Children's Department Blog

Funniest Picture Books of 2019 (so far)

We are so lucky to have read so many silly picture books this year! Check out a few of our funny favorites here. All are available for checkout from the Cape May County Library system.

Llama Destroys the World by Jonathan Stutzman: “Meet Llama, the next great picture-book megastar, who has most definitely driven a bus and who loves tacos way more than you. He also loves cake, and that's where our story begins. On Monday, Llama discovers a pile of cake, which he promptly eats. On Tuesday, Llama squeezes into his dancing pants, which he promptly rips. The force of the rip creates a black hole (naturally). By Friday, Llama will (indirectly) destroy the world. So grab some cake and your dancing pants and prepare for Llama Destroys the World ... because THE TIME FOR LLAMA IS NIGH!”

Underwear! by Jennifer Harney: “A tired bear dad tries to herd his rambunctious bear cub who would rather play with his tighty whities into bed. Underwear makes great hair. It can even turn one into a superbear, or a goggle-wearing swimming bear. But beware of a big scare! Rhymes, homonyms, and conjunctions abound in this book that could be used to teach reading, but whose primary purpose is to make bedtime fun.”

The Panda Problem by Deborah Underwood: “Every story needs a problem. But Panda doesn't have a problem. Unless . . . Panda is the problem. The New York Times bestselling author of Here Comes the Easter Cat and The Quiet Book loses control of the narrative in the funniest, most exuberant, most kid-delighting way in this adventurous ode to what makes a story--and what makes a story great.”

Cake by Sue Hendra: “In the tradition of I Want My Hat Back, this delicious story from Sue Hendra and Paul Linnet tells the story of a cake who's about to attend his very first party--but he has no idea what's coming! Cake has been invited to his very first birthday party! He buys just the right outfit--including the PERFECT hat. But as the candles on his perfect party hat begin to burn, and the other party guests start to sing, Cake starts to think that this is one party he'd rather not be at…”

Dandy by Ame Dyckman: “From popular author Ame Dyckman and rising star Charles Santoso comes the laugh-out-loud story of a father desperate to destroy the dandelion marring his perfectly manicured lawn, and his daughter's fierce attempts to save it. When Daddy spots a solitary weed in his lawn, he's appalled (along with all of his neighborhood friends). But his daughter Sweetie has fallen in love with the beautiful flower, even going so far as to name it Charlotte. Racing against time and the mockery of his friends, Daddy has to find a way to get rid of the errant dandelion without breaking his little girl's heart.”

Teach Your Giraffe to Ski by Viviane Elbee: “Your giraffe wants to learn how to ski--but but not on the bunny hill. She wants to go down the big scary slope! Enjoy this riotous journey as the narrator tries to reign their giraffe in--and learns something about courage along the way.”

When a Tiger Comes to Dinner by Jessica Olien: “A funny interactive picture book that's great for reading aloud. Perfect for fans of Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus. A tiger is coming to dinner! Are you ready? Luckily, this book can help. Ask yourself, do tigers . . . Like to play a rousing game of Go Fish? Prefer peanut butter and jelly? Enjoy wearing party hats? Whatever you do, be sure to practice your ROAR! for when the tiger arrives!”

Bruno, the Standing Cat by Nadine Robert: “Meet a silly and absurd cat who's like no cat you've ever met before. When a box arrives on Peter's doorstep, he opens it to find Bruno, a cat who is standing up on two legs. It is very odd. Bruno likes to chew bubblegum, play house, and skateboard--and refuses to engage in any catlike behavior. But Peter likes Bruno, and so they become friends and do everything they can think of together. Jean Jullien (illustrator of the picture-book version of John Lennon's song "Imagine") is an emerging picture-book creator who works in a signature thick black line and bold, flat color. His quirky, subversive humor is childlike at its core, and kids will delight in his light and irreverent approach.”

