Some Words on Humor and WORDY BIRDY (+giveaway)

In November, I was on a humorous picture book panel at NCTE with Josh Funk, Marc Nobleman, Erica Perl, Liz Garton Scanlon, and Audrey Vernick. Our moderator, Susannah Richards, gave us a list of questions to think about as we prepared for our session.

Since I loved Susannah’s thought-provoking questions and since WORDY BIRDY–my brand new humorous picture book with Dave Mottram–debuts very soon, I decided to share some of those questions along with my answers.


  • What is your definition of humor?

Anything that causes amusement.


  • How does humor play a role in your storytelling?

So far, all of my books have humor in them. Humorous picture books are my favorite kind to read so it makes sense that they are my favorite kind to write. When I find something humorous, it brings me delight. I want to share that delight with others through my books. By creating a funny situation, giving readers the unexpected, or using just the right ridiculous word, I can maybe bring a little extra joy into someone’s day.


  • What are some words that you think are funny? 

underpants, chicken, slobber, hiccup


  • How do you create humorous stories?

When my son was four, he was a tough book critic. He had one of two reactions to every book I read to him. Mason would either give a book an enthusiastic double thumbs up, or he’d say, “Wow. That’s a dud.” I try to write the sort of stuff that’d be four-year-old Mason approved.


  • How do text and images work together to create humor?

The art often brings new layers of humor to the text. One of my favorite approaches is to have the art in juxtaposition to the text. In my book CARING FOR YOUR LION, illustrated by Troy Cummings, for example, the text makes it seem like it’s totally easy to care for a lion, but the art shows something else entirely. In WORDY BIRDY, the comments of Rabbit, Raccoon, and Squirrel combined with their oh-so-funny facial expressions is one of my favorite parts of the book.


  • What is a creativity way that your readers have responded to your books?

At a recent school visit, the library media specialist had the 5th graders read my books, do some research about me, then create Instagram posts—complete with hashtags!—as if I had written them.


  • How might educators use humor as a “gateway” to learning?

Humor is a great connector and attention-getter. Incorporating humor helps to create an inviting atmosphere.

This teacher, by the way, gets the Wordy Birdy Seal of Approval.


  • Identify a very short piece of your work to read to share a humorous element. 

In the book’s opening spread, I like that the very end of Wordy Birdy’s commentary not only breaks the pattern, but it also tells us a lot about Wordy Birdy herself. This chatty bird is FULL of self-confidence.


  • Share some insider information about a forthcoming book.

My favorite words in WORDY BIRDY’s review from Kirkus are “laugh-out-loud funny” and “chuckle-worthy.”

WORDY BIRDY (Doubleday Books for Young Readers) officially takes flight on February 6, 2018. If you would like to order a signed copy, please contact Nan or Shelbee at Best of Books in Edmond, Oklahoma. The number is (405) 340-0202. The email address is [email protected].

WORDY BIRDY is also going on tour. These are her upcoming pit stops:



For a chance to win a first edition copy of WORDY BIRDY, please leave a comment. The lucky duck winner will be revealed on my next post.


Congratulations to Beth Anderson!  She won a signed copy of Darcy Pattison’s latest book. And that is real deal news.

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Tammi Sauer

Tammi Sauer, a former teacher and library media specialist, is a full-time children's book author who presents at schools and conferences across the country. She has more than 30 published picture books and has many others on the way. Her books have received awards, earned starred reviews, made lists, been made into musicals, and been translated into many different languages. Most importantly, kids really like her books! To learn more about Tammi and her books, please visit and follow her on Twitter at @SauerTammi.


  1. Such fun way to start my morning with words. Thanks for sharing!

  2. This book sounds like a winner — can’t wait to read it!

  3. This book looks like tons of fun! I enjoy all of your books tremendously! Thank for your post.

  4. Just the title alone prompts a smile. Can’t wait to read your book. Congratulations!

  5. That’s what I love about your books, Tammi! And you give great writerly advice. Hiccup, chuckle.

  6. Sounds like so much fun. Can’t wait to read it!!!!!

  7. Can’t wait to meet share some laughs with Wordy Birdy! Congrats, Tammi!

  8. Wow, this book looks fun and funny and so very cute and I can’t wait to read it. See, how inspired I am? Congrats!!

  9. That bird! Love her already. Looks like another funny read.

  10. Love all your books, Tammi! Can’t wait to read Wordy Birdy 🙂

  11. I’m grinning already and I haven’t even read it.

  12. That title! That cover! Can’t wait to read Wordy Birdy!!! Congratulations Tammi and Dave!

  13. Tammi is a master of words and story!

  14. So so so fun! Love this little bird. Can’t wait to see the whole thing.

  15. I can’t wait to read it to my grandchildren!

  16. Can’t wait to read and study the illustrations of this fun-fun character. Thanks!

  17. I’m a big fan of everything Tammi! Looking forward to reading this one too!

  18. You have such a way with words, Tammi! Can’t wait to check out WORDY BIRDY! Those scrumptious colors! <3

  19. Kathleen Mazurowski

    So much fun!

