Feed Me Books Friday: You Can’t Teach Funny

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Happy April Fool’s Day!

Knock knock!

Who’s there?


Chicken Who?

Chicken with a bathtub! AH HA HA HA!

If that joke sounds familiar, you’ve probably enjoyed the humor of a preschooler. They are beginning to understand that certain things make people laugh (like jokes) but they don’t yet have a full grasp of exactly why those things are funny. Have you ever tried to explain sarcasm, an idiom, or an oxymoron? Somehow the more explanation is required, the less funny it is! So if you can’t teach funny, then how do they get it? Like so many other important skills, the best way to hone a child’s sense of humor is exposure, experience, and practice! Read funny books together, practice making up jokes (like the gem above), talk about what makes you laugh, and ask why they laugh at the things they do.

Laughter at the Unexpected
Guess Again!
My little guys are pretty young to understand or appreciate April Fool’s Day – though Parenting magazine had a fun list of kid friendly pranks I might pick from… But we did talk about the difference between tricks intended to make someone laugh and tricks intended to make someone laughed at (and why we would avoid the latter). And since we were talking about laughing, we perused the bookshelf for some funny books. B loves silly rhymes, mixed up pictures, and jokes, so it wasn’t hard to find some good examples. The one I decided to share with you was a recent library find: Guess Again, by Mac Barnett. The book employs rhyming, riddle-like clues and illustrations with silhouetted details to lead readers to think they can guess the identity of the item described. Instead, the turn of the page or lift of the flap reveals a cleverly illustrated but totally unexpected answer that is sure to elicit chuckles from listeners. One silhouette featured sitting among rows of carrots possesses “floppy ears [that] are long and funny.” You would guess a bunny? Of course you would, but you’d be wrong. The silhouette is revealed to be a playful Grandpa Ned, doing a headstand with floppy socks hanging down from his toes. Amusement at the absurd or unexpected is one of the earliest cognitive developments toward a sense of humor (think about eliciting baby giggles by putting a shoe on your head). B found Guess Again HILARIOUS and now even though he knows the answers to the riddles, he still enjoys a loud guffaw when he reveals the ridiculous solution.

Appropriate for toddlers, preschoolers, primary grades.

Looking for more April Fool’s fun? Carrie at Reading to Know is hosting some April Fool’s giveaways I’m looking forward to entering!

I’ll also be linking up this weekend at the Ultimate Blog Party at 5 minutes 4 mom. It will be my first time participating – hoping to meet some new bloggy-friends! But of course I am most grateful my faithful Friday link-up pals – looking forward to your posts!


Wonder Mom April 1, 2011 at 7:33 AM  

Oh yes- preschool humor! I think kiddos really start understanding what a "good punchline" is around 1st grade- at least that's when I notice that kiddo joke books are popular on their personal reading lists!

Enjoy those "bad" jokes- they will be gone before you know it! :0(

Brimful Curiosities April 2, 2011 at 6:25 AM  

What an excellent title for April Fools. My daughter tries to tell her own jokes but they rarely make sense and aren't funny. My little guy however is quite a ham and naturally says funny things. I'll be interested to see if its just a toddler skill or one related to his personality.

We will definitely look for this title!

Carrie April 2, 2011 at 6:48 PM  

Thanks for the mention! Hope you are having a great weekend!

Heather@BlessingsPourOut April 5, 2011 at 7:43 PM  

My kids loved this one from GoGoKabongo: What do you call a fly with no wings? A walk!

I will hopefully be back with a link up. My kids read about bees and made a pb and honey sandwiches tutorial.



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