-loving illustrations leap off the page making you fall head over heels with the delightful dogs. I was totally charmed by this delightful, heart-warming story which has the most perfect surprise ending.
‘Little Red Reading Hood,’ takes a traditional tale mixes it up and turns it into a celebration of the incredible power of books, reading and most importantly librarians. Little Red has to return her overdue book to the library but despite her mother’s warning not to stray from the path, she doesn’t listen. And when she meets a wolf who suggests she sit down a while and enjoy her book one last time she finds it impossible to resist. We all know how the story plays out but Little Red and the librarian are far too savvy to let this happen and so the wolf is in for a surprise of his own. Lucy has crafted the most rambunctious rhymes making this story bounce along beautifully, it really is a treat to read aloud. Ben Mantle’s gloriously illustrates this entertaining tale combining funny, intricate details with beautiful spreads that capture the magic of books and reading marvellously.
When Steve the puffin meets Steve the puffin, they are both disconcerted. Surely there can’t be two puffins called Steve that would be a nonsense. And if there has to be two of them then one must be better than the other! Who is the first Steve? The fastest Steve? The tallest Steve? With each spread they get sillier and sillier and more annoyed until they become so mean to each other that they start to regret their behaviour. Brilliantly mimicking the funny arguments children have with each other, it shows how we should celebrate our differences rather than try to be the same as each other and strive to be the best. Eye-catching, vibrant spreads make this story stand out from the crowd. While the use of a limited bold palette creates a truly attractive book that demands to be read. An absolute star of a read, I just loved it.
You Can’t Let An Elephant Drive a Digger – Patricia Cleveland-Peck & David Tazzyman
‘You Can’t Take an Elephant on a Bus,’ is one of my favourite storytime reads it is guaranteed to have children giggling along as the animals get themselves caught up in impossible situations. So I was thrilled to see that Patricia and David had created a follow-up which is equally as funny and totally genius with it’s improbable antics. Join in with the bizarre and hilarious spreads as a seal tries to prepare a meal, a polar bear attempts to cut your hair and a wolf reads a bedtime story that is very gory. Lively, laugh-out-loud rhymes are perfectly complemented by David’s riotous illustrations which capture brilliantly the comedy of the chaos and confusion as the animals try and fail to be helpful. I can’t wait to share this story with the children at my school.
‘Ten Fat Sausages,’ is one of the genuinely funniest books that I have read this year. I made the mistake of reading it to the children at storytime without having read it first, which meant I spent most of the story just bursting out into laughter as I wasn’t expecting the twists and surprises in every spread. When ten fat sausages are sizzling in the pan they decide drastic action is needed before they go ‘pop’ and ‘bang’ and end up being gobbled up. Each daring escape doesn’t go exactly to plan with rather disastrous consequences for the sausages involved. Michelle’s witty, lively rhymes are perfectly timed to create tension and humour as the readers learns the fate of each of our escapees. Tor’s incredible attention to detail create the most side-splitting moments of pure fun and comedy, with my absolute favourite being the sausage with a bite out of his bottom. I’ve never seen the children at my school laugh so much at a book, if you like anarchic humour then this is the picture book for you.
‘Baby’s FIrst Bank Heist,’ is the first in a new series of picture books featuring Baby Frank, who is smarter than your average baby, in fact he’s smarter than your average grown up. When Baby Frank’s parents refuse to give in to his persistent demands for a pet he has not alternative but to turn to a life of a crime. And his parents have only themselves to blame for forcing their only son to rob a bank just so he can have a furry creature in his life. But Baby Frank’s craving for creatures soon gets out of hand, will his parents uncover the truth about their son’s naughty habits? Packed with lively rhymes and many comic moments, this is a really amusing and impressive debut from Jim Whalley. Stephen Collins illustrations are just divine, filled with the most intricate details his style is really distinctive giving this book a really unique edge. I’m looking forward to reading more from this new partnership.
Thank you to Bloomsbury, Macmillan Books, Pavillion Books and Two Hoots for sending me copies of these books to review and to Hampshire School Library Service for my copy of, ‘Ten Fat Sausages’. All of these books are available to pre-order or buy online (clink on the title link) or from any good bookshop.