Roald Dahl Funny Prize

The Roald Dahl Funny Prize ran from 2008 to 2013, with the aims of promoting laughter and humour as a feel-good factor when reading, drawing attention to funny books as readable and enjoyable, and rewarding authors and illustrators who write and illustrate books using humour.

Michael Rosen celebrates the Roald Dahl Funny Prize

The Roald Dahl Funny Prize was launched in 2008 in association with Michael Rosen, Children's Laureate 2007-9, with the aim of drawing attention to funny children's books.

Books were awarded in two categories: Funniest Book for Children Aged Six and Under and Funniest Book for Children Aged Seven to Fourteen, with a shortlist of six titles in each category.

The winner of each category - chosen by students in selected schools across the country - received £2,500, which was presented at an awards ceremony. In the final year of the award in 2013, this was held at the Cambridge Theatre in London, home to the Royal Shakespeare Company's multi award-winning production of Roald Dahl's Matilda The Musical.

2013


Roald Dahl Funny Prize 2013

Fresh from his win at this year's Foster's Edinburgh Comedy Awards as Best Newcomer, John Kearns joined a stellar panel of judges for the 2013 Roald Dahl Funny Prize, which as always featured children's author Michael Rosen as Chair.

Joining them on the panel were Guardian columnist Marina Hyde, children's author and illustrator Sarah McIntyre and the 2012 winner of the older age category, Dark Lord: The Teenage Years author Jamie Thomson. Together the panel united in their quest to find two splendiferous winners: for children aged six years and under, and children aged seven to fourteen years.

Six and under

The younger category was won by Simon Rickerty's Monkey Nut with Rosen saying, 'Just as Jonathan Swift told us about pointless battles over which way to put an egg in its cup, so Simon Rickerty has created a comically pointless struggle over a monkey nut (in its shell). With brio and inventiveness he fills the pages with splashes, squabbles, contrast and laughter.'

Winner

Monkey Nut

Simon Rickerty

Two little spiders find a monkey nut, and shouting 'it's mine!', each tries to snatch it.

Read more about Monkey Nut

Shortlisted

Weasels

Elys Dolan

In this wonderfully humorous debut from an exciting new picture book talent, the weasels are plotting world domination.

Read more about Weasels

Shortlisted

Spaghetti with the Yeti

Adam and Charlotte Guillain Illustrated by Lee Wildish

Intrepid young hero George sets out to hunt the mythical yeti, armed with only a map, a woolly hat and a tin of spaghetti in his rucksack.

Read more about Spaghetti with the Yeti

Shortlisted

Troll Swap

Leigh Hodgkinson

A little girl called Tabitha decides to swap places with Timothy the hairy troll in this lively picture book.

Read more about Troll Swap

Shortlisted

Do Not Enter the Monster Zoo!

Amy Sparkes Illustrated by Sara Ogilvie

Can our young hero take on a Monster Zoo full of naughty creatures - and survive to tell the tale?

Read more about Do Not Enter the Monster Zoo!

Shortlisted

Noisy Bottoms

Sam Taplin, Illustrated by Mark Chambers

In this hilarious noisy book, we follow Little Bear as he goes through the forest and discovers that all the animals have rather noisy bottoms

Read more about Noisy Bottoms

Seven to fourteen

The prize for children aged 7-14 went to Jim Smith for his book I Am Still Not A Loser.

Rosen said, 'The old adage that no one likes a loser is gloriously subverted with Barry, who is both lovable and hilarious. The mix of words and drawings are a playful reminder of everyone's home-grown cartoons and the big nose motif has become a cult.'

Winner

I Am Still Not a Loser

Jim Smith

In the second installment of Jim Smith's popular Barry Loser series, Barry has a new problem in the shape of the aptly-named Gordon Smugly.

Read more about I Am Still Not a Loser

Shortlisted

The Grunts All at Sea

Philip Ardagh Illustrated by Axel Scheffler

The Grunts are back and as disgusting as ever! 

Read more about The Grunts All at Sea

Shortlisted

My Parents are Out of Control

Pete Johnson

Out of the blue, Louis’s parents ask for tips on being cool. At first Louis is amused and teaches his parents how to use lingo like ‘wicked’ and ‘sick,’ – until one day things go too far...

Read more about My Parents are Out of Control

Shortlisted

Pants are Everything

Mark Lowery

Life has not got any easier for 14-year-old Michael Swarbrick. He’s been suspended from school for, amongst other things, dancing naked in front of a donkey.

Read more about Pants are Everything

Shortlisted

Fish-Head Steve

Jamie Smart

This collection of comic strips does exactly what it says on the tin: a boy called Steve wakes up one day to discover he has a giant fish for a head.

