Legend has it that when a baby laughs for the first time, a fairy gets its wings, as told in the movie Tinkerbell. Just a story? Well, maybe. But it’s true that the power of laughter can create big changes. The moods created by epic tantrums over granola bars that break in half, muddy handprints on the walls, and defiant declarations about sock color totally transform when you hear the sound of your son or daughter laughing. Increase the laughter in your house this summer with these books, and be prepared to read them again and again and again (you won’t mind).
by Amy Fellner Dominy and Nate Evans; illustrated by A.G. Ford
Recommended by BookBar’s children’s coordinator Marilyn Robbins, Cookiesaurus Rex follows a T-Rex cookie that does not like how he’s been decorated. Why doesn’t he get shiny stars like the dog cookie, or a gumdrop nose like the flower cookie? Kids will laugh along as the dinosaur is turned into a ballerina, baby, a duck, and more before taking a licking (literally). “Children love the silliness of this story, immediately wanting it read over and over again,” says Robbins. At the end of the book, the T-Rex says, “this isn’t over,” and he’s right—look for the sequel, Cookiesaurus Christmas, coming in September.
by Jon Scieszka and Mac Barnett and Alex; illustrated by Matthew Myers and Alex
(Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2013)
When my own son picked up a copy of Battle Bunny at his school’s book fair a couple of years ago, his eyes widened. It was as if the authors and illustrator had reached into his mischievous mind and pulled out this story. (And I wasn’t the only mom at the book fair who felt this way.) Battle Bunny appears to be a book about a birthday bunny, that a boy named Alex has altered with a pencil. Each page features Alex’s detailed additions to the story and illustrations, which turns a quiet story into one about a rabbit with an evil plan to destroy the forest. Battle Bunny is defeated only when Alex draws himself into the story to save the forest and its animals.
by Yuyi Morales
(Roaring Brook Press, 2013)
Little luchador Niño wrestles many out-of-this-world opponents and is victorious over them all, until he finally meets his match—his las hermanitas (little sisters). When the sisters prove to be his toughest competition of all, Niño decides, “if you can’t beat them, join them.” Recommended by Denver Public Library children’s librarians Amy Forrester and Alyx Campbell, they say kids will love the story, the imagination, and the comic book style illustrations. It’s written in English with Spanish words throughout.
by Dashka Slater; illustrated by Sydney Hanson
(Farrar Straus Giroux Books for Young Readers, 2017)
Local illustrator Heather Brockman Lee read Escargot during #ReFoReMo (Reading for Research month) and loved it. “It made my husband and kids laugh too, and has really great illustrations!” Lee says. In the story, readers meet a French snail that is determined to get to the salad at the end of the book, while simultaneously trying to convince the reader to choose the snail as his or her favorite animal. And with his big eyes, kisses, dislike of carrots, and funny way with words, young snail lovers are sure to emerge from their shells.
by Bob Shea
(Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, September 18, 2018)
“Do you like action? Are you a good guesser? Then get ready to play Crash, Splash, or Moo!” So begins this book that functions like a game show. Readers get to predict whether the book’s “fearless daredevils” (Action Clam or cow) will produce a crash, splash, or moo based on a variety of stunts, hosted by Mr. McMonkey. Young readers can call out their guesses, and the results are always full of surprises and laughs you wouldn’t expect.
by Mo Willems
(Disney Hyperion, 2018)
“Rarely does an alphabet book fit in the category of a book that makes you laugh,” says Marilyn Robbins, children’s coordinator at BookBar, “but Mo Willems has crossed the line into silliness once again.” The book starts off with healthy foods such as apples, berries, and cereal, but soon enough the creature begins eating things like furniture and jackets. Queasiness follows, and you might be able to predict what happens on the V page.
Librarians and book experts also recommend:
- The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors by Drew Daywalt; illustrated by Adam Rex
- The Princess and the Pony by Kate Beaton
- I Say OOH, You Say AAH! by John Kane
- Star Wars: Are You Scared, Darth Vader? by Adam Rex
- The Book With No Pictures by B.J. Novak
- Bruce’s Big Move by Ryan T. Higgins
- Arnie, the Doughnut by Laurie Keller
- Dude by Aaron Reynolds, illustrated by Dan Santat
- Feminist Baby Finds Her Voice! by Loryn Brantz
- Lily the Unicorn by Dallas Clayton
- This is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen
- Grow Up, Ant-Man by Brandon T. Snider; Illustrated by Jessika Von Innerebner
- Moo! by David LaRochelle; illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka
- I Don’t Want to be a Frog by Dev Petty; illustrated by Mike Boldt
- Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin; illustrated by Daniel Salmieri
- Accident! by Andrea Tsurumi
- Bob, Not Bob!: *To Be Read as Though You Have a the Worst Cold Ever by Liz Garton Scanlon and Audrey Vernick; illustrated by Matthew Cordell
- Everyone Poops by Taro Gomi
- Burger Boy by Alan Durant; illustrated by Mei Matsuoka
- I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More! by Karen Beaumont; illustrated by David Catrow
- What Are You So Grumpy About? By Tom Lichtenheld
- Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett; illustrated by Jon Klassen
- BE QUIET! by Ryan T. Higgins
- Neck & Neck by Elise Parsley
- Rhyming Dust Bunnies by Jan Thomas