808.879083 children's humor

Foreshadowing, Nutrients and

I’m reading The Boxcar Children to a group of second graders. It’s the story of four orphaned siblings who live in a boxcar with their dog.

The last chapter I read today ended with the line, “The children had much more to eat than bread and milk, as you shall soon see.“ 

One second-grader raised his hand, and asked, in all seriousness, “Do they eat the dog?" 

I stare at him and began helplessly laughing. 

He continued, "Because that would be a good source of protein.”

After I collected myself, I assured the class they do not eat the dog.

Cinnamons, Crime
This morning, one of my favorite five-year-olds tromped up to the desk.

Five-year-old: “Hello! Where are your books on crooks?” Me: “Crooks?” Five-year-old: “You know, scoundrels and mobsters.” Mother [chiming in]: “We had a long visit from grandpa this weekend.” Five-year-old: “You got books on Al Capone? He led a crime cinnamon.” Mother: “Syndicate.”
Countries, Cultures and

The following is a conversation I had with a middle-schooler and her mom.

Mom: “So my daughter needs a multicultural book for her school project.”

Me: “Okay, what culture?”

Mom: “Multi-cultural.”

Me: “Hmm. Okay…” [turns to middle schooler] “Name a country you would like to visit.”

Daughter: “Hawaii!”

Me: “Well, that’s a state in the USA which is a country. Name a country other than the USA you want to visit.”

Daughter: “EUROPE!”

Me: “Europe is a continent which is a group of countries. How about Germany…or Spain…or Ita-”

Daughter: “ITALY!”

Me: “Great! I’ll look up some books on Italy for you.”

She walked away and never came back to check out any books.

Lost Books, Lips and

A patron approached the desk with two small children.

Patron: “Could you settle something for me? My grandkids want to ask what you do to someone who loses a book, because on the way here, the one told the other that they better not lose their books because the librarians will tear their lips off.”

Me: “Uh…No! No, that’s harsh. We just make you pay some money so we can buy a new copy.”

Chat, Chit

I had this rapid fire exchange with a four-year-old girl at the library as she was busily adding bricks to our community LEGO display.

Girl: “Do you have a wife?”

Me: “No, but I have a husband.”

Girl: “Do you have a dog?”

Me: “No.”

Girl: “Is it cos your husband is allergic?”

Me: “Haha, no.”

Girl: “Can I take home a LEGO?”

Me: “No, they belong to the library. They have to stay here.”

Girl: “What do they do all night?”

Me: “Play and dance around the library.”

Girl: “Are you pretending?”

Me: “Yes.”

Girl: “I like you. Does my mom know you?”

Introductions all around.

Brain, Unicorns on the

A 10-year-old girl approached me at the desk.

Girl: “Do you have anything about unicorns?”

Me: “Yes, we do. Right this way.”

I showed her the section with fable animals. We looked through the books on unicorns.

Girl: “Why are there all these photos of rhinos and whales and stuff?”

Me: “A lot of people used to think that rhinos or other animals with horns were unicorns. See how the narwhal horn looks like a unicorn’s? When people found one of those, they thought it was from a unicorn.”

Girl: “That’s silly! I want to see photos of the unicorn, not all those other animals!”

Me [thinking quick]: “Well, you know, unicorns are very shy, so it’s nearly impossible to get a photo of them.”

Girl: “Oh. All right then. I’ll take these books.”

[I’m a children’s librarian, not the crusher of dreams.]

Skeleton, The One About the

An African-American girl of about 3-years-old was in our children’s area with her father. After playing for a while, she told her dad she’d like to read a book.

Dad: “Sure, which book?”

Girl [pointing to a book on display]: “The one about the skeleton.”

Dad: “Skeleton? I don’t see one about a skeleton.” 

Girl: “Yes, this one!”

She held up this book:

Dad [with a kind laugh]: “No, that isn’t a skeleton, that’s a little girl…she, um, she is pale. She has light skin.”

Time, See You Next

I hold story time in the community room across the hall from the main library. After each session, the teachers line up the children and take them into the library to check out books. I always stand by the door to say goodbye and then stay in the room to clean up. One day as the last child was heading out the door, I felt a tug on my shirt. I turned to find a young boy with a very concerned look on his face.
“Miss Lori,” he said, “Do they ever let you out of this room?”

Goals, Life

An 11-year-old patron came to the desk to check out some books on World War II. 

Me: “Cool! Are you reading these for school or because you are interested in the topic?”

11-year-old: “I’m just interested in it. One of my goals in life is to learn as much as I can about anything and everything.” 

And then he grabbed his books and left.

Rhymes, Action

I was doing an action rhyme during story time

[ ♪ the itsy bitsy spider ♪ ]

when I glanced out the window and saw a patron running from the building 

[ ♪ climbed up the waterspout ♪ ]

with one of the library’s shopping baskets in his hand. 

[ ♪ down came the rain and washed the spider out ♪ ] 

I then saw our security guard run out the front door after him, 

[ ♪ out came the sun and dried up all the rain ♪ ]

motioning and shouting to the thief 

[ ♪ and the itsy bitsy spider climbed up the spout again ♪ ]

who then put the basket over his head and pedaled away.


I didn’t miss a beat.