The power of funny books for children who don't like reading

Published on: 03 November 2017 Author: Pamela Butchart

Children’s author Pamela Butchart loves to pass on funny fiction to children – and here are her absolute favourites.

I’m always keen to recommend books from a wide range of authors and genres.  However, I particularly enjoy recommending funny books for reluctant readers and helping them to find something they engage with (and that makes them LOL!).

Funny books have the power to grab and hold the attention of reluctant or less confident readers and get them hooked on reading. I think this power lies in their accessibility and inevitable feel-good factor. We all love to laugh!             

What makes a good funny book?

The best funny books aren’t just about the jokes. The best ones are those with plenty of heart and a great story that explores relevant themes for children such as friendship, family and feeling out of place. 

Funny books make an important and valuable contribution to children’s fiction. The Roald Dahl Funny Prize did a brilliant job at celebrating and spreading the word about fantastic, high-quality funny fiction which might not otherwise have made it onto children’s fiction prize lists. I’m so pleased that Scholastic have followed on with the LOLLIES (the Laugh Out Loud Awards).

I think it’s important to celebrate and champion funny fiction at all stages. So here are my recommendations for 7 to 14 year olds:

Great funny reads for 7-10s

My top recommendation: The Great Hamster Massacre written by Katie Davies and illustrated by Hannah Shaw

I absolutely LOVE this book! The Great Hamster Massacre is a hilarious story about nine-year-old Anna and her little brother Tom who launch a full-blown investigation into the death of two Russian Dwarf hamsters.

Read our review

I also highly recommend:

  • Penny Dreadful written by Joanne Nadin and illustrated by Jess Mikhail
  • Agatha Parrot and the Floating Head written by Kjarton Poskit and illustrated by David Tazzyman
  • Mr Gum written by Andy Stanton and illustrated by David Tazzyman
  • Diary of a Killer Cat written by Anne Fine and illustrated by Steve Cox

Great funny reads for 8-12s

My top recommendation: The Donut Diaries written by Anthony McGowan and illustrated by David Tazzyman

This book is utter genius! Poor Dermot is obsessed with doughnuts and his mum is making him visit a nutritionist and keep a diary about his doughnut-eating habit and his FEELINGS.  Every character is hilarious! The laughs start on page one and just don’t stop.

I also highly recommend:

Great funny reads for 11+

My top recommendation: Socks Are Not Enough by Mark Lowery

This book follows the unfortunate life of Michael Swarbrick who discovers his parents are secret nudists who are planning to go public. Both books in this hilarious series were shortlisted for the Roald Dahl Funny Prize. I was recently surprised to discover that they are now out of print. However, I’m sure you can still find a few copies in bookshops and libraries so PLEASE give them a read if you can. I guarantee you won’t regret it.

I also highly recommend:

Look out for Pamela’s World Book Day 2018 story: The Baby Brother from Outer Space.

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Warning: these books will make you laugh, snort, giggle, titter, chuckle and chortle.


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