Books Using Text As Graphics

The books suggested below are great to share with beginning readers because they feature a few words that stick out from the rest of the text. You can use them as a way to get your new reader to realize that the text of a story carries the message. As your child progresses, you can continue to use books like these to practice reading a few words while providing entertaining books with rich content.

  Humor Special Text Storyline
Drat That Fat Cat by Pat Thomson Yes No he was not. (repeated 6 times); Squeak, Quack, Woof! Hic (for hiccup) A cat continues to gobble up all in his path (including the old lady who eventually adopts him) until he swallows a bee. Silly.
Gaston by Kelly DiPucchio Yes Fi-Fi, Foo-Foo, Ooh-La-La, Gaston, Yip, Ruff, Tip, Toe, Tippy-Toe, Whoa!, Rocky, Ricky, Bruno, Antoinette, and Ick! A bulldog puppy accidentally gets raised with a poodle family while a poodle pup gets to live life with a family of bulldogs. This leads to a number of humorous events until eventually the error is uncovered. Luckily both doggie mamas love their pups no matter what their breed and all is back to normal in the end.
“Hi, Pizza Man!” by Virginia Walter Yes Hi, Pizza Man! Hi, Pizza Woman! Meow, meow, Pizza Kitty! Woof, woof Pizza Dog! Etc (includes duck, cow, snake, dinosaur) While waiting for the pizza man to come, a girl and her mama imagine all the possible creatures who might deliver their dinner. Just when things start to get out of hand, the doorbell rings. Who will it be?
Lion, Lion by Miriam Busch Yes What are you doing? I’m looking for lunch. No. (repeated 7 times) Too snappy. Snap. Too Prickly. Too Stinky. Mew! Tickle, tickle, tickle. A boy and his animal friends have lost Lion. Another lion enters the story hungry. It seems the boy and his friends might be in trouble, until you realize they’re not as innocent as they seem. It’s a great tale of youthful intelligence overpowering brute force.
Mungo and the Spiders From Space by Timothy Knapman Yes Read it, Mom! Read it, PLEASE! And this is the story it tells… When suddenly… And look! Blam! Not so fast. The last page was missing. A must-read for lovers of space, super heroes or humorous tales in general. Mungo, Captain Galacticus, and his sparky sidekick Gizmo take on Dr. Frankenstinker and the Gnashing, Slashing Gobblebeast. This tale will be loved by those who’ve always wondered what would happen if they just pressed all the buttons.
The Night Pirates Yes down, up, pirates, welcome aboard, Tom, ran away A pirate tale for both sexes. Tom and a crew of “rough, tough, little girl pirates” take on a group of “rough, tough grown-up pirates and win using their imaginations and a bit of savy. This story pours off your tongue as you read it. Try it. Your kid will think you’re a professional narrator.
No Dogs Allowed by Linda Ashman Yes yes, no Nearly a wordless picture book. A snooty waiter refuses to serve a young boy because he has a dog. The waiter then turns down a number of other people with their animals only to find he has no business. Fun ending.
Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons by Eric Litwin Yes three, two, one, pop, oh no Pete keeps losing buttons off his favorite shirt, but he keeps calm saying, “Buttons come and buttons go!” There is a great audio version of this book available at Scroll to the songs section at the bottom of the page. The video is fun too, but it doesn’t include the full text of the story.
Pete the Cat I Love My White Shoes Yes I love my (white/ red/blue/brown) shoes. Oh no! Did Pete cry? Goodness, no! Rock and roll! Pete gets two pairs of new white shoes and promptly gets them dirty. They turn from red to blue to brown and then back to white when he steps in a bucket of water. Pete maintains a good attitude throughout and just keeps singing! Check out the audio version at
Poor Little Guy by Elanna Allen Yes Gulp, Hello Little Guy! Let’s play! Poor little guy! Octopus wants to play with his food before eating only to find he picked a puffer fish. Who’s the poor little guy?
The Lion Inside by Jim Field Yes Hello, Oooww!, Roar! Grrr…Eeeeeeek!, One, You A mouse is tired of being scared and mistreated, so he summons his courage and asks the mightiest beast of all for help. A surprise ending.
This Book is Out of Control! By Richard Byrne Yes slam, up, spin, woo-woo, Help! This book is out of control! down, woof Ben has a remote control fire engine that he wants to show to Bella. When Bella slams her front door, the remote doesn’t work…at least not on the fire engine. As in his earlier work, This Book Just Ate My Dog, Richard Byrne plays with the notion of crossing the line between the world of fiction and reality with a wonderful sense of imagination and humor.
This is a Moose by Richard T Morris Yes a, cut, four, his, is, ka-boom, one, sproing, take, this, three, two A moose wants to be an astronaut, but a film-directing duck doesn’t believe animals should act like anything but animals…until he is enlightened. Delightful!
Who Has This Tail by Laura Hulbert No has, tail, this, who A guessing game focused on animal tails. Fun! Written at Level J, but readers at earlier levels can read the repetitive question, “Who has this tail?” Also try Who Has These Feet by Hulbert.