Twice in the past few months, I’ve had friends ask me for recommendations for young readers looking for funny books that aren’t dependent on crude humor for the laughs. I know kids love them, but I can’t even look at the cover of the Captain Underpants books. I’m lame like that. Even excluding potty humor, there are tons of funny books I can test books on my resident third grader. I know a book is hitting the mark when he comes out of his room repeatedly to read me a passage or relate a joke from the story. It happens so regularly that I’ve had to tell him that jokes are usually only funny the first time. (He hates this rule.) Here are six of our favorite authors when we’re looking for a new, silly read:
Roald Dahl. You already know I love him, so I intentionally left him off the list. But when I asked my son for help finalizing the authors on the list, the first thing out of his mouth was, “But you forgot Roald Dahl!” His books are more odd than humorous, but there are subtle jokes aplenty. I find some his lesser-known stories to be the funniest, especially The Enormous Crocodile and George’s Marvelous Medicine.
Jack Prelutsky is one of our favorite poets. His style is reminiscent of a sillier Shel Silverstein. His poem “Louder than a Clap of Thunder” from The New Kid on the Block had us all in stitches last week since the dad at our house has a pretty noise snore of his own.
Jon Scieszka. I’ve written extensively about my love for Sciezka’s books and website already, but let me say again: this man is a comedic genius. He’s published everything from picture books to nice, fat chapter books, so readers of all ages should be able to find something to enjoy. Especially appropriate for this list is the Guys Read volume Funny Business for which he is both a contributor and the editor.
Judy Blume is the only author on this list my third grader hasn’t read yet. I have vivid memories of Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret and Freckle Juice, so I’m hoping he’s willing to give her a try. Her books range in age and humor level, but the Fudge books are a great place to start.
Mo Willems is the king of oddball picture books. I originally wanted to limit this list to chapter books only, but then I found all three of my children laughing their way through an old Elephant and Piggie book. His books are especially great for new readers.
Louis Sachar. The Sideways Stories from Wayside School is the hands-down favorite around here (along with its many sequels), and I still remember how funny we found There’s a Boy in the Girls’ Bathroom when my fourth grade teacher read it aloud after P.E.
Kate DiCamillo is extremely prolific, though not all of her books are funny. Any book starring Mercy Watson or the other residents of Deckawoo Drive is a good bet if you’re looking for a short, funny read. They make especially great independent reads for new readers.
Mac Barnett and Jory John are two separate authors, both with incredible bodies of work, but their collaborative series starting with The Terrible Two is what earned them a spot on the list. If you have younger readers, however, Barnett’s The Skunk and John’s Goodnight Already! are repeat reads at our house.
Do you have any other funny recommendations for us? I’m always delighted to discover more!