Seems to me that humor – laughter and amusement – is one emotion that is intensified and bettered by sharing it. It’s much more fun to laugh with someone than to chuckle alone in a (padded?) room. It makes sense that picture books – stories that are meant to be shared – are often funny.
But how do you do that?
That’s what I have a hard time figuring out. It’s the whole if I have to explain the joke then it’s not funny anymore problem.
But! I’ll try anyway!
Based on a very non-scientific grabbing of available books from my local library, here are some common traits I found in books I thought – because although we love to share a laugh, humor is personal – were funny.
- INTERACTIVE QUALITY: The reader loves to be in on the joke – and to take part in the story. Yelling at books is always fun for story time.
- Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems
- Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein
- SILLINESS / ABSURDITY: Extremes are funny. Take something familiar and push it into something more.
- Shark Vs. Train by Chris Barton
- You Will Be My Friend by Peter Brown
- SURPRISE: Taking something familiar and turning it upside down – or playing with our expectations can be such a delight!
- Is Your Buffalo Ready for Kindergarten? by Audrey Vernick
- Falling for Rapunzel by Lean Wilcox
- NAUGHTY, NAUGHTY: It’s funny when a character does something naughty – ties into the surprise and interactive quality.
- Ugly Fish by Kara LaReau
- I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen
- SOMEONE ELSE’S TRAGEDY: As Mel Brooks said, “Tragedy is when I cut my finger. Comedy is when you walk into an open sewer and die.” These aren’t really tragic books, but the characters do have a moment of despair – that’s pretty darn funny.
- Bubba and Beau, Best Friends by Kathi Appelt
- Cuddly Duddly by Jez Alborough
Darcy Pattison has a great post on the different stages of humor in kids – definitely worth a study!
For more book suggestions, goodreads has a page of popular funny books.
Ta Ta and Ha Ha,
Sarah Wones Tomp
WRITING ON THE SIDEWALK