Read more about Fish-Head Steve

Shortlisted

Geek Girl

Holly Smale

Everyone at school knows Harriet Manners is a geek.

Read more about Geek Girl

2012


Roald Dahl Funny Prize 2012

The Great British Bake Off and Light Lunch presenter Mel Giedroyc and journalist and author Lucy Mangan joined the judging panel for the Roald Dahl Funny Prize in 2012.

Also taking part were Liz Pichon, who won the 2011 prize for The Brilliant World of Tom Gates, and award-winning picture book author Ed Vere. As always, Michael Rosen returned to lead the gloriumptious selection of human beans in their quest to find two splendiferous winners: for children aged 6 years and under, and children aged 7–14 years categories.

Six and under

The Six and Under prize was eventually won by Rebecca Patterson for her book My Big Shouting Day.

'It just made me laugh and laugh,' said Mangan. 'Who HASN'T had - or, if you're a wretched grown up who is supposed to keep control of herself at all times, at least WANTED to have - a big shouting day? Who HASN'T just wanted to go to pieces when faced with 'the TERRIBLE EGG' or toothpaste that is just TOO minty? And then it has the lovely ending, when our heroine is exhausted and overcome with remorse but wakes up to a better day tomorrow.'

Winner

My Big Shouting Day

Rebecca Patterson

Bella is having a Big Shouting Day: from morning until bedtime, she shouts and complains about everything from biscuits to baths.

Read more about My Big Shouting Day

Shortlisted

The Pirates Next Door

Jonny Duddle

Lots of humour and irrepressibly rakish pirates combine in this entertaining book about looking beyond appearances

Read more about The Pirates Next Door

Shortlisted

Oh No, George!

Chris Haughton

George is a dog with a big personality and he LOVES cake, rubbish bins and chasing Cat.

Read more about Oh No, George!

Shortlisted

Stuck

Oliver Jeffers

It started with Floyd's kite - but now there's all kinds of things stuck in the tree: a cat, a bucket of paint, the kitchen sink, and even a curious whale who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time...

Read more about Stuck

Shortlisted

The Worst Princess

Anna Kemp Illustrated by Sara Ogilvie

With a rhyming text by Anna Kemp and delightfully humorous illustrations by Sara Ogilvie, this entertaining picture book offers a refreshingly tongue-in-cheek spin on the conventional fairy tale princess.

Read more about The Worst Princess

Shortlisted

The Baby That Roared

Simon Puttock Illustrated by Nadia Shireen

Mr and Mrs Deer don’t have any children, but they would love to have a baby of their own to look after. When a mysterious bundle arrives on their doorstep they are overjoyed.

Read more about The Baby That Roared

Seven to fourteen

The prize in the seven to fourteen age category went to Jamie Thomson for his hilarious story Dark Lord: The Teenage Years.

'This is a wonderfully absurd take on beings from another planet or another world and like all books with this theme it makes us think about how odd and crazy we are,' said Rosen.

'The book also makes us do several 'double-takes' as we find ourselves asking whether this Dark Lord is a boy's imagination or if he's really from outer space. Winners of this Prize have to give us a great concept, laughs throughout and a great twist at the end, which does indeed come with an excellent reversal of expectations which I couldn't possibly divulge. Just be prepared to be reversed! And be warned, the word 'Goth' will never be the same again.'

Winner

Dark Lord: The Teenage Years

Jamie Thomson Illustrated by Freya Hartas

The Dark Lord falls to earth, crash-landing in a suburban car park in the body of a teenage boy, spitting out poisonous mucus

Read more about Dark Lord: The Teenage Years

Shortlisted

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Flies Again

Frank Cottrell Boyce Illustrated by Joe Berger

When the Tooting family find a vast abandoned engine and fit it to their camper van, they have no idea of the adventure that lies ahead...

Read more about Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Flies Again

Shortlisted

The Dragonsitter

Josh Lacey Illustrated by Garry Parsons

Eddie's uncle has gone on holiday and he has left his dragon behind for Eddie to look after.

Read more about The Dragonsitter

Shortlisted

Goblins

Philip Reeve

The dark towers of Clovenstone are home to several bands of goblins who spend their time squabbling and fighting each other. But Skarper is different: he is inquisitive and clever.

Read more about Goblins

Shortlisted

Gangsta Granny

David Walliams Illustrated by Tony Ross

Ben hates visiting his Granny every Friday night while his parents go to ballroom dancing. Then he discovers Granny isn't quite what she seems, and life takes a dramatic turn for the better.

