It's Day 7 of Picture Book Month, and it seems like the right time to talk about humor. Picture books can be thoughtful, introspective things, or full of insight, but they can also be bursting with silliness. That's one thing I love about this category of kidlit, that it doesn't take itself too seriously. Picture book authors love to play, with format and narrative and even style, and their efforts are usually rewarded with giggles of glee from their young audience. Quite honestly, I don't think we've ever gotten through Bark, George without both Sprout and Mama dissolving into fits of laughter. And what could be better than that?
Today's pick is a recent find and one that Sprout just adores. We first encountered it at the bookstore and I knew it would be a hit almost right away (we read it about five times that first day). Since then we've read it dozens more, to the point where Sprout has huge chunks of it memorized. It's a great pick for storytime or family time, because it's one you just won't get tired of.
Enough suspense -- the book is It's A Tiger! by David LaRochelle, with illustrations by Jeremy Tankard. You may recognize Tankard's style from some of his other books, most notably Grumpy Bird, which we also adore. And his trademark use of vivid color and bold lines fits perfectly with LaRochelle's simple -- and simply perfect -- narrative.
The pictures just about leap off the page, which is, I assure you, so very appropriate. This is the literary equivalent of a three-year-old boy trapped inside on a rainy day, energy just bursting from every quarter. "Are you ready for a story?" an unseen narrator asks of a hapless youngster. And we're off, starting in the jungle, "where the monkeys swing from vine to vine". Except one of those monkey tails looks strangely like. . . (can you guess what it is??). Oh no, I'm not telling -- this is one you have to experience yourself. It's just that delightful!
Kids will love the unexpected ending, but you'd better make time right off for a few repeat readings. 'Cause the best thing about silly books, my friends, is that even when you know the punch line, it's still a whole lot of fun to get there!
It's a Tiger! by David LaRochelle, published by Chronicle Books