Funny Picture Book Read Alouds

I’ve written several times about how I enjoyed reading aloud to my boys when they were little and to my daycare kids, and how they loved being read to.  These funny picture books will be enjoyed by all—and I picked them for their appeal to adults as well. They are the perfect marriage of text and illustrations—with much of the story and the humor communicated through the pictures.  Each will work great for one-on-one reading, or reading to a small group, or as a classroom read-aloud.

Dog in Charge by K.L. Going (ill. by Dan Santat). 2012. 9780803734791. Gr PK-2.

Dog is a good Dog. A smart Dog. The very best Dog.  He sits, stays, and even dances on command—and is rewarded with yummy dog treats.  When the family leaves for the store, he is in charge of the five cats.  Or is he?  The cats don’t sit and they don’t stay.  Soon every room in the house is a mess, and Dog is in despair.  He is not a good dog or a smart dog—and there will be no yummy treats in his future.  Collapsing to the floor to think, he falls asleep.  But these cats really do love their dog, and they don’t want him to get in trouble.  By the time the family gets home, Dog is once again the very best Dog.  And the cats?  They are “good cats. Smart cats. The very best cats.”

This Is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen. 2012. 9780763655990. Gr PK-2.

“This hat is not mine. I just stole it,” admits a tiny fish sporting a tiny hat.  He goes on to tell us that the hat belongs to a big fish that was sleeping, and reasons that the big fish probably won’t wake up for a long time, and if he does wake up, he probably won’t even notice his missing hat, and if he does notice, he won’t know who took it, and if he does, he won’t know where the thief is going.  But the reader sees that the rationale isn’t holding up—the big fish does wake up, and he does notice his missing hat, and he does know who took it, and so on.  The little fish swims into the tall plants that grow close together, thinking that no one will find him.  Kids will know, however, that the little fish is about to get his comeuppance…and the big fish will get his hat.

A Birthday for Bear by Bonnie Becker (ill. by Kady MacDonald Denton). 2012. 9780763658236. Gr PK-2.

It is Bear’s birthday, but he refuses to acknowledge it.  He always keeps very busy on his birthday, dusting and sweeping and mopping and scrubbing.  But Mouse is determined that Bear will celebrate his birthday.  When a fake party invitation doesn’t work, he pretends to be a balloon deliveryman, and then a postman with a birthday card.  He even tries coming down the chimney dressed in a red Santa suit and carrying a present.  Finally Bear cries out, “I DO NOT LIKE BIRTHDAYS!”  But can he really resist that present?  This fourth Bear and Mouse picture book is just as charming as the others, and the fusion of text and illustrations is as delicious as Bear’s birthday cake.

Creepy Carrots! by Aaron Reynolds (ill. by Peter Brown). 2012. 9781442402973. Gr PK-2.

Jasper Rabbit loves carrots, especially the fat, crisp ones that grow freely in Crackenhopper Field.  He stops whenever he can to pick some and eat them.  He can’t get enough of them—until creepy carrots start following him home.  He sees their threatening forms everywhere…but no one else does.  Finally Jasper has an idea:  those creepy carrots can’t get him if they can’t get out!  So he builds a thick wall around the field, and surrounds it with a moat filled with crocodiles.  He heads home, assured that those creepy veggies will never get out.  The carrots?  They are cheering because Jasper will never get back IN! This silly-scary book is great for kids who don’t want their scary books too scary.

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