10 of the funniest female characters in children's books

Published on: 07 August 2023 Author: Emily-Jane Clark

The Beasts of Knobbly Bottom author and comedy TV writer Emily-Jane Clark recommends some top books that star girls and women who will make you laugh.

Emily-Jane Clark and the front cover of her book The Beasts of Knobbly Bottom

As the mother of two (hilarious) daughters, I really wanted to make the female characters in my new book series, The Beasts of Knobbly Bottom, not only part of the action BUT part of the comedy too!

We often see boys or dads playing the main comical characters in children's books and films, so I really wanted to show that girls and mums are equally as funny as their male counterparts.

My protagonist, Maggie Mckay, is very cheeky and quick-witted and always manages to find a hilarious loophole in her mum's rules. Meanwhile, her long-suffering mum, Lucy, is no stranger to a good pun herself! In fact, in her honour, I am determined to rebrand 'dad jokes' as 'parent puns'.

I also have a character called Nan Helsing, an outrageously eccentric beast hunter who provides many of the laughs as she battles the creatures of Knobbly Bottom.

I LOVE reading books that make me laugh and it is always a bonus if they feature funny females.

Here are 10 of my favourite hilarious female children's book characters...

An illustration of Pippi Longstocking, a girl with red hair in two plaits walking along looking behind her

Pic: Lauren Child

1. Pippi from Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren

I LOVED this as a child and now enjoy reading it to my children. It's the hilarious story of a carefree 9-year-old who lives with NO grown ups... just a horse and a bag of gold coins!

2. Flossie Teacake from Flossie Teacake's Fur Coat by Hunter Davies

10-year-old Flossie Teacake hates being the youngest sibling and moans about her family to great comic effect. So when she finds a fur coat in her sister's room that turns her into a teenager, she is over the moon. But her adventures as a teen always end in HILARIOUS disaster!

3. Wish from The Wizards of Once by Cressida Cowell

Wish is a young girl Warrior who is forced on an adventure with wizard boy Xar, even though warriors and wizards are sworn enemies. This results in chaos and some very funny dialogue between the two of them.

4. Lily-Rose May from The Princess and the Peas by Caryl Hart, illustrated by Sarah Warburton

I LOVE this story of a girl who hates peas, so is diagnosed with 'being a princess' and sent to live at the palace. However, Lily-Rose May soon wishes she was home with her dad eating peas. I really like Lily-Rose as she is hilariously strong-willed and would literally do anything NOT to eat those peas. She reminds me of myself as a child, but I was like this with all vegetables!

An illustration of a girl laughing with her hand to her mouth from the front cover of Daisy: Accidentally on Purpose by Kes Gray and Nick Sharratt

Pic: Nick Sharratt

5. Daisy AND her mum from the Daisy books by Kes Grey, illustrated by Nick Sharratt

I just love Daisy – she is like both of my daughters. The way NOTHING is her fault has me in stitches. The relationship between her and her mum is also so relatable and funny. The brilliant thing is, once my children had grown out of the picture books, we were able to move on to the chapter books!

6. Polly from the Mr Gum series by Andy Stanton, illustrated by David Tazzyman

I literally laugh out loud at these books about a grumpy, horrible old man called Mr Gum. The protagonist, Polly - who regularly finds herself having to put a stop to one of Mr Gum's evil plots - is brave and kind but also has some very silly lines!

7. Princess Sue from The Worst Princess by Anna Kemp, illustrated by Sara Ogilvie

This is one of my favourite ever picture books. Princess Sue is NOT buying in to the whole fairy tale princess thing. In fact, she is so unimpressed by her handsome prince, she befriends a tea-drinking dragon instead. Just perfect!

An illustration from the front cover of Bad Nana by Sophy Henn - a glamorous grandmother smiling down at her granddaughter, who is smiling backPic: Sophy Henn

8. Bad Nana from the Bad Nana series by Sophy Henn

Jeanie's grandma is one of the most mischievous grandparents in any book I have ever read. Luckily, she is also so much fun – when she is not being embarrassing. Major laughs throughout!

9. Vi from the Vi Spy series by Maz Evans, illustrated by Jez Tuya

What happens when your secret service mum and ex-bad-guy dad get a divorce and so are off their game? You must turn SPY yourself. Vi is a hilarious schoolgirl spy and my daughter and I absolutely fell in love with her. She is the perfect combination of smart and funny!

10. Lily in Looking for Emily by Fiona Longmuir

Not only is this a fantastic mystery, but the main character, Lily, is hilariously quirky. She has just moved to a sleepy seaside town that she thinks is very boring... until she stumbles across a secret museum!

The Beasts of Knobbly Bottom by Emily-Jane Clark, illustrated by Jeff Crowther, is out now.

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