Little Skink's Tail, by Janet Halfmann
Sylvan Dell Publishing, 2007
ages 3 - 6
The Hippo-NOT-amus, by Tony Payne
Orchard Books, 2004
ages 3 - 7
I love picture books that are silly, but also ask kids and grownups to think about deeper things. Here are two picture books that show animals trying on different tails, horns, ears - but really, they're asking, "Who Am I?" What sort of animal - or kid - do I want to be? Both books are definitely silly and had my kids giggling aloud.
Little Skink's Tail shows how a skink (a type of lizard) can snap off its tail when it's threatened by a hungry crow. "Wiggle, waggle, wiggle, went the tail, wriggling wildly through the fallen leaves." The crow then chases the bright blue tail, letting the little skink run to safety. But what is the skink to do, without its beautiful tail? Maybe she should grow a squirrel's tail? But it's too bushy? What about an owl's tail? A lizard with feathers? No! Sure enough, by the end, her own skink tail had grown back and she can go back to sunning on the rock. It's a simple book, but will engage young listeners and readers (ages 3 - 6). Find it here: Amazon.
Portly, the young hippo in The Hippo-NOT-amus, was tired of eating boring grass and wading in water all day. He decided to search throughout the land for what kind of animal he would really like to be. He meets a rhino and decides that horns would be just the perfect things to have, so he makes two horns from sharpened wood and ties them to his nose. But no matter what he did, they didn't look right! By the end of the story, he's a "hippo-gir-ele-bat-onoceros" who is very, very hungry for boring old grass. The illustrations are colorful and whimsical - sure to bring giggles from little ones who enjoy the absurd situations that Portly gets himself into (ages 3 - 7). Find it here: Oakland Public Library and the Berkeley Public Library.