I love a good silly story (big fan of alliteration, too, but I digress). During my past lives as a Preschool Teacher and Children’s Librarian, I amassed some favorites that always entertained the crowds. Here are some of my favorite seriously silly stories – silly story voices optional, but highly recommended.
Chicken Cheeks by Michael Ian Black – You may recognize Mr. Black from watching him in The State, various iterations of Wet Hot American Summer and the short-lived Stella. As it happens, the crazy coot writes, too. Besides several tomes for adults, he has also created several sweet stories for children. Chicken Cheeks happens to be my favorite because it is so, well, cheeky. This book has simple (but clever) text, and silly voices are not required to make the book better, making it an easy read for those not comfortable performing for others.
The Book With No Pictures by B. J. Novak – another actor turned writer, The Book With No Pictures allows the reader to get extra silly with their presentation. Where the story lacks traditional illustrations, it makes up for with fun use of font (yes, font can be fun). Silly voices are a MUST in order to allow this story to live up to its magnificent potential. This is not a time to be shy or embarrassed – whip out that freak flag and let your silly rip it up for this truly ridonculous book.
Moo! by David LaRochelle – from a book with no pictures to a book with (almost) no words. A former school teacher, David LaRochelle eventually turned his passion for art and words into his award winning full-time job. The story’s questionable behavior is relatable, as is deferring the blame! The words can be memorized in one reading…working on the inflection may take a second perusal.
Barnyard Dance! by Sandra Boynton – it is difficult to choose my favorite Sandra Boynton book, so I decided to go with the one that introduced me to her greatness. Yes, her books come packaged for those in the teething age bracket, but they are entertaining for all ages. An added bonus is that her pictures are just as good as her stories. Feel like jazzing things up a bit? She writes songs, too, often featuring famous artists such as Meryl Streep, The Bacon Brothers and Neil Sedaka. The collection Dog Train is my favorite (a duet with Weird Al and Kate Winslet, anyone?).
The Monster at the end of this Book – anyone else remember this sweet tale? It is timeless, as things from Sesame Street generally are. Lovable, Furry Old Grover lives up to his name as he desperately fumbles to stop this tale. A silly story that is also good to cuddle up with.
Once Upon a Cool Motorcycle Dude by Kevin O’Malley – Kevin O’Malley, a prolific author and illustrator, has created a fun interaction between two classmates with very different ideas of a great story. Pairing the opposing sides with illustrations by both Carol Heyer and Scott Goto (along with O’Malley’s own pictures) makes the story extra fun. Read this book emphatically with different voices for each character, and it will not disappoint.
Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! by Mo Willems – another author whose greatness I had to boil down to my first encounter. A former Sesame Street writer, Mo Willems really has a knack for knowing what kids like. In this case, it is a sassy pigeon that kids get to talk back to. If you do not have an all out freak-out towards the end of your narration, then you are doing a disservice to the story, the author and everyone listening, and you should be ashamed of yourself.
It does not matter if you wish to be an entertainment hero at a holiday event, or are planning your gift giving list, these seriously silly stories are sure to be a hit…speaking from experience.