Laughter makes everything better. These new picture books tell hilarious, entertaining stories sure to evoke guffaws.
"A Busy Creature's Day Eating!" by Mo Willems; Disney-Hyperion; 28 pages; $17.99.
Best-selling humor author Mo Willems produces some of the most popular children's books on the market. This alphabet book stars a crazed purple creature that runs about a house eating everything. Starting with the usual "Apples!" "Berries!" and "Cereal!" (which he gobbles by stuffing his face in the bowl), our famished friend quickly moves on to furniture, gravy and even "Huge Hot-Sauce Halibut Hoagie!" Preschoolers will laugh hysterically at the expressive, round eyes of the eater, and the wacky ways he gobbles a kilt, mayonnaise and a napkin.
More hilarity ensues when our eater runs to the potty, queasy, and then eats "rice, saltines, tea." Kids who've ever eaten too much and felt sick will feel reassured when our creature finally falls "zonked."
"Lots More Animals Should Definitely Not Wear Clothing" by Judi Barrett; illustrated by Ron Barrett; Simon and Schuster Kids; 32 pages; $17.99.
Animals are definitely best just the way they are, without clothes. The Barretts, the duo behind the classic hilarious "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs," prove that fact with this sequel to "Animals Should Definitely Not Wear Clothing." From a horse stepping on his sneaker laces, to a frog jumping out of his pants, to a skunk stinking up her skirt, the flustered animals pictured are hilariously bewildered. Ron Barrett's detailed illustrations are truly personable and funny, while Judi Barrett's large text explains what's obvious but smile-worthy.
"Because a turtle has a turtleneck of its own, because a penguin is already dressed, because a hyena might find it hilarious" are a few of the reasons the Barretts say animals shouldn't wear clothing. I agree!
"I Got a Chicken for My Birthday" by Laura Gehl; illustrated by Sarah Horne; Carolrhoda Books; 32 pages; $17.99.
A little girl gets a chicken for her birthday, when what she asked for was tickets to the amusement park. But Abuela Lola sent her a chicken, and now it has to be fed. This chicken, though, has bigger plans and a shopping list. It steals the dog, cat and hamster, and they all get busy building an amusement park in the backyard.
Eventually, the girl thinks her chicken is genius; they invite Abuela Lola to visit, and hilariously ride egg-shaped roller coaster cars and plan for a trip to the moon next year.
Sarah Horne's quirky, bright illustrations add lots of funny details, from the chicken's sign that says "Sorry, no time for laying eggs!" to the dog's "Sorry, no time for walks!"
"Floaty" by John Himmelman; Henry Holt and Co.; 32 pages; $17.99.
Grumpy old Mr. Raisin wants to be left alone. One day, a basket arrives, and it includes a little dog that floats with a note that says "All yours! Too much trouble! Good luck!." By the time Mr. Raisin figures out how to care for a dog that's always stuck to his ceiling, he seems engaged with new challenges and much happier. He tosses cornflakes in the air to the pup, squirts a hose up to give him a drink, and then decides to take him on walk outside.
Kids will laugh at the absurdity of a floating puppy but may feel concerned when the leash snaps and Floaty floats away. It's here that we realize how much Mr. Raisin loves that dog, as he goes to great lengths to try to find him with balloons and a telescope on the roof. Readers will clap in joy when the old man sews a hot-air balloon and soars to the sky to scoop up Floaty, who really "is just right amount of trouble."
The combination of absurdity, humor and love of a pet makes "Floaty" a funny, caring tale.
To find out more about Lee Littlewood, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.