King Alice (Matthew Cordell)

Hello, friends! Our book today is King Alice by Matthew Cordell, a delightfully silly slice of life for one very creative little girl and her family.

Snowed in yet again, Alice’s daddy wakes up to his rambunctious young daughter who has declared herself King Alice (“You mean… Queen?” “No! KING!”). After suggesting a few less-than-ideal activities to her beleaguered father, she decides that the two will write a book. With Alice composing the story and daddy drawing the illustrations, the events of the book mirror their own day: eating breakfast, having a tea party, a unicorn stampede (inspired by a quick television break), bathtime, etc. Alice’s mommy and baby sibling are featured characters, as are her cat and favorite toys. And after a day of adventure (and one time-out after a bout of naughtiness), the book of King Alice is complete, leaving Alice excited for all the fun they’ll have tomorrow (and exhausted dad hoping that the snow clears up overnight).

A hilariously realistic look at the mind of a child, with a fun wink-and-nudge message to their parents. Alice and her family’s day, from the declaration of her title to the sense of relief at bedtime, felt so accurate from start to finish that I couldn’t help but chuckle. But Cordell does a good job of balancing her father’s reactions to Alice’s antics – from bemused to harrowed to accidentally injured – with the charm and humor of that age. It makes the story all the more identifiable for adult readers and engaging and entertaining for young bookworms. The frenetic, scribbly-scratchy art fits the tone perfectly, and there are some great details to be found on each page (did I spy a framed picture of the TARDIS?). The length was perfect, and we had a hoot reading it. A great book to enjoy together, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

It’s Not Hansel and Gretel (Josh Funk)

Hello, friends! Our book today is It’s Not Hansel and Gretel, written by Josh Funk and illustrated by Edwardian Taylor, a hilariously fractured twist on the original fairy tale.

As the narrator of Hansel and Gretel’s tale opens the scene, he is immediately distracted by the presence of Jack (of “and the Beanstalk”, and the protagonist of the book’s prequel). Shooing Jack back to his own story, the narrator begins the familiar tale: in a time of great famine, Hansel and Gretel’s parents plot to abandon them in the woods – except Gretel immediately interrupts to disagree with this notion, adamant that their parents would never do such a thing. This becomes the running theme, as the siblings push back against the increasingly frustrated narrator, refusing to follow the story laid out for them. Gretel is particularly fed up with the traditional gender roles, questioning why it can’t be “Gretel and Hansel”, and why her brother gets to eat treats in the candy cage while she has to do chores in the witch’s gingerbread house. Even when the narrator proves to be right – the siblings eventually concede that maybe the witch WASN’T just a nice old lady – their refusal to follow direction spurs the exasperated narrator to give up control of the story… and that’s when the real fun begins.

Delightfully goofy. The effect will work best on kids who are familiar with the original fairy tale, but this rollicking tale is chock full of so much snappy dialogue, colorful visuals, and wonderfully kid-friendly humor that it’s worth it to brush up on the Grimms’s version. The layout of the different texts for character speech, traditional narration, and the narrator’s outbursts is a nice touch – reading this one aloud is a challenge but an entertaining one (brush up on your character voices, this one is rife with opportunities). The cameos from other fairy tale notables are also a fun feature for eagle-eyed bookworms, the length is perfect, and JJ and I had a blast reading it. Perfect for lovers of silly humor, and emphatically Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by a representative of the author in exchange for an honest review.)

I Am Not A Chair! (Ross Burach)

Hello, friends! Our book today is I Am Not A Chair! by Ross Burach, a silly story of a giraffe with a rather specific predicament.

It’s Giraffe’s first day in the jungle, and he is excited to make new friends… just one problem. For some strange reason, the other animals keep mistaking him for a chair… and sitting on him. He tries to speak up, but the animals, not realizing their mistake, inadvertently impede his power of speech in various ways. He tries to build a chair (which looks TOTALLY different from him, FYI) that the animals can use instead, but it backfires: now they just think there’s two chairs. Giraffe has had enough, and he vows that the next animal he sees, he will declare clearly and firmly that he is NOT A CHAIR! But will he maintain that resolve when the next animal is a – gulp! – hungry lion?

Goofy and fun. Using a healthy dose of outlandish visual humor and a plot that serves mainly to set up the next punchline, this is definitely a story written with kid-friendly humor in mind. It’s possible that a lesson in speaking up is intended as well, but it sort of gets lost in the comedy – especially when Giraffe, finally having broken the other animals of using him accidentally as a chair, does the very same thing to a turtle. However, the good-humored silliness in the story and wide-eyed, cartoonish characters and illustrations are enough that any deeper message becomes arbitrary. The length is fine, and JJ enjoyed it. A solid read to share a laugh to, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved.

Truck Full Of Ducks (Ross Burach)

Hello, friends! Or book today is Truck Full Of Ducks by Ross Burach, the hilariously silly story of an unusual delivery.

Bernie the dog’s Truck Full Of Ducks delivery service gets an urgent order, so he herds his rascally feathered fowl into the truck and heads out. Unfortunately, one of the rambunctious ducks snacks on the directions to Bernie’s destination! How will he find his customer now? Left with no other choice, Bernie drives around and asks everyone he comes across if they ordered a Truck Full Of Ducks. But everyone is waiting for something else instead: a tow-truck for the alien’s broken-down UFO, an ice cream truck for the surfer shark, etc. Will Bernie ever find his customer? And when he does… what becomes of the ducks?

Ridiculous and charming. The dialogue-driven text and frenetic illustrations use wordplay, broad humor, and a heavy dose of irony to fill every page with jokes that are hilarious to readers both young and old. JJ loved the wild antics of the ducks, as well as the ample opportunities for character voices while reading aloud. The twist ending is amusingly unexpected, and the length is perfect for a quick read – but with plenty of details in the art that invite repeat readings. We loved this one, and highly recommend it for a laugh. Baby Bookworm approved!

The Good For Nothing Button (Charise Mericle Harper)

Hello, friends! Our book today is The Good For Nothing Button by Charise Mericle Harper, a wonderfully silly story about nothing at all.

Two birds, Red and Blue, happily greet their friend Yellow as he approaches them with a special item. It’s a red button that, when pressed, does… nothing. That’s it. The button does nothing at all! Blue Bird is surprised, and asks if he may try. Pressing the button he is surprised again to find that it’s true – the button does nothing! But Red points out that the button made him surprised, and well, surprised is NOT “nothing”. Pressing the button himself, Red finds that it makes him sad – another not-nothing. Frustrated, Yellow Bird insists that the button can’t MAKE them feel any way, it’s a nothing button – it does NOTHING! After an animated tirade on the subject, Red and Blue decree that they know what the button does for Yellow – it makes him funny. Thinking on this, Yellow decides that funny is not a terrible thing to be, so maybe the button isn’t good for nothing after all.

Delightfully fun. Third in the Elephant & Piggie Like Reading series, it does the titular duo’s trademark wackiness justice. The story has fun and melodramatic dialogue that is a blast to read aloud, featuring lots of gags and even a quick run-through of different emotions (JJ loved that page best). The illustrations are simple yet full of charm, and the length was great – manageable as a storytime for little bookworms, or an early reader for growing ones. A great addition to the series, and Baby Bookworm approved!