Undercover Ostrich by Joe Kulka: “Animals can be sneaky. But do you know who is especially sneaky? Undercover ostriches! They're everywhere, and they're masters at going undetected. You've probably seen one and just assumed it was another woodpecker or owl. The narrator of this book is on the case, following a single ostrich on his many adventures. Not until the final twist does author and illustrator Joe Kulka let the readers in on the narrator's true motivation: a peanut collection mission involving undercover elephants.”

Where is My Balloon? by Ariel Bernstein: “Owl and Monkey from I Have a Balloon are back! But what happened to Owl's balloon? Find out in this hilarious picture book about making mistakes and finding forgiveness. Owl has a balloon. Monkey has a sock with a star and a perfectly shaped hole. But then Owl asks Monkey to hold his balloon, just for a second. What do you think happens? POP! When Owl returns and asks for his balloon, Monkey offers him everything under the sun...except for the balloon. Can their friendship survive this catastrophe?”

Owls Are Good at Keeping Secrets: An Unusual Alphabet by Sara O’Leary: “Did you know that chipmunks love to stay up past their bedtime? Or that dragons cry at happy endings? I bet you'd never have guessed that iguanas sometimes get homesick at sleepovers. Sara O'Leary pulls back the curtain on the animal world and gives us an absolutely charming little one-line "fact" about one animal for each letter of the alphabet. Kids will love to see their own quirks reflected in these adorably rendered creatures, and perhaps will be comforted to know that--just like them--narwhals can be perfectly happy all on their own and quail also get tired of being told to be quiet. This is more than just an alphabet book. It's a charming, hilarious, and touching look at the diversity of personalities in the world--worth many, many rereads.”

The Good Egg by John Jory: “From the bestselling creators of The Bad Seed, a timely story about not having to be Grade A perfect! Meet the good egg. He's a verrrrrry good egg indeed. But trying to be so good is hard when everyone else is plain ol' rotten. As the other eggs in the dozen behave badly, the good egg starts to crack from all the pressure of feeling like he has to be perfect. So, he decides enough is enough! It's time for him to make a change… Dynamic duo Jory John and Pete Oswald hatch a funny and charming story that reminds us of the importance of balance, self-care, and accepting those who we love (even if they are sometimes a bit rotten). Perfect for reading aloud and shared story time!”

If You Like Display 3

Our library is constantly seeing kids coming in asking for popular titles such as Dog Man, anything by Raina TelgemeierPokemon, and so on. As a result, they fly off the shelves! Here is our new display offering read alikes. To view the PDF, click here!

Read the Rainbow Display

Read the rainbow! Check out our newest display that features a rainbow of book covers. We are very excited to use the endcap to highlight a variety of beloved classics with new favorites. For a printable PDF of this display, click here!

If You Like Display 2

Our library is constantly seeing kids coming in asking for popular titles such as Goosebumps, the Junie B. Jones Series, Wings of Fire, and so on. As a result, they fly off the shelves! Here is our new display offering read alikes. To view the PDF, click here!

If You Like Display

Our library is constantly seeing kids coming in asking for popular titles such as Diary of a Wimpy Kid, the I Survived Series, Harry Potter, and so on. As a result, they fly off the shelves! Here is our new display offering read alikes. To view the PDF, click here!

Pirate & Mermaid Picture Books

Yo ho ho, the library life for us! Check out our favorite mermaid and pirate picture books for your own young seafarer!

Mermaids Fast Asleep by Robin Riding: “Silver mermaids with golden hair go to sleep in the sea, counting fish instead of sheep.”

Kindergarrrten Bus by Mike Ornstein: “After his parrot companion flies away, a rough and tough pirate experiences anxiety on his first day as a school bus driver, echoing some of the concerns expressed by the young students in his care.”

Julian is a Mermaid by Jessica Love: “While riding the subway home from the pool with his abuela one day, Julián notices three women spectacularly dressed up. Their hair billows in brilliant hues, their dresses end in fishtails, and their joy fills the train car. When Julián gets home, daydreaming of the magic he's seen, all he can think about is dressing up just like the ladies in his own fabulous mermaid costume: a butter-yellow curtain for his tail, the fronds of a potted fern for his headdress. But what will Abuela think about the mess he makes -- and even more importantly, what will she think about how Julián sees himself?”

