What Makes Little Kids Laugh? Bookends Rules of Humor #1

BookendsLynn and Cindy: To help celebrate Booklist‘s first-ever Spotlight on Humor, we thought we’d examine this fundamental question: what makes little kids laugh? We’re not researchers, but we are veterans of years and years of reading to children and watching their reactions to picture books. Hundreds of picture books have passed through our hands, and as their stories and images have been absorbed by the ears and eyes of children we have gradually formulated the Bookends Rules of Humor. Over the next few weeks, we are going to reveal our Rules, illustrated with hilarious examples. Ready . . . set . . . laugh!

Rule #1: Kids Love Slapstick

Dinosaur Kisses by David Ezra SteinCrashes and smashes, whomping and stomping, pratfalls and household disasters. Every since Humpty Dumpty fell off his wall, children have been laughing at crazy mishaps. Remember the master of hilarious car crashes, Richard Scarry whose Cars and Trucks and Things That Go (1974) brought the mustard truck, the egg truck, the banana truck and more together in a two-page wide crash and sold a zillion books to enthusiastic readers? Here are two wonderfully funny more recent examples.

Dinosaur Kisses, by David Ezra Stein

A favorite of the Focus Group, this story of a little dinosaur who doesn’t know the meaning of the word gently is a boisterous treat.

Bobby Bramble Loses His Brain by Dave KeaneBobby Bramble Loses His Brain, by Dave Keane

Bobby Bramble likes nothing better than to “give gravity a run for its money,” and everyone is sure he will crack open his brain. Of course, he does, much to the delight of young readers.



About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

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