something funny is going on here…

Feeling frazzled? Kids got the grumpies? Laughter is good medicine. Check out these wacky stories that’ll raise a smile even on a not-so-hot day.

Life on Mars, written and illustrated by Jon Agee
published in 2017 by Dial Books for Young Readers

Jon Agee is one of the best comedic writers for children. His dry, understated wit and slightly surreal illustration style signal immediately that we’re in for an off-kilter adventure.

Blast off to Mars with an intrepid astronaut bent on discovering life on that stark planet. He’s even brought a box of chocolate cupcakes as a peace offering to the aliens.

The search turns up nothing except one cheery yellow flower…at least, that’s what our astronaut thinks! Kids will be beside themselves with glee as they witness the blissful obliviousness of Our Hero! Out-of-this-world fun for ages 3 and up.

Bob, not Bob!, written by Liz Garton Scanlon and Audrey Vernick, illustrated by Matthew Cordell
published in 2017 by Disney Hyperion

First book I’ve ever seen with the directive: To be read as though you have the worst cold ever. Brilliant!

Get that “stuffed-ub dose” sound going to read this silly story of a kid with a dog named Bob, a nasty head cold,  and an exasperatingly difficult time making himself understood!

All Louie wants is his mother, but when his cold makes “Mom” sound like “Bob” he gets slobbery kisses and giant paws instead! I had my daughter give this a test run with some babysitting charges ages 5-9 to be sure they caught the humor of these interchanges and she received all thumbs enthusiastically up! Matthew Cordell’s out-of-control figures are perfect here. As Bilbo Baggins would say: Thag you very buch.

Margarash, written by Mark Riddle, illustrated by Tim Miller
published in 2016 by Enchanted Lion Books

Collin is a coin collector whose favorite spot to discover the odd bit of change is deep inside the sofa.

We all know that entire civilizations lurk amongst the springs and inky recesses of our couches, feeding off of stray popcorn kernels, Cheez-Its, and pencils stubs.

Well! Now you can meet the Margarash himself! A dangerous and toothy monster who does, indeed, live in the subterranean sofa world and does not appreciate one tiddly bit his collection being pilfered by grasping hands from above! With a yank and a growl, Collin becomes a prisoner of the Margarash. Can he outwit him and regain his freedom?

Find out in this wacky, roaring romp for brave children ages 4 and up.

The Chupacabra Ate the Candelabra, written by Marc Tyler Nobleman, illustrated by Ana Aranda
published in 2017 by Nancy Paulsen Books, Penguin Random House

Psychedelic color blasts off the pages from cover to endpapers and straight on through this wild tale starring the legendary, sharp-toothed, and seriously hungry chupacabra!

Three goat siblings, Bumsie, Jayna, and Pep, live in the same neighborhood as that scary fellow so they’ve got to have A Plan for Survival. With Jayna as their mostly-fearless leader, they attempt to stave off the monster’s hunger with less-than-stellar results. Just what is it that chupacabra’s most like to eat? Is it….goats?! Or might there be some alternative that would satisfy his fierce appetite?

Hilarious dialogue and sparkling personalities drive this careening story to a most satisfying finale. A treat for ages 4 and up.

The Prince and the Porker, written by Peter Bently, illustrated by David Roberts
originally published in the UK in 2015; this edition 2017 by Abrams Books for Young Readers

Finally, this boisterous riff on Mark Twain’s classic The Prince and the Pauper. This time, rather than a street urchin, the prince’s replacement is a plump pink pig with a prodigious appetite!

When Pignatius discovers all the scrummy treats in the palace, plus finds that with the proper wig and accoutrements he’s a dead ringer for the genuine prince — he can’t wait to tuck in and gobble up every jelly trifle and figgy pudding the king’s kitchen can conjure.

When the prince discovers the imposter, he happily agrees to the switcheroo! What’s in it for him? Brilliant, rhythmic storytelling and delicious illustration work by two of Britain’s best. Guaranteed to please ages 3 and up.