Grin and Bear It by Leo Landry (Charlesbridge, 2011)
Bear has a dream of telling jokes to make his friends laugh, but shyness gets in his way. He practices with the support of his big-hearted friends. Even strangers seem supportive in this community near the woods. Animals do want to laugh. The pencil and watercolor illustrations are as simple, funny, and warm as the story, so that we’re rooting for Bear while laughing at his pun-filled jokes. Good fortune and teamwork turn around Bear’s fate. New readers will enjoy working their way through the short sentences of seven short chapters, while, as with the best books for emerging readers, others will be happy to hear them read aloud.