The best picture books about foolishness

Who am I?

I’m the author of Raccoon Tune, Elena’s Story, and eight books about goofy sheep. My family didn’t get a TV until I was nine, so I used the library for entertainment. I liked all kinds of books. I’m still a voracious reader and I’m fascinated by the nuances of words. My kids loved silly books--especially where someone ignores the obvious--and so does my granddaughter. I also grew up playing with words. Once, on a car trip, I started rhyming about sheep driving a jeep, and even a preschooler knows you shouldn’t forget to steer. I think that seeing foolish characters in stories helps kids make sense of the world.

I wrote...

Sheep Trick or Treat

By Nancy Shaw, Margot Apple (illustrator),

Book cover of Sheep Trick or Treat

What is my book about?

My eager sheep create scary costumes to go trick-or-treating at the farm in the dell. Not noticing a scarier creature lurking in the woods, they collect treats from the animals in the barn—apples, oats, and sugar lumps are great; a dried-up fly, not so much. As they head home, a bunch of wolves lurks in wait, but the sheep’s costume faces, lit from below by lanterns, send the predators skedaddling. The sheep settle down with their Halloween treats.

The books I picked & why

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Llama Destroys the World

By Jonathan Stutzman, Heather Fox (illustrator),

Book cover of Llama Destroys the World

Why this book?

My granddaughter introduced me to Llama, and I had a hard time reading aloud because I couldn’t stop laughing. Has a character ever been more pleased with himself than Llama, or more self-indulgent? He eats more cake than a llama should ever eat, puts on his dancing pants and cha-chas—but squeezing into those pants after all that cake causes the pants to split so violently that a black hole opens in space. Portents of doom appear, but Llama ignores them. When the universe pops back through the black hole and all’s right with the world again, Llama finds pie. 

Should I Share My Ice Cream?

By Mo Willems,

Book cover of Should I Share My Ice Cream?

Why this book?

My granddaughter also introduced me to Elephant & Piggie. Cautious, plan-ahead Gerald Elephant and free-spirited Piggie are best friends, kind and open about their emotions, but sometimes oblivious. We’ve read the more than two dozen tales in the series, and it’s hard to pick a favorite. The stories are designed for early readers. The text shows in cartoon balloons, with repeated phrases, but it doesn’t have the stilted quality and vocabulary limitations that sometimes bog down easy-to-reads.

Gerald is licking a very yummy ice cream cone when he thinks of Piggie. Should he share it with her? The yumminess makes him want to keep it to himself; but Piggie would love some. He wrestles with his conscience so long that the ice cream melts into a puddle.

Boy and Bot

By Ame Dyckman, Dan Yaccarino (illustrator),

Book cover of Boy and Bot

Why this book?

A boy and a robot decide to play together. The robot’s switch is bumped, and he turns off. The boy tries to help—he feeds the robot applesauce, reads him a story, and tucks him in. When his switch is bumped again, Bot tries to help the sleeping boy, giving him oil, reading him an instruction manual, and getting a battery. Only when the inventor shouts, “Stop! That is a boy!” do the friends sort of understand each other. You can do your best robot voice reading this aloud, and the brightly-colored pictures add warmth and jokes to the story.

Richard Scarry's Funniest Storybook Ever!

By Richard Scarry,

Book cover of Richard Scarry's Funniest Storybook Ever!

Why this book?

My kids loved Richard Scarry—they enjoyed the details to look for in the good-humored pictures, but especially the heedless characters. In this slapstick-filled storybook, Mr. Rabbit gets stuck in gooey tar because he’s reading a newspaper as he walks. Pa Pig buys a new car. Every time he makes a stop, he drives off in someone else’s vehicle, working his way up to a power shovel. Another old favorite is Scarry’s book with animals driving a fanciful variety of vehicles. Even though the cover has fallen off, we’re keeping it.

Bunny Party

By Rosemary Wells,

Book cover of Bunny Party

Why this book?

Bossy, responsible Ruby is planning Grandma’s birthday party, and as usual, little brother Max has his own ideas. Ruby has invited her dolls to the party, but Max places his favorites—like the Ear-Splitter Space Cadetat the table, swiping costume bits off Ruby’s dolls to disguise the imposters. Ruby is confused by the extra guests: “It must be a bad counting day. We need another chair.” Young readers will see what’s really happening—and Max’s facial expressions emphasize what he’s up to. What will Grandma think of the unusual guests?

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in robots, toys, and ice cream?

5,888 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about robots, toys, and ice cream.

Robots Explore 60 books about robots
Toys Explore 20 books about toys
Ice Cream Explore 5 books about ice cream

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

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