June 22, 2017
(++++) AMUSEMENTS FOR VARIOUS AGES
I Love You, Little Pumpkin. By Sandra Magsamen. Cartwheel Books/Scholastic. $7.99.
Laugh-Out-Loud Ultimate Jokes for Kids. By Rob Elliott. Harper. $10.99.
Laugh-Out-Loud Road Trip Jokes for Kids. By Rob Elliott. Harper. $4.99.
What kids find funny changes a lot as they grow, and books for various ages change dramatically along the way. Sandra Magsamen’s I Love You, Little Pumpkin, originally published in 2010 and now available as a charming flap book, is adorably amusing for the littlest children. There is a big, smiling, plush pumpkin on the front, along with an illustration of a happy black cat – there is certainly a Halloween theme here, although the book can actually be fun anytime. Each left-hand page asks a question that is answered by looking at the facing right-hand page and pulling down a big, easy-to-grasp flap. “Who’s up there giggling, brightening my day?” asks one page. The opposite one shows seven little pumpkins growing in a field as the sun shines down on them. Pull down on the flap from just above the sun, and a boy dressed for trick-or-treat in a “sunshine” costume shows up, with the words, “It’s my little sunshine, smiling away!” Each page is like this – until the final one, cutest of them all, asks, “And whose smiling face is this, so sweet and true?” Here the facing page shows a big pumpkin in a child’s wagon, and pulling the flap down reveals – a mirror! The words are, “It’s my little pumpkin, and I love you!” The sentiment is suitable at any time of year, of course, and the seasonal presentation is especially enjoyable for fall-and-pumpkin lovers.
Rob Elliott’s popular series of joke books is for somewhat older children, but they cannot be too advanced either in age or sense of humor, or they will regard the unending knock-knock jokes, bad puns and silly riddles as groaners rather than sources of enjoyment. Most of these (+++) books are small, inexpensive, easy-to-carry paperbacks, such as Laugh-Out-Loud Road Trip Jokes for Kids. As in all these books, some jokes relate to the supposed overall theme and some do not. This one has a knock-knock with “who’s there?” being “Russian,” because “I’m Russian to pack so I don’t miss my flight!” But it has another with the answer being “Abbott,” because “It’s Abbott time you answered the door!” The question of how a slug crosses the ocean is sort of travel-related (“in a snailboat”), but the one about what happened to the duck at the doctor is certainly not (“it got a clean bill of health”). Families going on really long road trips with kids who enjoy this sort of thing may want to consider going beyond the ordinary Elliott collections to this series’ first-ever hardcover, Laugh-Out-Loud Ultimate Jokes for Kids, which contains all of the “road trip” collection plus all of the “awesome” book. Whether anything here is awesome is a matter of opinion, and a matter of age. “What do you get when paper towels fall asleep? Napkins!” “Why did Cinderella buy a camera? So she could find her prints charming.” “What was Noah’s job in the Bible? Ark-itect.” Each of these books also includes a few simple puzzles, such as mazes and Tic-Tac-Toe, but obviously the jokes are the main course here. Kids who find humor of this type attractive will likely find Laugh-Out-Loud Ultimate Jokes for Kids more fun than the road-trip volume by itself, since, after all, the hardcover book offers a double helping of the material.