My favorite sound in the world is my daughter’s laugh. My family tends to laugh until we can’t speak, or until tears are running down our cheeks. I love that my daughter has developed this trait already. Whether she is playing by herself, reading a book, watching a TV show or listening to us make funny voices, her shrieking laughter can make any day better. I am always looking for ways to make her laugh, and today’s book gave us lots of opportunities to giggle together.
What’s Making Walter C. Laugh? was written by Ginny Jordan. This book asks the reader what they think could be making the main character, Walter, laugh. The pages are full of suggestions that are ridiculous and hilarious. From penguins flying upside down to dolphins riding a bicycle, the colorful illustrations and inventive situations are sure to have kids laughing. The author leaves the ending open, allowing kids the opportunity to imagine silly scenarios of their own. I was excited to have the opportunity to talk to the author about her book as well as her inspiration.
The Inspiration behind Walter C.
What was your inspiration behind writing this book?
My father and son had endless hours of fun reading together. Then they would go off and play imagination games using the characters from the book they had just read. It was very special and I wanted to re-create that happiness, closeness and fun for other kids to feel and experience. A phrase I love to use to describe what I was imagining while I was writing the book is playful interaction.
How does your background as a teacher inspire your writing?
As a teacher I quickly saw that all kids want to feel as if they are contributing, that their ideas and thoughts matter. Kids sometimes need to know there can be more than one right answer, or many right answers, or simply that their answer is valued.
What do you hope kids will take away from this book?
Lots of giggles and laughs. Room for their imaginations to soar. Silly dialogue with whomever reads it to them. Happiness unplugged and with a book. Fun!
Why did you decide to leave the ending open?
To encourage conversation and talking. To share ideas. To feel free because their answer is a good one. To foster many answers. To spark play, and drawing and writing. To be able to do it over and over with different endings. Because I thought it would be more fun.
Encouraging kids to be creative
There are so many fun ways to use this book as a springboard for silly conversations as well as imaginative play. For each of these activities, you will need to write out the animals and actions from the book onto paper circles or scraps of paper. You can also add other animals or actions that they think will be funny. Create a pile for the animal cards as well as a pile for the action cards.
Act it Out – Have kids pick one animal and one action from the basket and act it out. You could play this like charades and have one child act it out while everyone else has to guess. You could also call out the animal and the action and everyone do their best impressions! Don’t forget to have props out to help also. Be creative! We didn’t have a unicycle like the unicorns in the book, but balancing on a beach ball can have a similar effect!
Story Starters – Encourage kids to use their imagination while creating a funny story based on their picks out of the two piles. Ask them questions about the two cards to get them started and then let their imaginations run wild!
Funny Pictures – Have kids create their own illustrations to go along with the book. Have them pick one prompt out of each pile and draw how they think it would look.
All of these activities encourage kids to use their imaginations and create funny scenarios on their own. Imagine the hours of laughter you can get by embracing the silly side of life while sharing a fun book together!