Arrr, Mustache Baby! by Bridget Heos: “Arrr, babies! Mustache Baby and his first mate Beard Baby set sail on the high seas and turn into big bad pirates in this newest addition to the popular Mustache Baby books! In this swashbuckling tale, Mustache Baby and Beard Baby work hard to recover stolen treasure and convince baby buccaneers Captain Kid and Short John Silver to go legit. But when the scallywags refuse to play nice, Billy and Javier see red and go rogue, turning into bad guy pirates themselves. High spirits, plenty of pirate talk, and a mild message about not letting emotions get the best of you make for a rollicking read-aloud full of side-splitting, silly fun.”

Pearl by Molly Idle: “Sometimes the tiniest light can shine the brightest ! Like the other mermaids of the deep, Pearl longs to care for the endless beaches, coral reefs, and towering kelp forests of her vast ocean world. So when her mother asks her to tend to a mere grain of sand, Pearl is heartbroken. It takes all her patience and determination to discover how even the littlest mermaid can transform the world. Caldecott Honor-winning author and artist Molly Idle has masterfully crafted a modern classic in this mesmerizing tale about the immense power of small actions.”

Pirate Chicken: All Hens on Deck by Brian Yanish: “A hilarious picture book about pirate chickens and their feared and feathered leader Redfoot! Lily is no ordinary chicken. She dreams of a life off the farm where she can put her grand plans into action. Her wish is granted when pirates recruit her and her fellow chickens and whisk them away to the open seas. Soon, Lily has taken charge and becomes captain of an all-chicken crew. But when Lily faces a mutiny,will she change her ways, or be forced to squawk the plank?”

Mermaid School by JoAnne Wetzel:

Starting school is always exciting... especially when you're a mermaid! From schools of fish to the A B Seas, this whimsical underwater tale puts a fun twist on what to expect on the first day of school. It's Molly's first day at mermaid school, and there's so much to learn! Follow the mermaids as they count clamshells, recite the A B Seas, and make new friends. They even enjoy story time about children who walk on land! At the end of the day, it's time to sing the goodbye song and head home. With sweet, rhyming language and a peek into a fantastical undersea world, Mermaid School touches on all the major moments children will experience on their first day. And don't miss the mermaid school handbook in the back of this book for more mermaid fun!”

Pirate Stew by Lou Carter: “A quick-witted shrimp saves his friends from the pirates' cooking pot in this comical undersea caper about friendship, tolerance ...and CLEANING! Scrubadub the Shrimp LOVES to clean. He polishes the crabs, trims the reeds, shampoos the fish and grooms the frogs, until all his friends have had ENOUGH. But when the seafood friends are scooped from the sea by hungry pirates, only Scrubadub can save them from the stew pot ...using his super cleaning powers!”

How to Catch a Mermaid by Adam Wallace: “Many claim to have caught a mermaid, but can YOU? How do you catch a mermaid? You must be very clever. With mirrors, crowns, and pearls galore, this quest can't last forever!”

No Bath, No Cake: Polly’s Pirate Party by Matthias Weinert: “Ay, a pirates' life is dangerous n' dirty life! But when this motley crew gets an invitation to a little girl's birthday party, they're simply delighted. What could be better than cake? Just as they're about to walk the plank, their piratey parrot tells them--as only a parrot or a mother could--that they need to clean up their act. With a scrub-a-dub-dub, brand new clothes, and a doll for the birthday girl, the 'pirates' show up sparkling and clean. But they're in for a big surprise. What the birthday girl wants most of all are real pirates--black feet, messy hair, stinky clothes and all.”

