Bookishness, Mamaishness, Teacherishness

New to me.

Munchkin #1 is getting old enough to be quite a bit of fun at the library. We get to discuss why we don’t really need to check out books that we already own, and sometimes she pulls pretty nifty choices off the shelves.  About two months ago, she discovered this book:

I’d never heard of it, but figured it couldn’t hurt to give it a whirl.  It’s now on my short list of hilarious books for preschoolers.  The author/illustrator – Arthur Howard – is more well-known for illustrating Cynthia Rylant’s Mr. Putter and Tabby series.  Truth be told, though, I like this book MUCH better.  It’s a light hearted look at the trials and tribulations of Sydney, a New York City apartment dweller, who is struggling with some difficult upstairs neighbors.  She bares her soul to her downtown cousin Spike, and the problems are solved with quite a bit of wit.  I don’t want to spoil it for you, but it’s genuinely quite funny for children and there are a few bits of wordplay that adults will find kicky, too.

Once I discovered my new BFF Arthur, I found out that our local library also has this on the shelves:

Similarly cheeky to The Hubbub Above, this little gem finds us cheering for a free spirited prince born to very, very serious parents.  Prince Ernest wants to be a jester, much to his parents’ chagrin.  First, though, he finds himself tangled up with a three-headed dragon.  It’s a sweet story, and once again Arthur Howard has found a way to be funny to both kids and adults.  There are a couple of good jokes semi-hidden in the illustrations, too.  While Serious Trouble will never win a Pulitzer, it’s definitely worth your time.

Sometimes I worry that to be taken seriously, modern children’s literature must be dark, depressing, or at least way too somber.  Kids deserve to read well-written funny writing, and both of these are excellent choices to do just that.