Time for a giggle: Joe Berger picks 5 fantastically funny books

Published on: 17 June 2018 Author: Joe Berger

We could all do with a good old belly laugh at times, and Lyttle Lies: The Pudding Problem author Joe Berger knows just how to make us giggle!

Joe Berger's favourite funny books

That made him the perfect person to choose five funny books guaranteed to make us snigger, snort and chortle...

1. Timmy Failure - Stephan Pastis

Timmy Failure

Stephan Pastis' Timmy Failure books are brilliantly funny - the very definition of deadpan delivery. He's a cartoonist like me, and I really love the way he uses the words to set up the jokes and the pictures to deliver the punchline. It's like he's his own double act!

I spent a large part of my youth wishing I could be a private detective, so I strongly relate to Timmy. I also dig all the subtle Bob Dylan references.

Read our review of Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made

2. Just William - Richmal Crompton

Just William

The Just William books always make me howl with laughter - I had to give up reading them to my daughters because I couldn't go more than two sentences without collapsing in hysterics.

William is such a beautiful creation - a noble, self-righteous knight on an endless quest for fun. It's the seriousness with which he goes about the business of being a boy that make his quite awful escapades so entertaining.

3. Eloise - Kay Thompson


Eloise is an absolute monster - an exhausting, precocious 6-year-old living in The Plaza hotel in New York.

She's an anarchic pest to all the other hotel guests, and runs rings round her nanny and tutor, whilst over-petting her long-suffering dog Weenie and her turtle Skiberdee. She's a nightmare - but hugely funny and charming.

4. Nicholas - Goscinny & Sempé


In some ways, Nicholas is a French William - I wonder if Goscinny was inspired by the Richmal Crompton books. He's a different character, though: more sensitive, but just as capable of exasperating the adults around him.

The thing I really adore about the Nicholas books are the drawings by Sempé - the entire classroom of children function as a character in themselves; they're a tiny shoal pouring out of school into the sunshine, gathered round a playground punch-up or sitting attentively in a lesson.

5. Moomin - The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip

Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip

As well as writing the Moomin books, Tove Jansson drew a daily comic strip in The Evening News in London for about six years during the 1950s. Narrative comic strips like this fascinate me because every strip is a moment or idea in itself, and yet they build into coherent, thoughtful stories just like the books.

It's an extraordinary feat to pull off, and the drawing and compositions are endlessly funny and inventive.

Which titles would make your list of the five funniest children's books? Let us know in the comments below or by tweeting us @BookTrust!

Topics: Funny, Features

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Lyttle Lies: The Pudding Problem

Author: Joe Berger

Sam Lyttle likes to skirt around the truth - but, lately, it seems like lying to avoid getting into trouble is making things even worse. Laugh-out-loud moments and a very cute cat – what more could you want?

Read more about Lyttle Lies: The Pudding Problem


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Ready to keep the laughter going after checking out Joe's recommendations? Kick back and enjoy our picks of snigger-worthy stories.

Lollies Awards

Discover the shortlist

The Lollies Awards celebrate the best in funny children's books - and the shortlist has now been unveiled. The eventual winners will be picked by kids themselves, so get ready for some guaranteed laughs.