The Mermaid by Jan Brett: “When Kiniro, a young mermaid, comes upon a gorgeous house made of seashells and coral, she is so curious that she goes inside. She's thrilled to find a just-right breakfast, pretty little chair, and, best of all, a comfy bed that rocks in the current. But when the Octopus family returns home, they are not happy to find that someone has been eating their food and breaking their things. Baby has the biggest shock when she finds the mermaid asleep in her bed! Luckily, shock turns to happiness when Kiniro gives her a thoughtful gift before escaping from the twenty-four arms coming her way. Vibrant, intricate scenes of an underwater paradise transport this classic fairy tale to a magical setting inspired by the seas off the coast of Okinawa, Japan. Along with fun details that enrich the storytelling in Jan Brett's trademark borders, this visual treat will enchant readers of all ages.”

A Pirate Alphabet: The ABC’s of Piracy! by Anna Butzer: “Take young pirate fans on an alphabet adventure! They'll love learning about gangways and quartermasters while practising their pirate lingo. Whimsical illustrations and melodic text create an arrr-esistable early-learning experience.”

Potty Power: Potty Training Books for Boys & Girls

Potty training can be a stressful time for everyone - the new potty-user included. Check out some of our favorite toilet-themed titles to help your little one feel the potty power!

How to Potty Train Your Monster by DiPucchio: “Congratulations! Your monster is growing up…and up…and UP! Now it’s time to potty train him! Potty training is not always the easiest task to navigate—especially for growing monsters. Thankfully, with the help of this easy-to-use guide, young ones can be sure not to forget any steps in the process. With hilarious text and playful, energetic illustrations this potty training guide is a must-have for little kids and little monsters everywhere.”

Duck Goes Potty by Dahl: “Little Duck learns to go potty all by himself, but not without a few accidents. This lighthearted board book makes potty training a little more fun. A must have for all new parents!”

Don’t Go There! by Willis: “Lid up, pants down, bottom on the seat! They must not have toilets in outer space, because this baby Martian keeps going in the wrong place: a bird bath, a bin, an upturned hat. Perhaps if he masters "The Toilet Song," he might learn where to go!”

Skip to the Loo!: A Potty Book by Lloyd-Jones: “Everyone is invited to celebrate -- from a lonely dodo to a wibbly woo, from Lord and Lady Huff Puff to an elephant in a tutu. But when the party is in full swing and everyone's on their potty, Bunny sees that someone very important is missing. Who could it be?”

Once Upon a Potty by Frankel: “This is THE potty training book. It has it all, bright graphics, simple language, fun story and an anatomically correct hero. With an edition for each gender, the book relates directly to the child, making the potty-training process relatable and easy to understand.”

Pottytime for Chickies by Trasler: “Learning to go potty is tricky for the Chickies! This lovable, heartwarming series makes a great gift for any new family. Experience all of the big parenting milestones with the Chickies. With engaging rhymes, endearing illustrations, and a soft padded cover, these books are perfect for babies and toddlers to enjoy.”

Potty Animals: What to Know When You’ve Got to Go! by Vestergaard: “Meet Wilbur, who won't wash his hands after going potty. Wilma, who waits too long...and sometimes doesn't make it in time. And Freddie, who's afraid to flush. These are just a few of the preschool animals who need a little help with their bathroom etiquette! With wit and good humor, Hope Vestergaard presents a unique "toilet basics" guide for toddlers. It covers everything from lifting the seat and closing the door to planning ahead when you're on a trip. All told in cheerful rhyme, with hilarious illustrations, it's a fun way to handle a serious subject.”

Danny is Done with Diapers: a Potty ABC by O’Connell: “Adam avoids accidents. Brianna is busy in the bathroom. Caleb is comfy and clean! Danny and his friends know twenty-six ways to be done with diapers. Rebecca O'Connell's fun, familiar examples and Amanda Gulliver's bright, cheery art help kids practice their potty knowledge and learn their letters, too!”

I Use the Potty by Van Lieshout: “Babies wear diapers. Do big kids? No! Big kids use the potty! Every child's life is filled with milestones. Some happen easily; others need a little extra support. Artist and mom Maria van Lieshout has been there. Drawing upon her own experiences, she has created an engaging series of books that are just right for children on the brink of major changes and the caregivers who encourage them.”

