Picture book authors and illustrators devote themselves to making books that connect with the hearts and minds of those who read them. This month’s favorites succeeded, in my opinion, because they all brought a smile to my face and laughter to my heart. I hope they’ll do the same for you. Enjoy!
“Bear Came Along” written by Richard T. Morris and illustrated by LeUyen Pham (Copyright 2019, Little, Brown and Company) is a story about a bear who finds several new friends while on an accidental adventure. When the tree Bear is sitting on breaks and falls into the river, he is joined for a log ride by the many different woodland creatures he passes during his journey. These unlikely friends find themselves sharing the wild ride of a lifetime . . . over a waterfall. They hold onto each other, soon discovering the fun times that await them when they work together in spite of their differences. The watercolor, ink, and gouache illustrations carry the emotions of the ride to a perfectly joyful, color-filled ending, reminding readers that sometimes the happiest of adventures can happen by accident.
“No Fuzzball!” written and illustrated by Isabella Kung (Copyright 2020, Orchard Books imprint of Scholastic, Inc.) is a book that will resonate with cat lovers everywhere. It is the story of Fuzzball, a self-described “queen,” who thinks that her subjects “worship her and scream her name everywhere she goes.” Although she thinks it’s her name, they are actually screaming, “No Fuzzball,” because she often creates chaos in her “queendom,” where, in her eyes, there is “total harmony.” She spends her days being entertained, fed, groomed, messaged, and showered with gifts by the family who loves her. When they pack up and leave her alone overnight, she awakens from a long nap to wonder where they’ve gone and what has happened to them. After having a pity party, she decides to prepare for their return in a way that only a cat (or dog) who has been left home alone can do. The relatable, comical illustrations tell the story as her family returns, giving her a welcome hug before they notice what she’s done to the house and scream “No Fuzzball,” which in her mind is their way of telling her they love her. This story is a funny reminder that perception is reality, especially if you’re a cat.
“Sheep Dog and Sheep Sheep” written and illustrated by Eric Barclay (Copyright 2019, Harper imprint of HarperCollins Publishers) is the story of an oblivious little sheep, who is so busy dancing through life that she often closes her eyes and bumps into things. When she bumps into a sheep dog, she thinks he needs help. While she tries to “fix” him, he’s busy protecting her from an eagle, a coyote, and the hazards of dancing with her eyes closed. Once she’s given him the tools that she thinks he’ll need when watching sheep, she realizes that there are no sheep to watch. Considering herself an expert on watching sheep, she looks for the sheep herself, thinking he must have lost them. After a while, he explains to her that she is the only sheep, but that maybe she is supposed to be watching him instead. She agrees, concluding that since she is so good at watching dogs, she is, of course, a “dog sheep.”
“The Wonky Donkey” written by Craig Smith and illustrated by Katz Cowley (Copyright 2009, Scholastic, Inc.) isn’t just a book, it’s a container for sharing laughter and joy. This book was born when an unknown author paired with an unknown illustrator and they landed a book deal with a well-known publisher. The stars aligned again for this duo when a viral video of a Scottish grandmother, who was laughing hysterically while reading the book aloud to her grandson, turned their book into a best-seller. In the picture book world, this is like winning the lottery. But…all the attention is well-deserved because hilarity ensues as you turn the 24-pages of this book and learn why this special donkey is so very wonky. Originally written as a song, this cumulative story features repetitive wording that combines wonderfully with the comical, expressive illustrations to make this book a great tongue-twisting read-aloud. Whether you read the story for yourself or choose to watch the video (or maybe both), this book is a treasure.
If you have a favorite funny picture book to recommend, I’d love to hear about it.
Happy reading! 😊