Cut to the Humor
Humor: The quality of being amusing or comic, especially as expressed in literature or speech; a mood or state of mind.
We Are Growing! is a beginning reader written and illustrated by Laurie Keller. Some people (adults) may not find this book humorous. Kids certainly will. I, an adult with a child-like sense of humor, find this book hilarious! The main characters are seven blades of grass and one weed that grow. If you can’t see the humor in grass and a weed growing, then you don’t know Laurie Keller and her work. Ms. Keller’s artistic expression shines in the distinctive personalities she gives to each of her characters. To further convey humor, she incorporates various elements – onomatopoeic words, speech bubbles, and superlative forms of words used by the main characters to describe themselves. And then there are those cute little bugs that make an appearance. When the blades of grass realize they’re growing in very different ways, they each find a quality that makes them exceptional in one way or another. Only one blade of grass can’t decide what he is. Time is of the essence because there is a loud buzzing noise headed for the grass. (The horror of it all!) Don’t worry. In the end, all turns out well. With spare text and repetition, this is a perfect book for beginning readers, but don’ let the simplicity of it fool you. This book is as much for adults as it is for children. Kids will see it as silly, and if you’re an adult, subliminal layers of humor are there for the taking. Mo Willems’ Elephant and Piggie characters give this book a great send-off and an “end-off.” As Elephant and Piggie say, “This book is the FUNNIEST!”
By the way, Laurie Keller’s book We Are Growing! won the 2017 Theodor Seuss Geisel Award for the most distinguished beginning reader. Who’s laughing now?