Tom Lichtenheld

Tom Lichtenheld books are really unique examples of engaging, thought-provoking, and downright silly children’s literature. Many of his books rely on hilarious word play, while others take emotions to the extreme. No matter if there’s a lesson to be learned or it’s just a silly topic, each one brings joy to readers. Expertly illustrated, these are classics in the making.

Tom Lichtenheld Books List

e-mergency! E-mergency!: Uh-oh, there’s a problem – an E-mergency even! The poor letter “E” has taken a tumble down the stairs and is resting in the hospital. The only way for her to heal completely is to take some time off, but who can substitute for her? The other letters had better come up with something, and fast! They realize that Z is too darn tired, while P is always in the wash room. Y is always asking questions…who can save the day? Kids who love children’s books full of puns and verbal play will love this hilarious tale with a happy ending.
zero the hero Zero the Hero: The other numbers don’t think much of Zero. In fact, that think he’s just what his name implies – nothing at all. When they use addition add up numbers, he doesn’t change anything. He can’t be used in division. As far as multiplication goes…can you say, “Poof!”? No matter what the other numbers think, Zero knows he’s actually worth quite a lot! When the Roman numerals come in to kidnap the other numbers, Zero is finally able to show them what he’s worth. As with most Tom Lichtenheld books, Zero the Hero is both entertaining and educational.
goodnight, goodnight, construction site Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site: This is a perfect book for little construction lovers, but boys and girls of interests will love it as well. It follows the story of a crew of very hardworking construction trucks who are ready to call it a night and finally get some rest. They spend their days digging, plowing, lifting, and churning, and when it’s time for bed they want to find the coziest spot. This is a wonderful bedtime story, and the lyrical and rhyming text will help lull the little ones to sleep. The colorful artwork and amusing characters are favorites of children everywhere.
shark vs. train Shark vs. Train: There are some children’s books that seem so obvious once you find them, that you wonder why no one ever came up with the concept before. That is the case with Shark vs. Train. After all, what two beasts are more beloved by children? This book asks the question, who’s tougher? Shark or Train? Of course, the answer isn’t as simple as you might think. Train’s better at roasting marshmallows, but Shark is set on Halloween night. The book follows hilariously ridiculous competitions, and in the end these two discover that sometimes when no one wins, everyone wins.
duck! rabbit! Duck! Rabbit!: This book was created with the help of Amy Krouse Rosenthal, and is a unique take on the famous optical illusion, duck or rabbit. The truth is that if you look at it one way, it’s a duck. If you look at it another, it’s a rabbit. The persuasive and simple story will get kids excited as they pick a side – and they’ll learn a subtle lesson about the dangers of not knowing when to let an argument go. Whether they choose duck or rabbit’s side, one thing is for sure – they’ll want to read this book again.
cloudette Cloudette: Cloudette may be the smallest cloud around, but that doesn’t have to stop her from doing something really big. She starts out looking both high and low for a way to make a difference and to really be a part of the world around her. During her journey she meets fabulous new friends, goes on exciting adventures, and finds her own silver lining to every situation. This is a wonderful tale that teaches kids that everyone can make a difference in their own way. As is typical with Tom Lichtenheld books, the illustrations are bright, bold, and simply adorable.
bridget's beret Bridget’s Beret: Bridget loves nothing more than sitting down to draw. She wears her black beret because it makes her feel so artistic, but when it blows away, she’s convinced that her talent has blown away with it. So the search is on! High, low, she leaves no stone unturned. In fact, she even files a Missing Beret Report. She goes out in search of other hats, but none of them work just right. Bridget is left with just one option: pouting, wining, and generally feeling sorry for herself. Luckily, her friends step in and help her find her inspiration once again.
what are you so grumpy about? What Are You So Grumpy About?: Where to begin? The presents are boring. Food is weird. There are too many chores to get done! There are tons of reasons that a kid can be grumpy, and this book is chock full of examples. Though, look again, because this book also shows you that what you think may make you grumpy is actually pretty funny! Kids better be careful, or they’ll end up laughing in spite of themselves. This is a great book to read at bedtime when kids try to come up with every reason in the book to go to sleep with a frown on their face.