Read more about Gangsta Granny

2011


Roald Dahl Funny Prize 2011

The author and illustrator team behind the Horrid Henry books, Francesca Simon and Tony Ross, Twitter queen, author and comedic columnist Grace Dent and Yes Man author and journalist Danny Wallace joined Michael Rosen to judge the 2011 Roald Dahl Funny Prize.

Six and under

The prize in the Six and Under category was awarded to Peter Bently and illustrator Jim Field for their feline feast Cats Ahoy!

Rosen said, 'Cats marauding as ghost pirates to steal fishy bounty from lily-livered humans: what more do you want from a funny book? Jim Field's illustrations of the cunning pirate cats and Peter Bently's majestic rhyming words had the judges in fits of giggles, most notably Grace, who also snorted on five separate occasions. Apparently she likes cats.'

Winner

Cats Ahoy!

Peter Bently Illustrated by Jim Field

Cats’ favourite thing in the world is fish. So when Alfonso the cat overhears a two old men discussing the imminent arrival of a boat,  carrying its largest ever catch, he hatches a plan. This book is very funny – fishtastic in fact!

Read more about Cats Ahoy!

Shortlisted

Marshall Armstrong is New to Our School

David Mackintosh

A thoughtful book about tolerance, acceptance and celebrating difference

Read more about Marshall Armstrong is New to Our School

Shortlisted

First Week at Cow School

Andy Cutbill Illustrated by Russell Ayto

This hilarious story celebrating difference and acceptance is told with charm and wonderfully illustrated with Russell Ayto's fun and wacky illustrations

Read more about First Week at Cow School

Shortlisted

A Place to Call Home

Alexis Deacon Illustrated by Vivianne Schwarz

A family of furry animals grow too big for their home in an old mattress and have to go out into the unknown world of the back yard to find a new one. This endearing and engaging picture book about growing up is told with gentle humour and illustrated with a blend of painting and photography by 2011 Best New Illustrator, Viviane Schwarz.

Read more about A Place to Call Home

Shortlisted

Limelight Larry

Leigh Hodgkinson

Join Larry as he attempts to chase off interrupting characters and unwanted woodland tea parties to secure some pages for himself.

Read more about Limelight Larry

Shortlisted

Bedtime for Monsters

Ed Vere

Do you ever wonder if somewhere, not too far away, there might be monsters?

Read more about Bedtime for Monsters

Seven to fourteen

The 7-14 prize that was snapped up by Liz Pichon for The Brilliant World of Tom Gates, the first instalment in her wildly popular series.

Rosen said, 'This book is a must for anyone who doodles, likes to wind up their sibling, has a serious caramel wafer habit and enjoys having their chuckle muscles exercised. That will be most people then.'

Winner

The Brilliant World of Tom Gates

Liz Pichon

This book oozes personality and with so much going on it promises to maintain the attention of young readers for hours at a time

Read more about The Brilliant World of Tom Gates

Shortlisted

Letters from an Alien Schoolboy

Ros Asquith

Flowkwee is on a mission – he has to disguise himself as a schoolboy and spy on young earthlings, in order to help his father with his research

Read more about Letters from an Alien Schoolboy

Shortlisted

The Wrong Pong

Steven Butler Illustrated by Chris Fisher

Full of mischievous fun, wonderful language and fantastic characters, this hilarious story about the anarchic troll world will have you snorting with laughter

Read more about The Wrong Pong

Shortlisted

The Get Rich Quick Club

Rose Impey

These fun stories will have you laughing out loud and thinking up more money making schemes

Read more about The Get Rich Quick Club

Shortlisted

Animal Tales

Terry Jones Illustrated by Michael Foreman

Terry Jones’s irreverent wit and quirky humour make a compendium of stories that will be enjoyed by children and adults alike

Read more about Animal Tales

Shortlisted

Penny Dreadful is a Magnet for Disaster

Joanna Nadin Illustrated by Jess Mikhail

Boys as well as girls will race through these stories giggling all the way!

Read more about Penny Dreadful is a Magnet for Disaster

2010


Roald Dahl Funny Prize 2010

The judging panel for the 2010 Roald Dahl Funny Prize was again chaired by Michael Rosen. He was joined by author Philip Ardagh, illustrator Bruce Ingman, writer and broadcaster Nicolette Jones and comedian Shappi Khorsandi.

Six and under

It was a fiercely-contested year, but the Six and Under category was eventually won by Louise Yates for her story Dog Loves Books.

Winner

Dog Loves Books

Louise Yates

With an engaging hero and simple, understated text animated by witty, subtly coloured illustrations, this book about the sheer pleasure of books has a refreshing jaunty elegance.