Poop or Get Off the Potty! by McNamara: “When Mason and Mia were babies, they pooped a lot--always in their diapers. Now that they're big kids, it's time to use the potty. But what is the potty for? Naps? NO. Books? NO. Playing the drums? No, no, no! Mason and Mia look ahead to official big-kid territory in Poop or Get off the Potty!, this hilarious, instructive story from with special emphasis on that momentous toddler milestone: pooping in the potty!”

Dinosaur vs. the Potty by Shea: “Dinosaur doesn't need to use the potty. Even when he's making lemonade, running through the sprinkler, having a three-juice-box lunch, and splashing in rain puddles. See? He's doing his victory dance. Wait . . . that's not a victory dance-it looks like a POTTY DANCE! Run, Dinosaur, run! Can he make it in time? Potty wins! Close one, Dinosaur. Real, real close.”

Goldilocks and the Just Right Potty by Hodgkinson: “Little Goldilocks wants to wear big-girl underwear that's not too silly and not too frilly, but just right. But that means she also needs to find the "just right" potty. Will she know when she needs to go? And will she get to the potty in time? Find out in this light hearted story that will have parents and their little ones feeling ready to tackle toilet training.”

Garden Sensory Bin

We had so much fun at garden storytime last week! We had even more fun digging in our “garden” for this week’s sensory activity.

 

Creating this sensory activity was incredibly simple and can be done with simple items from around the house or classroom. Our main ingredient was black beans; ACME had an incredible sale - buy one get two free! Then, we added in our bugs - specifically, this set from Oriental Trading: https://www.orientaltrading.com/small-bugs-a2-16_1069.fltr 

 

Several years ago, we hosted a lua and had a large number of leis left over. These were great to cut and use as the flowers. Additionally, we used the Ellison to cut more shapes, including bugs and flowers in various colors from foam. After that, we grabbed some shovels and went to town! Enjoy making and playing with your sensory bin!

 

Picture Books with Diverse Protagonists

Here are some of our favorite picture books featuring diverse protagonists! All titles are available for checkout from the Cape May County Library.

 

The Very Last Castle by Travis Jonker: “Ibb, curious about the lone castle in her town, forms a long-distant friendship with the guard and, despite warnings there is something fearful inside, accepts his invitation to enter.” From the very first page, readers will support Ibb in her quest - and learn an important lesson about welcoming others in the process.

Tomorrow Most Likely by Dave Eggers: “Told in rhyme, a little boy, tucked into his bed, thinks of all the wonderful and ordinary things he will see and do tomorrow.” The narrator’s imagination is both beautifully written and illustrated - readers will quickly be dreaming of a day just like his!Thank You, Omu! by Oge Mora: “When the aroma of Omu's homemade stew fills the air, her neighbors arrive, one by one, for a taste until all is gone except for her generous spirit.” This Caldecott-winning title will inspire readers of all ages to share and be their best selves.

How to Give Your Cat a Bath in Five Easy Steps by Nicola Winstanley: “A little girl and her cat make an escalating mess while respectively trying to follow and resist the cat-bathing instructions of a bossy narrator.” Trying to follow the five steps, readers will be howling with laughter!

Under My Hijab by Hena Khan: “As a young girl observes that each of six women in her life wears her hijab and hair in a different way, she considers how to express her own style one day.” A beautifully illustrated book, children of all belief systems will appreciate this celebration of differences and female empowerment.

Two Problems for Sophia by Jim Averbeck: “Sophia is happy to have Noodle, her One True Desire, yet her new pet comes with two giraffe-sized problems.” Readers will love helping Sophia find the solutions to her newest pet problems!

Hip-Hop Lollipop by Susan McElroy Montanari: “Follow a little girl as she moves, swings, and grooves her way through her bedtime routine, dancing all the while, until she finally closes her eyes and dances through her dreams." Move and groove all the way to bed with this fun title!

