If comedy can get kids to books, then hallelujah! These new picture books will send them off to laugh land and tickle adults’ funny bones, too.

The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors

By Drew Daywalt; illustrated by Adam Rex; Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins; 32 pages; $17.99

The creators of The Day the Crayons Quit return with The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors, a bombastically hilarious battle tale that begins, “Long ago, in an ancient and distant realm called the Kingdom of Backyard there lived a warrior named Rock.”

Rock first screams at a clothespin, “Drop that underwear and battle me, you ridiculous wooden clip-man!” who replies, “I will pinch you and make you cray, rock warrior!”

Rock wins and then duels with an apricot, who he taunts saying, “You, sir, look like a fuzzy little butt.”

Soon, “in the empire of Mom’s home office,” we meet Paper, who defeats “giant box-monster” by causing a paper jam, while “in the tiny village of Junk Drawer, Scissors is fighting strange and sticky circle man known as Tape.”

The battles ensue in “Two-Car Garage” where Rock defeats Scissors. But then, Paper, sliding in innocently with a “Hi There,” covers Rock until Scissors surprisingly gets back into the mix.

Incredibly witty, sarcastic and side-splittingly funny, The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors is one of the more entertaining books I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading.

Are You a Monkey? A Tale of Animal Charades

By Marine Rivoal; Phaidon Press; 40 pages; $16.95

The first children’s book to feature animal charades, Are You a Monkey? A Tale of Animal Charades, Marine Rivoal’s playful read-aloud is incredibly appealing, with colorful tropical illustrations, and an invitation to mimic animals and learn about empathy and friendship.

Most of all, this book will entice giggles and guffaws as preschoolers puff up their feathers and manes, and act like toucans and lions and crocodiles.

The guesses from the animals are filled with humor — when Parrot spreads her feathers wide, Toucan guesses she’s a pineapple. When Crocodile bends himself upside down, Toucan thinks he’s a carrot. Toucan even thinks Ostrich is a cucumber when she arches her neck backward to try to be an elephant.

With animal-characteristic guessing games, creative text, cool retro Pantone artwork and tons of humor — especially from Toucan — Rivoal’s creative book is highly endearing.

Stack the Cats

By Susie Ghahremani; Abrams Appleseed; 32 pages; $14.95

Stack the Cats, Susie Ghahremani’s creative concept book, though at first glance a counting book, is a quirky fun book that happens to be filled with cheeky cats and subtle math.

As the designer of the gift brand Boygirlparty, Ghahremani’s whimsical, adorable cats teeter and totter, yawn, stretch and then stack up in more combinations, prompting kids to count and even multiply.

“Nine cats agree to three, three and three,” but 10 seem too many, so one cat sleeps; two cats climb up a cat tree; two more hide; and so on.

The funniest thing about this super cool little book? The droll, slightly interested facial expressions of the many kinds of cats when they tumble, nap, hide and stack on top of one another. And the colorful artwork is appealingly vivid.

Georgie’s Best Bad Day

By Ruth Chan; MacMillan Publishing; 36 pages; $17.99

What seems like a sad sack group of pet friends having a bad day at first ends up in hilarity and laughter. Georgie’s Best Bad Day, Ruth Chan’s flowing tale, begins when Georgie the cat literally wakes up on the wrong side of the bed — on the floor. She slips on a banana peel, and then rounds up her friends, who are also having bad days, to make some pickles.

“But pickles take forever, and they wanted to feel better now,” one character says, so they go out to garden, and they fail. Knitting results in tying themselves together, and cake making is a messy disaster.

Things can’t seem to get worse when the pickle jar becomes stuck on Georgie’s head, which turns out to be so funny the friends make a picnic with the messy blanket, food and pickles, and go to sleep dreaming of the next bad day.

Funny faces and mishaps should make kids chuckle and think about the power of laughing at mistakes.

— Lee Littlewood writes the Kids’ Home Library column for Creators. The San Diego wife and mom’s pure love of children’s literature helps her stay interested in words and pictures meant for tots to teens. Click here to contact her, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

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