March 22, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

On the Radar: Top Picks from the Editors at Junior Library Guild: New Books to Make You L-O-L

Amidst all the stories filled with angst, broken hearts, and vampires, books that make you laugh-out-loud are a welcome respite. This fall offers many selections for young readers that will tickle their funny bones. Be sure to read these aloud. We could all use a good laugh from time to time.

Illus. book cover with little girl and lionBARNETT, MAC. Chloe and the Lion. illus. by Adam Rex. Disney/Hyperion. 2012. ISBN 9781423113348. JLG Level: HE: Humor Elementary (Grades 2-6)

What begins as a tale about a little girl who meets a lion, ends in a power struggle for artistic control. Author and illustrator meet in a pen-to-brush battle each trying to prove who has the most important role in telling a story. When Chloe gets lost in the forest, the author wants her to meet a lion. The illustrator thinks that a dragon would be cooler. With interrupting Claymation panels and bubble speech, the hilarious debate continues until Chloe sees her chance to save the day.

Blue cover with little girl pencil drawingBLACK, Michael Ian. I’m Bored. illus. by Debbie Ridpath Ohi. S & S. 2012. ISBN 9781442414037. JLG Level: P: Primary (Grades K-1)

Kids have great imaginations. Sometimes, though, they get bored. In a moment of frustration, this story’s protagonist has no intention of allowing a potato, of all things, to get away with thinking that kids are not fun. After all, they can turn cartwheels. They can play games. “Kids can do ANYTHING!!!” Ohi’s simple drawings and creative placement of text create a story with visual impact that’s anything but boring.

Small fish wearing a little hat in black oceanKLASSEN, Jon. This Is Not My Hat. Candlewick. 2012. ISBN 9780763655990. JLG Level P: Primary (Grades K-1)

In the long-awaited sequel-of-sorts to I Want My Hat Back (Candlewick, 2011), two things remain the same. There is a hat. It is taken. In a different setting under different circumstances, a hat is missing. The story begins: “This hat is not mine. I just stole it.” He stole it from a big fish. He has lots of excuses: “It was too small for him anyway. It fits me just right.” He expects to get away with it―probably. With plenty of room for suspense, Klassen delivers another solid humorous story for your storytimes. And you don’t have to read the previous title to enjoy this one.

Illustrated cover of canoe in water with shark close byLEVINE, Gail Carson. Forgive Me, I Meant to Do It: False Apology Poems. illus. by Matthew Cordell. HarperCollins. 2012. ISBN 9780061787263. JLG Level: HE: Humor Elementary (Grades 2-6)

Anyone who has ever taken a poetry class knows William Carlos Williams’ poem, “This is Just to Say.” It’s the classic insincere apology. Levine takes characters from fairy tales and childhood rhymes and uses their voices to falsely apologize. “You fell and cracked your skull on the hill/ where I had carefully placed a banana peel/ Forgive me/Jill is now my girlfriend.” She breaks tradition and slips in the introduction about six poems into the book. As if she can read our minds, there is even a poem about the consequences of skipping around to read the poems. Brilliant and marvelously funny!

Illustrated cover with little girl and pug dogVIORST, Judith. Lulu Walks the Dogs. illus. by Lane Smith. S & S/Atheneum. 2012. ISBN 9781442435797. JLG Level: I+: Independent Readers (Grades 2-4)

In this sequel to Lulu and the Brontosaurus (S & S, 2010), Lulu wants something that she will have to “EARN THE MONEY TO GET.” She decides she will walk dogs. Complicating the plot (other than she knows little about her new job) is Fleischman, an overly helpful neighbor boy who seems to know everything about dog walking. Complimenting Viorst’s text are wonderful illustrations by Lane Smith. How could you not laugh? It’s a partnership bound for success.

For ideas about how to use these books and links to supportive sites, check out the Junior Library Guild blog, Shelf Life.

Junior Library Guild is a collection development service that helps school and public libraries acquire the best new children’s and young adult books. Season after season, year after year, Junior Library Guild book selections go on to win awards, collect starred or favorable reviews, and earn industry honors. Visit us at


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Deborah B. Ford About Deborah B. Ford

Deborah is the Director of Library Outreach for Junior Library Guild. She is an award-winning teacher librarian with almost 30 years of experience as a classroom teacher and librarian in K–12 schools.



  1. Karl Bunker says:

    You really know how to make a person want to read these books. Thank you for sharing your insights.