Read more about Dog Loves Books

Shortlisted

The Scariest Monster in the World

Lee Weatherly, Illustrated by Algy Craig Hall

A very scary monster with wild and weird fur and grubby, un-brushed teeth spends his time frightening the animals that live in the forest. That is until one day he gets the hiccups...

Read more about The Scariest Monster in the World

Shortlisted

One Smart Fish

Chris Wormell

A small silver fish has done everything he can possibly do in the ocean - he sings, dances and even performs plays, but has never walked upon the land.

Read more about One Smart Fish

Shortlisted

The Nanny Goat's Kid

Jeanne Willis, Illustrator: Tony Ross

The tiger cub is different to the other Kids and the sisters criticise the way Nanny Goat is bringing him up.

Read more about The Nanny Goat's Kid

Shortlisted

Dogs Don't Do Ballet

Anna Kemp, Illustrated by Sara Ogilvie

Everyone knows that dogs don’t do ballet, except for one little girl in Miss Polly’s ballet class.

Read more about Dogs Don't Do Ballet

Shortlisted

Angelica Sprocket's Pockets

Quentin Blake

Angelica’s small chums are enchanted by the contents of her pockets which include mice, cheese, hankies, frying pans, umbrellas and much more!

Read more about Angelica Sprocket's Pockets

Seven to fourteen

Meanwhile, the prize for Funniest Book for Children Aged Seven to Fourteen went to Louise Rennison, best known for her Georgia Nicolson series.

It was Withering Tights: The Misadventures of Tallulah Casey - the first in a new series - that won her the prize in 2010.

Winner

Withering Tights

Louise Rennison

When Tallulah’s parents pack her off to an am-dram college - Dother Hall, she hopes she will become a toppity-top-actress type without accidentally tripping over her knees or involuntarily doing Irish dancing.

Read more about Withering Tights

Shortlisted

The Ogre of Oglefort

Eva Ibbotson

The Hag, the Troll, Dr Brainsweller and a most unmagical orphan, Ivo, are despatched to dangerous lands to slay the flesh-eating Ogre of Oglefort and rescue the princess.

Read more about The Ogre of Oglefort

Shortlisted

Mr Stink

David Walliams, Illustrated by Quentin Blake

Irreverant and charming, this is a hilarious and surprisingly touching story about secrets, love and life.

Read more about Mr Stink

Shortlisted

The Incredible Luck of Alfie Pluck

Jamie Rix

Alfie is the unluckiest boy alive - until he unwittingly eats the chicken which contains the highly-sought-after luck gene.

Read more about The Incredible Luck of Alfie Pluck

Shortlisted

Einstein's Underpants and How They Saved the World

Anthony McGowan

Maths geek Alexander and his unlucky best friend Melvyn are the unlikely heroes of this quirky adventure from former Booktrust Teenage Prize-winner Anthony McGowan.

Read more about Einstein's Underpants and How They Saved the World

Shortlisted

The Clumsies Make a Mess

Sorrel Anderson, Illustrator: Nicola Slater

The Clumsies try to solve lots of Howard’s problems, all with hilarious consequences.

Read more about The Clumsies Make a Mess

2009


Roald Dahl Funny Prize 2009

Michael Rosen was back as chair for the second year of the Roald Dahl Funny Prize, which was very hotly contested indeed.

Joining him on the judging panel were comedian Bill Bailey, illustrator Mini Grey, and authors Louise Rennison and Andy Stanton.

Six and under

In the end, the book that triumphed in the Six and Under category was Mr Pusskins Best In Show by Sam Lloyd - beating books about octopuses, dogs, and a pencil... that draws dogs and cats!

As well as the books below, also shortlisted in this year were Elephant Joe is a Spaceman! by David Wojtowycz and Crocodiles Are The Best Animals of All by Sean Taylor, illustrated by Hannah Shaw.

Winner

Mr Pusskins Best in Show

Sam Lloyd

Lloyd’s typically funny, lively illustrations and simple text both entertain and offer young readers the reassurance that there is more than one way to succeed.

Read more about Mr Pusskins Best in Show

Shortlisted

The Pencil

Allan Ahlberg, Illustrator: Bruce Ingman

In this metafictional tale, a pencil discovers its creative powers, at first tentatively drawing a boy, then more confidently providing him with what he asks for; a dog, then a cat.

Read more about The Pencil

Shortlisted

The Great Dog Bottom Swap

Peter Bently, Illustrator: Mei Matsuoka

A cheeky, rhyming picture book for curious dog lovers.

