This illustrated collection gives novice joke tellers—and their parents—some excellent puns to draw from.



A debut picture book delivers jokes for the preschool crowd.

Finding jokes that are both funny and make sense to younger readers can be a challenge. But Henley Belle Johnson—with help from her mother and editor, Elle Muliarchyk Johnson, and debut illustrator Dalbuz—captures that balance perfectly here. The title joke uses a pun on the animal’s name, linking it to a sound-alike article of clothing (“A Z-BRA!”). The majority of the jokes in the collection begin with an animal, using the creature’s name (or the sound it makes) to complete a pun in the punchline. The clever way of playing with sounds makes the jokes accessible to younger readers. Helpful, color-printed portions of dinosaur names are especially useful in offering pronunciation clues to young listeners trying to guess the answers to the questions posed. One Spanish joke—“What does grass say to the gardener who waters it? GRASS-ias!”—shows readers that plays on words are not limited to English. Dalbuz’s brightly colored cartoon images are silly fun and will keep youngsters who can’t yet read giggling even if they don’t guess the punchlines. While the majority of the humans featured in the book have pale skin, one young joke teller and another background character are people of color. The animals, particularly the dinosaurs, are far more diverse.

This illustrated collection gives novice joke tellers—and their parents—some excellent puns to draw from.

Pub Date: July 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-692-12425-3

Page Count: 34

Publisher: Time Tunnel Media

Review Posted Online: July 12, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

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With the same delightfully irreverent spirit that he brought to his retelling of "Little Red Riding Hood" (1987), Marshall enlivens another favorite. Although completely retold with his usual pungent wit and contemporary touches ("I don't mind if I do," says Goldilocks, as she tries out porridge, chair, and bed), Marshall retains the stories well-loved pattern, including Goldilocks escaping through the window (whereupon Baby Bear inquires, "Who was that little girl?"). The illustrations are fraught with delicious humor and detail: books that are stacked everywhere around the rather cluttered house, including some used in lieu of a missing leg for Papa Bear's chair; comically exaggerated beds—much too high at the head and the foot; and Baby Bear's wonderfully messy room, which certainly brings the story into the 20th century. Like its predecessor, perfect for several uses, from picture-book hour to beginning reading.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1988

ISBN: 0140563660

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1988

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Vital messages of self-love for darker-skinned children.


On hot summer nights, Amani’s parents permit her to go outside and play in the apartment courtyard, where the breeze is cool and her friends are waiting.

The children jump rope to the sounds of music as it floats through a neighbor’s window, gaze at stars in the night sky, and play hide-and-seek in the moonlight. It is in the moonlight that Amani and her friends are themselves found by the moon, and it illumines the many shades of their skin, which vary from light tan to deep brown. In a world where darkness often evokes ideas of evil or fear, this book is a celebration of things that are dark and beautiful—like a child’s dark skin and the night in which she plays. The lines “Show everyone else how to embrace the night like you. Teach them how to be a night-owning girl like you” are as much an appeal for her to love and appreciate her dark skin as they are the exhortation for Amani to enjoy the night. There is a sense of security that flows throughout this book. The courtyard is safe and homelike. The moon, like an additional parent, seems to be watching the children from the sky. The charming full-bleed illustrations, done in washes of mostly deep blues and greens, make this a wonderful bedtime story.

Vital messages of self-love for darker-skinned children. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: July 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55271-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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