One of the funniest characters in children's literature is David, who stars in Shannon's books called "No, David!", "David Gets in Trouble" and "David Goes to School," among others. The illustrations are very kid-friendly, looking as if a kid drew them. And his text is very simple - very few words are on each spread or page. Shannon let's a lot of the narrative come through the pictures and actions and emotional expressions of David. What's great about these texts also is that they're like a one-sided dialogue. The person "speaking" or doing the narration is David's mom or his teacher, some adult or person who is talking to David as he's "acting" in the scenes. They're brilliant, silly, funny, and perfect for young readers who want to laugh. And they're especially good for your very active or even "naughty" children who will find out that even the most misbehaved children are loved.
Shannon's "David" books are also perfect examples of how an author can use his or her experiences to create a story that readers can relate to. Shannon adds a preface in the books and explains how he based the character on himself and his childhood experiences of always being told "No." or "Stop it, David." The "relatability" factor is extremely important in publishing because publishing companies need to be able to sell the books. Duh, of course! Right? But it becomes a lot easier to sell the books to readers who can relate to a character or situation in the book - then they'll want to pick up the book again and again. Or they'll pick another book with the same character, or by the same author, because they felt a connection to the first book. Help the children make that connection, and authors like Shannon will come up with more stories with the same characters, publishing companies will sell more of his books, parents and teachers and librarians will buy his books, kids will read those books, and the cycle starts all over again.
Many of Shannon's other books are also character-driven (meaning, the plot revolves around a particular character and his/her troubles, inner thoughts and feelings, inner conflict and relationships, etc.) Some like the "Pirate" books have also developed into a series like the "David" books. Some are spinoffs, like "Good Boy, Fergus," where Fergus has made appearances in the David books.
Some have a very surreal theme or topic, like "A Bad Case of Stripes" while others have very quirky characters such as "Alice the Fairy". One of my son's favorites is "Duck on a Bike", about a duck who decides he wants to take a ride on a bike one day. As he's passing by the other animals, they all have something to say to him or warn him about. Then a group of kids ride by the farm on their bikes while the other animals watch. Finally, the other farm animals see how fun it is to ride a bike and they hop on the bikes to join the duck. Once the riding adventure is over, the farm animals go back to their normal lives while the duck has his eye on the tractor, leading us to believe a sequel is on its way. The repetitive text makes it easy for children to read and the fun illustrations and different perspectives of the scenes really make it a great read. No matter if Shannon is drawing animals or people, or writing about mischievous boys or bugs in your hair (yuck!), his illustration style and humor is consistent from book to book.
So if you have any reluctant readers in your home or classroom or library, turn them onto one of David Shannon's books - they're very hard to say "No" to.