  20. Can’t wait for this one! So fun! Thanks for the inside scoop 😀

  21. Thank you for my first ever win of a book, Tammi! Can’t wait to see Wordy Birdy!

  22. Wordy Birdy! started my morning with a laugh! Sooo great!!

  23. You come up with the best ideas, Tammi! Thanks for sharing a spread of WORDY BIRDY. Can’t wait to read the rest!

  24. This is great fun!

  25. I love Tammie’s books and humorous picture books are my favorite too. I try to find as many to read as I can (I have 2 of Tammi’s books checked out from the library currently). Can’t wait to read this one too.

  26. This book looks super fun! I can’t wait to read it!

  27. #makesmesauer !! That’s good stuff right there! Excited about this, Tammi. Congrats, lady!

  28. I love this title/cover! Can’t wait to see the rest of it!

  29. Looking forward to adding Wordy Bird to my library of Tammi Sauer books.

  30. Hello gorgeous says it all! And that spelling test! Ah! silent letters, I died!

  31. Great tips! I’m excited to read this one.

  32. Can’t wait for this one. Love all of your books!

  33. It’s funny how, indeed, certain words are just funny. Thank you for sharing such insight to your process. I ALWAYS learn from you!

  34. I feel particularly drawn to Wordy Birdy. That’s what my family called me growing up! I can’t wait to pick it up. I’m going to be in Houston on the 3rd! I’m coming to see you!

  35. You are always so inspiring, Tammi! I look forward to loving Wordy Birdy!

  36. Wow Tammi, Wordy Bird looks wonderful and a book tour too!

  37. Love Birdy! Can’t wait to read her. P.S. Who does her hair?

  38. Wordy Birdy sounds like a fantastic book!

  39. Tammi,

    Can’t wait to read this fun book!

    So, you’re coming to MN!! Yea! ?

  40. The title alone is humorous. Can’t wait to read what WORDY BIRDY has to say!!

  41. Congrats, Tammi on what looks like another hilarious book. I love how Wordy Birdy is sidewise on the cover too.

  42. I can’t wait to read this book!!

  43. Absolutely darling! Should be an adult children’s book!

  44. Thanks for the laugh. I needed that today.

  45. Great post, Tammi. I’m looking forward to checking out Wordy Birdy, as I love laughing with my kids while reading books.


  46. Patricia A. Miller

    I probably needed this book as a child (Chatty Patty), but I look forward to reading it with my granddaughter.

    Love the ending of the April Fool video when the teacher said the test would be on the report card. Ha!

  47. Humor is such a nebulous concept to me – different people laugh at different things – so I found this post especially useful and interesting. Thank you for such a great post, and congratulations on your wonderful Wordy Birdy.

  48. Haha–love it–thanks for the post!

  49. Love to share a laugh. Humor is great.

  50. Rebecca Levington

    Wordy Birdy sounds just like my son! Never stops!

  51. This book is beyond adorable! I love humorous picture books, too. Thanks, Tammi, for the fun post.

  52. Can’t wait to check this one out! I am sure my kids will love it.

  53. Hilarious…counting down the days to buy it! Congratulations on yet another home run, Tammi!

  54. This was a fun post! I am looking forward to reading Wordy Birdy. It looks great!

  55. Humor is so important- seriously!

    I do love writing humor -this is my all time goal. Thank you for sharing your insights.

  56. I love the cover of this book. I am adding it to my already large TBR list. Thank you for sharing.

  57. Laugh out loud is so good for the soul!
    Wordy Bird is on my to read list.

    The teacher’s April Fool prank was hilarious!!!

  58. Jennifer Rumberger

    I am so excited for this book!

  59. Helen Dunlap Newton

    Love, love, love Wordy Buddy. I can hear his voice in my head through the illustrations and the few words we’ve seen here. Also love, Oklahoma’s ROCK STAR, Tammi Sauer! She is a PB Master.
    (Safe travels on you tour, Tammi. )
    Helen Newton

  60. Wordy Birdy sounds like another classic! I’m marking Feb. 6th on my calendar!

  61. I can’t wait to read Wordy Birdy – laughter is good for health and I know this one will bring on the chuckles. And the April Fool’s video is the funniest. I want him as my teacher.

  62. A lexicon of laughter if ever I saw one, Tammi.

  63. Looks like a wonderful book….and honestly, who couldn’t use a good laugh? Thanks so much!

  64. So much fun! Love it!

  65. Wordy Birdy sounds hilarious. I already want to read more after that first spread.

  66. Wordy Birdy sounds like a fun book! Congrats, Tammi! 🙂


  67. Those Instagram posts and hashtags are amazing! #makesmesauer cracked me up! Can’t wait to read Wordy Birdy. It sounds like a fun read!

  68. Can’t wait to read this book. Thanks for sharing!

  69. Thanks for sharing. Love what the kids did for you. And Wordy Bird is just such a fun title. Adorable pictures, too. Can’t wait to see it.

  70. This book looks adorable! And wordy? I’m excited to read it.

  71. WORDY BIRDY rocks!! Gotta love this spunky chatterbox. She’s full of personality! Awesome book cover, too! Looking forward to reading it.

  72. Wordy Birdy looks like so much fun! And that spelling video, ha, what a great April Fools’ joke. 🙂

  73. This book looks like a lot of fun. Thanks for this great post.

  74. Tammi has the best ideas for books. Can’t wait to get my hands on WORDY BIRDY.

  75. I can’t wait to read this…I love humor in picture books as a way to connect too!

  76. Congrats, Tammi! Can’t wait to meet Wordy Birdy!!!!

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