As a Round One Panelist in the Fiction Picture Books category of this year’s Cybils Award, I’m honored to be among the book bloggers who will be reading the 262 nominated titles in order to generate a short list from which the Round Two Judges will select a winner. Let me tell you that I’ve gotten my hands on only 92 of these books so far, but I’m having such a blast immersing myself in these releases from the last year.
I wanted to share three titles today, which go well together if you’re looking for some funny read aloud books to bring a smile to your child’s face. In Even Monsters Need Haircuts, Matthew McElligott has created an adorable character in the little boy who runs his father’s barber shop one night a month to accommodate all the monsters in need of a trim. The extraordinary creatures who enter the shop act no differently than the regular customers, from the witch waiting with her baby in a stroller to the snake-haired lady who reads a magazine through her appointment. The boy takes his job seriously, just like his father, even when presented with a completely hairless skeleton in his chair. The soft illustrations are inviting, and the end pages depict a nice contrast of the father’s shop’s hair care products and those used by the boy, providing for even more laughs after the story has come to an end!
Two sounds are coming from the toy box, a “GRRRRR” and a “GHUGRRR-CHUG,” when the boys approach it, and soon a shark and a train are held in a face-off by each boy. In Chris Barton’s Shark vs. Train, the question is posed– Who will win? Readers are then taken along for a wild ride of various competitions that alternately favor the two contestants. You’d expect the ocean and the tracks to be two settings, but what about being a ride at the carnival? (A long line for one, and not surprisingly, no takers for the other.) As the competitions get even crazier, it’s not quite clear who can possibly win. (Playing video games is a challenge for both, considering their total lack of thumbs and all.) The funny factor rises with each turned page of this silly story and the fabulously colorful illustrations by Tom Lichtenheld. Parents will be hard-pressed not to bust out laughing at this one.
And finally, David Ezra Stein has created possibly one the most-fun-to-read-aloud picture books in a long, long time with Interrupting Chicken. As Papa gets his little chicken ready for bed, he reminds him to not interrupt the bedtime story, to which he eagerly agrees, of course. With each of the traditional stories that Papa tries to read, as soon as the action just starts to get going, the little red chicken hilariously interjects himself into the story to warn the characters of the impending danger. You must, MUST channel your inner actor and find the most excitable voice you can for this hyper little guy. (Mine is quite high pitched and cracks my kids up instantly!) This joins the ranks of those picture books that don’t get tiring even after the 1,000th read aloud, definitely.
If you’re looking for more picture books that have been nominated this year, please visit the Fiction Picture Book page and browse the titles. The finalists will be announced on January 1, and I hope to share more from my growing pile in the coming weeks.
Dawn’s fascination with picture books is indulged each and every day with her kids. Their adventures, bookish and not, can be found at my thoughts exactly.