Bennett Cerf's Book of Animal Riddles
by Bennett Cerf ~ illustrated by Roy McKie/ Random House ~ 1964
The boy has been really into jokes of late, particularly the annoying knock-knock joke... KNOCK KNOCK... WHO'S THERE?... BANANA... BANANA WHO?... KNOCK KNOCK... WHO'S THERE... BANANA... BANANA WHO?... KNOCK KNOCK... WHO'S THERE... BANANA... It goes on like this, and you are supposed to eventually say ORANGE... ORANGE WHO?... ORANGE YOU GLAD I DIDN'T SAY BANANA?... but see, my son forgets this part and just goes round and round with banana like a dozen times. It is cute at first and then after 10 minutes of it you are about to pull your hair out. So any opportunity to throw in some new material is good.
Written by one of the original founders of Random House and a minor celebrity in his own right, Bennett was known as somewhat of a humorist in his day. (He was also married to Phyllis Fraser, co-founder of Random House Beginner books and muse/confidant to Dr. Seuss... and he is father to Christopher Cerf, musical contributor to Sesame Street and one of the creators of Between the Lions.) Plus, it is illustrated by my children's book crush ~ sweet, sweet Roy ~ who never fails to win my heart with his whimsical interpretations.
Basically just a book of jokes, my son thinks they are hysterical even when sometimes I don't think he quite gets what makes the joke funny.
When did the fly fly?
When the spider spied her.
What must a stork do to stand on one foot?
Hold up the other one.
Why does the hummingbird hum?
Because he doesn't know the words.
An out-of-print beginner book, it is easily found online for cheap, but really, any book with either name on the cover is a sure thing. (Side note: one of my favorite memories of being in NYC was getting smashed at a book party at Christopher Cerf's house and practically salivating on his face with oozing praise.... how lame am I? Awesome.)
The Nose Book
Bennett Cerf's Book of Laughs