Sponsored Content l November 4, 2022

LOL – The Power of Laughter and How Reading Lets the Joy of Laughter Ring Loud

By: Jeanne Huybrechts, Chief Academic Officer, Stratford School
“A smile starts on the lips, a grin spreads to the eyes, a chuckle comes from the belly; and a good laugh bursts forth from the soul, overflows, and bubbles all around.” — Carolyn Birmingham, author

Is there any sound more wonderful that a child’s laugh? Often when we think about children, we have a vision of fun, play, and laughter.

We all need a laugh right now, so we have compiled our favorite LOL list of books. There are read-aloud books for preschoolers and a variety of stories for readers at all levels – beginning readers to preteens. Some are goofy-silly, others witty and clever, some include gorgeous illustrations, a couple offer relatable life-lessons learned through misadventures or embarrassing moments — and ALL will make the reader laugh out loud.

This Moose Belongs To Me Written and Illustrated by Oliver Jeffers
How can a book that is so beautiful also be so funny? This book has so many quirky moments you will absolutely have to read it twice. We start out with Wilfred, a very organized young boy complete with suspenders and a bow tie, and his pet moose Marcel, who is not always good at following the many constraining rules of being a pet. Through the book, they take a journey to stunningly painted mountain landscapes in which they meet other “owners” of the moose. Wilfred needs to learn not to stifle his new pet’s outgoing personality in order to maintain his part ownership. A great lesson in boundaries, expectations and the value of being open-minded and willingness to adapt in order to solve a problem.

Mina Written and Illustrated by Matthew Forsythe
This Academy Award nominated author/illustrator Matthew Forsythe brings us a silly new book with museum quality artwork. Mina is a bookworm mouse who lives in a beautiful forest with her eccentric father. Dad goes daily into the world, bringing back surprises for Mina, such as rare art (used postage stamps) and a megaphone (a rusty tin can). She’s okay with all of this until he brings a large “squirrel” that looks suspiciously like a cat to live in their tiny home. One visitor then leads to several felines moving in. How Mina and her dad navigate their new guests is hilarious, and becomes even funnier as the cats chase the family up a tree. Mina confronts the three cats and says, “Stop! We shared our home with you! Our food! Our toothpaste! And this is how you repay us? By trying to eat us?” Should Mina have trusted her dad? Will they talk their way out of this mess? Do large praying mantises read the same books as mice? So many questions, such wonderful drawings with which to ponder them.

Grades One and Two
The Leaf Thief Written by Alice Hemming and Illustrated by Nicola Slater
A fast paced, hilarious, and possibly even sneaky way of teaching kids about the changes of the season. Adorably hyper squirrel is upset because his leaves are going missing. Searching all over the forest, accusing his fellow animals of thievery, Squirrel is followed by his best friend Bird. Bird keeps trying to explain why the leaves aren’t staying around. Cute drawings and a very frustrated squirrel keep the laughs coming. Everything is finally making sense, and then, “Bird! Someone has stolen the grass!!!” Sigh, it is called snow. A valuable and concise two-page explanation at the end of the book will help young readers understand seasons. This book is also good for talking to young ones about how to accept change, and how transitions can be scary and frustrating.

Most of us have heard the phrase, “Laughter is good medicine!” When we laugh, physical changes take place that affect our internal organs. As we draw in oxygen-rich air our lungs, heart, and muscles are stimulated. Laughter has been shown to boost our immune system and improve our cognition/understanding of a situation. Humor and laughter are important social skills and can assist children as a stress reliever when challenges present themselves. Laughter is a happy sound; easily understood in every language. It is one early childhood developmental skill that you can easily reinforce and enjoy while you are laughing out loud together!

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