Friday, April 6, 2012

Laughing in the Library - our favorite humor books

My students love books that make them laugh. All the time, kids ask me for funny books. So we've been inspired by April Fools, and are celebrating funny books for the whole month. My plan is to culminate it with a celebration of jokes we love to tell, timing this with our lead-up to state-wide testing week. What a nice thing to balance the pressure of testing - seeing jokes posted all over the school!

My ulterior motives are two-fold: provide motivation for reading (remember, the more kids read, the better they get at it) and provide opportunities to talk about puns, double-word meanings, and ways we play with language.

Do your children have favorite funny books? This month, I'm going to be sharing some of our favorite funny books for elementary students.

Chapter books:

Bad Kitty - this series draws in kids from 2nd grade through 5th grade. Kids love how cranky Bad Kitty gets, and they just love Bruel's hilarious illustrations and wacky writing. My favorite in the series is definitely Bad Kitty Gets a Bath. So far, early reviews show my students are definitely voting for the newest book: Bad Kitty for President.

Geronimo Stilton - this is another series that draws kids in with its pictures and bold, colorful fonts. Geronimo and his cousin Thea Stilton write great adventure stories for kids who have moved beyond Magic Tree House but still want pretty quick reads. 

My Weird School - this wacky series features over-the-top antics with a group of 2nd and 3rd graders. The series starts when AJ and his friends are in 2nd grade, with Miss Daisy is Crazy. The My Weird School Daze series starts with Mrs. Dole is Out of Control, as AJ and his friends graduate from 2nd grade and head into summer adventures. Each of the book titles rhymes and introduces another crazy adult. The pictures and fast-paced stories make these fun, quick reads.

Longer fiction:

Diary of a Wimpy Kid - this is the most popular series with our 3rd through 5th graders, no question. Kids love Greg's humor, cartoons and constant troubles. They can laugh at Greg, while relating to his woes and knowing just how he feels. I know that some teachers and librarians don't like kids reading this. But my feeling is that if kids are finding it funny and are hooked on reading it, it can serve a wonderful purpose. I would just really check in with them and see what parts they find funny, are they really understanding the story and the humor.

Big Nate - this series is perfect for kids who love the cartoons and school-humor of the Wimpy Kid books. Our students love the humor, the cartoons and the pacing of this story. Like the Wimpy Kid, Nate's trials and tribulations seem oh-so-familiar to many of our students. My students are going to be very happy to find the newest book when they come back from spring break: Big Nate Goes for Broke.
Dragonbreath - our 4th graders have also loved this series, featuring Danny Dragonbreath and his best friend, an iguana named Wendell. Again, students are drawn to the illustrations and quick pacing. This series balances fantasy (after all, it features talking little dragon) with characters kids can relate to. Best of all, if kids like the first Dragonbreath book, they've been really happy to read more in the series.

What are your favorite silly books? My hope is to share even more this month, both old and new favorites.

These books all came from our wonderful school library. Please support your local school library and donate books once you are done enjoying them. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books (at no cost to you!). Thank you for your support.

Review ©2012 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books


  1. My readers are big How to Train Your Dragon fans- the books are nothing like the movie, all scatalogical humor and slapstick. Super silly.

    Also, given how of a time it was, I don't know WHY they like Calvin and Hobbes so much, but I literally don't think my 6 year old ever gets enough of it.

  2. I'm really slow to respond, but have to weigh in on some favorite funny books in my library: Our go-to funny books are all things Mac Barnett, Monkey with a Toolbelt, and Bad Kitty. Nanny Piggins by RA Spratt (illustrated by Dan Santat) is fantastically funny. I just picked up a copy of Betty Bunny Loves Chocolate Cake and it's one of the funniest books we've read this year.