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.

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The books I picked & why

Llama Destroys the World

By Jonathan Stutzman, Heather Fox (illustrator),

Book cover of Llama Destroys the World

Why did I love 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. 

By Jonathan Stutzman, Heather Fox (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Llama Destroys the World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Meet Llama, a true hero for the ages, who has most definitely driven a bus and who loves cake way more than you.

On Monday, Llama discovers a pile of cake, which he promptly eats.
On Tuesday, Llama squeezes into his dancing trousers, which he promptly rips.
The force of the rip creates a black hole (naturally).
By Friday, Llama will (indirectly) destroy the world.

In their debut picture book, author/illustrator team Jonathan Stutzman and Heather Fox introduce young readers to the hilarious, the oblivious, the apocalyptically adorable Llama.
So grab some cake and prepare to dance . . .…

Book cover of Should I Share My Ice Cream?

Why did I love 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.

By Mo Willems,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Should I Share My Ice Cream? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Perfect for children just learning to read, this highly original book is told entirely in speech bubbles with a repetitive use of familiar phrases. From the award-winning author of Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!
Gerald is careful. Piggie is not.
Piggie cannot help smiling. Gerald can.
Gerald worries so that Piggie does not have to.
Gerald and Piggie are best friends.

Gerald has a big decision to make. But will he make it in time...? Mo Willems creates another hilarious escapade starring the award-winning duo that will have early readers breaking into laughter from the first page.

Boy and Bot

By Ame Dyckman, Dan Yaccarino (illustrator),

Book cover of Boy and Bot

Why did I love 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.

By Ame Dyckman, Dan Yaccarino (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Boy and Bot as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One day, a boy and a robot meet in the woods. They play. They have fun.

But when Bot gets switched off, Boy thinks he's sick. The usual remedies—applesauce, reading a story—don't help, so Boy tucks the sick Bot in, then falls asleep.

Bot is worried when he powers on and finds his friend powered off. He takes Boy home with him and tries all his remedies: oil, reading an instruction manual. Nothing revives the malfunctioning Boy! Can the Inventor help fix him?

Using the perfect blend of sweetness and humor, this story of an adorable duo will win the…

Book cover of Richard Scarry's Funniest Storybook Ever!

Why did I love 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.

By Richard Scarry,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Richard Scarry's Funniest Storybook Ever! as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Welcome to the busy world of Richard Scarry! New in paperback, every page is packed with pictures and zany stories, with lots of details to spot.

There are fifteen fabulous Scarry stories in this action-packed book. Read how Rabbit gets stuck to the road, and how little Tanglefoot trips over everything in sight! With stories such as 'The Talking Bread' and 'Uncle Willie and the Pirates', there is enough action here to satisfy the most demanding reader.

Bunny Party

By Rosemary Wells,

Book cover of Bunny Party

Why did I love 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?

By Rosemary Wells,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Bunny Party as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Excellent Book

5 book lists we think you will like!

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