Lights, Camera, Carmen by Anika Denise: “In pursuit of a film career, Carmen enters a commercial contest and enlists her little brother, Eduardo, as her cinematographer, but her plan takes a surprising turn.” Kids with big dreams will be inspired by Carmen’s dedication and ambition as she marches to the beat of her own drum.

Off & Away by Cale Atkinson: “Jo fears what lives in the ocean but when her father is too ill to deliver messages in bottles, she courageously takes on the job, making new friends along the way.” After reading, kids will feel empowered and emboldened to face their own fears. Like Jo, they’ll learn that maybe they’re not so scary after all.

Kitten and the Night Watchman by John Sullivan: “As he makes his rounds, a night watchman hears birds calling, insects buzzing, and vehicles roaring by, while a stray kitten keeps him company.” This one checks all the boxes - construction site, nightly rounds, and an adorable furry companion.

Loretta’s Gift by Pat Zietlow Miller: “Loretta tries hard to come up with the perfect gift for her beloved baby cousin, Gabe, but on his first birthday she learns she has already given him something special.” Miller presents a lovely perspective on self-esteem and family in this relatable work.When the Cousins Came by Katie Yamasaki: “Even though Lila's cousins do some things differently, Lila loves when they come to visit.” A wonderful acknowledgement and celebration of differences, even between family members.

 

 

Books for Beginning Readers

Beginning to read on one’s own is an exciting time! Check out our favorite books for beginning readers, including both fiction & nonfiction. All titles are available from the Cape May County Library system.

 

Fly Guy Series by Arnold ♦ When Buzz captures a fly to enter in The Amazing Pet Show, his parents and the judges tell him that a fly cannot be a pet, but Fly Guy proves them wrong.

Bob Books Set 1: Beginning Readers by Maslen ♦ Stories and pictures to make learning alphabet sounds enjoyable.

Biscuit Series by Capucilli ♦ Visit the world with Biscuit, a little yellow puppy who always wants one more hug!

Good Dog by Doerrfeld When a puppy in need of a friend follows a kind girl into town, he lands himself into all sorts of trouble. When the pup and the girl reunite in the park, the puppy has a chance to prove just what a good dog he really is!

Up, Tall, and High by Long ♦ Through illustrations and simple text, birds demonstrate the meanings of the words up, tall, and high.

I Like My Car by Robertson  ♦ Animals show how much they love their cars, of all different colors, while driving, caring for them, and even hugging them.

First Little Readers: Guided Reading Level A by Schecter ♦ A big collection of just-right leveled books for beginning readers; includes 20 books.

What Will Fat Cat Sit On? by Thomas ♦ A group of animals is terrified at the prospect of being sat upon by the imposing Fat Cat,

until the mouse comes up with a solution that satisfies everyone.

What This Story Needs Series by Virjan ♦ Illustrations and rhyming, easy-to-read text introduce an increasing, then decreasing, cast of characters sharing a boat in a moat with a pig in an enormous wig.

Elephant and Piggie Series by Willems ♦ Join in the fun with Elephant and Piggie! Elephant, whose name is Gerald, tends to be cautious and pessimistic while his best friend, Piggie, is quite different.

My First Soccer Game by Capucilli ♦ Emergent readers who are interested in soccer will enjoy this introduction to the game.

Play Kitty by Evans ♦ A few words per page paired with adorable images make this title perfect for any cat lover.

Ranger Rick Series: I Wish I Was a Polar Bear by Bove ♦ Simple sentences for new readers who love to read about animals.

Swim, Fish!: Explore the Coral Reef by Neuman One sentence per page, and captivating images make this title perfect for new readers interested in the ocean.

Team Batman by Davies ♦ Large type and simple sentences make this title perfect for any Batman enthusiast.

What is a Droid? by Stock ♦ Star Wars fans will love this easy to read book packed with facts about droids.

At the Beach by Evans ♦ One simple sentence per page and eye catching images make this title a good match for kids who are ready to begin reading.

 

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