Read more about The Great Dog Bottom Swap

Shortlisted

Octopus Socktopus

Nick Sharratt

Brightly coloured octopuses appear throughout the pages of this fun pop-up book from Nick Sharratt.

Read more about Octopus Socktopus

Seven to fourteen

The second Roald Dahl Funny Prize for Funniest Book for Children Aged Seven To Fourteen went to Philip Ardagh for his first Grubtown Tales book, Stinking Rich and Just Plain Stinky.

The bizarre world of Grubtown and the story of what happens when a huge diamond is discovered won over voters, leading it to victory over the rest of the shortlisted books.

Shortlisted

Eating Things on Sticks

Anne Fine, Illustrator: Kate Aldous

Having burned down the kitchen, Harry needs to be housed with a willing relative while it is rebuilt.

Read more about Eating Things on Sticks

Shortlisted

Ribblestrop

Andy Mulligan

There’s a wonderful, anarchic energy to this funny, pacey, action-packed novel

Read more about Ribblestrop

Shortlisted

The Galloping Ghost

Hilda Offen

This gently humorous chapter book was shortlisted for the Roald Dahl Funny Prize 2009; black and white line drawings add to its appeal and the length is perfect for emerging readers.

Read more about The Galloping Ghost

Shortlisted

Purple Class and the Half Eaten Sweater

Sean Taylor, Illustrated by Helen Bate

Full of witty dialogue and lively narrative.

Read more about Purple Class and the Half Eaten Sweater

Shortlisted

The Boy in the Dress

David Walliams, Illustrated by Quentin Blake

Despite its sensitive subject matter, this book is filled with humour

Read more about The Boy in the Dress

2008


Roald Dahl Funny Prize 2008

The first ever Roald Dahl Funny Prize was held in 2008, with a judging panel chaired by the award's creator Michael Rosen.

He was joined on the panel by Sophie Dahl, comedian Dara O'Briain, author and illustrator Chris Riddell and Pongwiffy writer Kaye Umansky.

Six and under

The inaugural award for Funniest Book for Children Aged Six and Under went to Ursula Jones' The Witch's Children Go To School - it beat out Nick Sharratt's Elephant Wellyphant and the other books on the shortlist below.

Shortlisted

Manfred The Baddie

John Fardell

In this comic-style book Manfred is the baddest baddie of all, robbing people, kidnapping inventors and planning evil ways to rule the world.

Read more about Manfred The Baddie

Shortlisted

There's an Ouch in My Pouch!

Jeanne Willis, Illustrated by Gary Parsons

Willaby Wallaby is throwing a wobbly...He’s quite determined he still needs a pouch to live in, but suddenly it’s just too knobbly, wodgy, wedgy and wriggly and so he jumps out.

Read more about There's an Ouch in My Pouch!

Shortlisted

The Great Paper Caper

Oliver Jeffers, Illustrator: Oliver Jeffers

This is an intelligent and entertaining picture book, with unique and fascinating illustrations.

Read more about The Great Paper Caper

Shortlisted

Stick Man

Julia Donaldson, Illustrator: Axel Scheffler

The award-winning creators of The Gruffalo now present us with a modern variation on a long-established folk tale theme, which details the perilous adventures of a stick.

Read more about Stick Man

Seven to fourteen

The first ever Roald Dahl Funny Prize for the 7-14 age group went to Andy Stanton, who triumphed with his tale Mr Gum and the Dancing Bear.

As well as the books below, Dinah Capparucci's Aliens Don't Eat Dog Food and Kjartan Poskitt's Urgum and the Goo Goo Bah also made it on to the shortlist for the inaugural award.

Winner

Mr Gum and the Dancing Bear

Andy Stanton, Illustrated by David Tazzyman

Mr Gum is a very nasty man. He is mean, cruel, smelly and ruthless and has a dastardly plan to make money out of Padlock the bear.

Read more about Mr Gum and the Dancing Bear

Shortlisted

Paddington Here and Now

Michael Bond, Illustrated by Peggy Fortnum

Half a century after he first appeared in print, Paddington Bear is back.

Read more about Paddington Here and Now

Shortlisted

Cosmic

Frank Cottrell Boyce

Long-legged Liam makes a giant leap for boy-kind by competing with a group of adults for the chance to go into space. Is Liam the best boy for the job?

Read more about Cosmic

Shortlisted

Stop in the Name of Pants!

Louise Rennison

‘Luuuurve God’ Masimo has gone back to Italy for the summer and she finds herself drawn to her old friend Dave the Laugh, who seems to be drawn to her too…

Read more about Stop in the Name of Pants!

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