it's not fair! It’s not Fair!: Kids everywhere will tell you if you listen: It’s just not fair! It seems that everyone has something to grumble on about. Babies may think their feet are funny, or baseball fans might think it unfair that their team always loses. This book begins with some of the things we all complain about, but it eventually takes a turn and is just downright silly. Spiders are here, and they don’t get enough flies – how unfair! Monsters don’t have as many eyes as they should – not fair! Pigs want to fly, and many more examples – including a surprising and playful ending.
yes day! Yes Day!: Let’s see…pizza for breakfast? Yes! Leaving your room dirty instead of picking up? Yes! Staying up as late as you want? Yes! Anything a kid can dream about? Yes! Here you are, and welcome to Yes Day, the one day each year when each question has only one answer: Yes! Many of the Tom Lichtenheld books are adorable, but this one may just take the cake. With funny situations and absurd answers to silly questions, there are a lot of laughs in here. This book has won several awards, including the Elizabeth Burr/Worzalla Award 2010, and is a Junior Library Guild Selection.
the ok book the OK book: What do you get if you take the word “OK” and turn it ninety degrees clockwise? Why, you get the OK Kid! He loves trying all kinds of different things. It’s true, he’s not very good at any of them, but he has a great time trying and he knows that if he keeps giving new things a shot, he’ll eventually find something he’s good at. He’s OK at flipping pancakes, he’s OK at a lot of things, but some day he’ll find something he’s great at. This is another collaboration between Tom Lichtenheld and Amy Krouse Rosenthal.
what's with this room? What’s With This Room?: This is a story that kids and adults alike can relate to. It all starts with an unbelievably messy room, a very ticked off mom, and a boy who’s so smart that he thinks he’s got all the excuses figured out. He gives a reason for every pile of dirty clothes, every clump of rotting food, and all the smelly critters that were hidden in the closet for no reason. Regardless of how clever his excuses are, nothing can prepare him – or the reader – for the explosive ending that is something he simply can’t talk away.
everything i know about pirate Everything I know about pirate: Do you know why pirates are always wearing eye patches? Do you know why their ears are pierced? Or how about, how do pirates go about preventing their underwear from getting mixed up with other underwear when they sail off to summer pirate camp? If you’ve ever thought about these questions, you’re certainly not the only one – and if you haven’t thought about them, you surely will after this book! The author gets to the bottom of these and many more quandaries. The result is a book that’s jam-packed with hilarious pirate anecdotes and pictures.
everything i know about monsters Everything I know about monsters: This hilarious book is full of tongue-in-check humor that is perfect for a child’s reading level. The facts are made up, but the guesses are educated! It includes answers to questions like, What do monsters eat? (dirty socks, of course), What is in a monster’s brain? (not a whole lot), and How do you scare a monster out of the basement? (stand at the entrance to the basement with pots and pans and bang them loudly together). This book is perfect for kids who are scared of monsters, because it shows that they’re something to be laughed at – not scared of.
everything i know about cars Everything I know about cars: Were you aware that cars were invented by horses? It’s true, there were two horses in Ohio who simply got fed up hauling people around all the time. OK, maybe that’s not true, but it is true that souped up cars don’t actually contain any soup. And red cars are always the fastest, of course! These are a few examples of the hilarious ‘facts’ in this book, which is typical of the children’s books that Tom Lichtenheld writes – know-it-all-make-up-the-rest! Everything from dragsters to dump trucks are covered here, as well as a guide for drawing single cars of your own.

The children’s books on this list are something truly extraordinary. There is no one out there doing what Tom Lichtenheld is doing, which is to mix clever puns with moral lessons, with a heavy dose of silliness on top. These are the type of books that make kids giggle so hard they don’t even realize they’re learning something.

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