Friday, August 26, 2022

'Zany Picture Books' - a bookwrap



photography by Seana Williamson

13 Zany Picture Books That Break the Fourth Wall

by Iva-Marie Palmer

Iva-Marie Palmer lives with her family in a book-laden house just outside Los Angeles. She is the author of two YA novels, The End of the World As We Know It and The Summers. She doesn't need to write a letter of advice to her 9-year-old self because that 9-year-old had already discovered the works of Judy Blume.


We all want a book that speaks to us, but for little readers, a book that literally speaks to them is one they won’t forget. These picture books break through the fourth wall and bring kids (and the adults reading to them) into the story. Some offer participatory calls to action, and others reach across the page through a character or two who can’t resist addressing the audience directly. Show your little reader how easy it is to get lost in storytime with these delightful, unconventional reads.

There's a Unicorn in Your Book

by Tom Fletcher, illustrated by Greg Abbott

Dust off your finger wand because you’ll need it when you read this adorable and insightful story about a unicorn and a worry gremlin. You’ll use your magical abilities to listen to the unicorn’s concerns and banish the gremlin from the pages. If you enjoy this story, check out the rest of the series.

The Wall in the Middle of the Book

by Jon Agee

A knight is convinced that somewhere beyond the page — somewhere where readers live — is treacherous territory. But as the dangers on his side of the page grow near, he finds he has no choice but to call across the wall for some much-needed assistance.

The Serious Goose

by Jimmy Kimmel

This hilarious book from late-night host Jimmy Kimmel challenges readers not to laugh while they make serious faces in a mylar mirror. Readers of all ages will be in stitches as they try (unsuccessfully) to keep a straight face.

The Panda Problem

by Deborah Underwood, illustrated by Hannah Marks

Every story needs a problem to solve, but Panda has no problems. (The life of a panda, it turns out, is fairly problem-free.) But what if Panda is the problem? Underwood delivers a perfectly out-of-control story featuring a main character kids will treasure.

Counting to Bananas

by Carrie Tillotson, illustrated by Estrela Lourenço

Kids will love this mostly rhyming counting book where the main character refuses to cooperate with the reader. As you count fruit, animals, and other objects, a banana gets increasingly frustrated with the story. This hilarious book is perfect for kids who will enjoy a wacky twist on the traditional counting book.

High Five

by Adam Rubin, illustrated by Daniel Salmieri

The creators of Dragons Love Tacos are back with a fun and interactive new picture book all about the art of hand-slapping. Kids and adults alike will love giving this fun and interactive book one high five after another!

I Don't Want to Read This Book

by Max Greenfield, illustrated by Mike Lowery

Reluctant readers and avid readers alike will giggle through this hilarious picture book from actor Max Greenfield (from the television show New Girl). The narrator spends the entire book listing reasons they don’t want to read it. Doodle-style illustrations and laugh-out-loud humor will keep young readers turning pages to discover what happens.

Snappsy the Alligator (Did Not Ask to Be in This Book)

by Julie Falatko, illustrated by Tim J. Miller

What to do when you’re in a book that you never planned on appearing in? If you’re Snappsy, you hope to get on with your day as planned. Too bad the pesky narrator can’t seem to stop wondering if Snappsy’s up to something secret. Falatko’s hilarious main character also stars (albeit begrudgingly) in a second adventure, Snappsy the Alligator and His Best Friend Forever (Probably).

Tell Me a Lion Story

by Kara Kramer

Get ready for a wacky bedtime story that breaks the fourth wall. A boy and his dad can’t agree on a bedtime story, and they need you to fill in the blanks. As you and your child put your zany twist on the story, this will inevitably result in plenty of laughter.

The Book with No Pictures

by B. J. Novak

As promised, this bestseller from The Office’s Novak has no pictures, but it’s certainly colorful. As it warns the reader from the beginning, he or she HAS to read aloud each page — and what follows is a prescription for silliness. The reader — whether a willing child or an unsuspecting adult — is compelled to sing, make strange noises, and otherwise be extra goofy, and no one will mind (or miss the pictures) one bit.

Have You Seen This Book?

by Angela DiTerlizzi, illustrated by Tom Booth

A young boy’s book got stolen, and he needs your help to find it. But as he describes the book, you soon discover that you are the thief! This wildly entertaining book will have kids asking to read it again and again.

This Book Will Not Be Fun

by Cirocco Dunlap, illustrated by Olivier Tallec

Children are introduced to a highly serious mouse at the start of this book, which promises to be no fun at all. But as the mouse assures readers there’s no time for all that, his uptight ways are challenged by outlandish occurrences and mixed-up new acquaintances, resulting in plenty of fun, indeed.

Beginning readers will enjoy challenging the Book-It Bunny to a reading race in this book from a Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor-winning creator. Check out the author’s other books, including I Will Race You Through This Book and A Unicorn, a Dinosaur, and a Shark Walk into a Book for more zany reading adventures that break the fourth wall.

* Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in 2018 and updated in 2022.


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