Ten bonkers books to make children laugh

Published on: 25 June 2024

Author-illustrator Nadia Shireen recommends ten hilarious reads... 

What’s life like without funny things? Rubbish and boring, that’s what. Serious books about sad horses and noble wizards are all well and good, but sometimes we just want to stick our heads in a bucket of jelly and have a chuckle. Though that would be hard to do with a mouthful of jelly, but you know what I mean. Here are some of my faves. 

My Headteacher is a Vampire Rat! by Pamela Butchart  

This is one of the Baby Aliens series of books about a bunch of mates called Izzy, Zac, Jodi and Maisie who basically run around their school getting into all sorts of wild adventures involving vampires, werewolves, and yetis… or maybe they just have really overactive imaginations? You decide.  

Murray is a cat, who belongs to a wizard. The only problem is he’s a really rubbish wizard, who accidentally cast a spell on Murray’s catflap. So now every time Murray pops outside to do normal cat things, like have a wee, he accidentally wanders into another dimension. What a hassle! Along for the ride is a bunny called Bun, who used to be an actual bun. And all Bun can say is “Bun!” but Murray doesn’t seem to mind. A fantastic, fast-moving comic caper  

Every time a young girl called Astrid Atomic goes to bed she actually zooms off into OUTER SPACE! Which is quite strange if you think about it, but she seems to like it. Her pals aboard the spaceship Stardust include a massive alien called Beryl and a duck called Professor Quackers who invents lots of fancy gadgets (which go wrong most of the time). Alex T. Smith is such a funny writer and his latest caper is a total hoot.  

So far there are six Rabbit and Bear books, and every one of them is an absolute smasher. I absolutely love Jim Field’s expressive, atmospheric and yes, funny illustrations. The stories revolve around Rabbit and Bear pootling about the place, and they are rather poetically written. Yet they also contain lots of mentions of poo, which is always amusing as far as I’m concerned.  

When I worked in LondonI’d always see scary pigeons with only one leg and half a wing hopping about trying to steal bits of people’s sandwiches. I don’t think Dave Pigeon would be that needlessly aggressive but decide for yourself as there are FIVE Dave Pigeon books and they are very funny indeed. 

Barry Loser has quite an unfortunate name, but he is not a loser at all, actually. Jim Smith is very good at writing funny character names, like Bunky and Nancy Verkenwerken. He is also brilliant at making up silly words and is SO annoyingly clever he has written 11 Barry Loser books and then made an extra THREE Barry Loser comic books on top. He is obviously a TOTAL WINNER.  

Happy Hills by Sophy Henn 

This is a fizzingly brilliant new comic book that is mega-kawaii but also extremely silly and funny. It’s about a unicorn called Ace who discovers a place called Happy Hills that is populated by entirely bonkers characters. It’s extremely colourful and feels a bit like eating a massive bag of Tangfastics in one go. 

Calvin and Hobbes was a brilliant, very popular American comic strip which I discovered during the 1990s. There are quite a few collections out there, and I can’t think of anything that cheers me up quite as much than leafing through one of them. The comics are about everything and nothing, as Calvin – a very imaginative young boy – negotiates life with the help of his friendly and wise stuffed tiger, Hobbes, who only he can see. One of the very best things in the world.  

As well as being an author, David O’Doherty is also a comedian, so if these books were unfunny then something would be seriously wrong. Luckily, these books are totally hilarious. They are survival handbooks apparently written by someone called Dr Noel Zone, who gives out useless advice about what to do if a shark leaps out of the toilet or if your granny becomes a robot. Extremely silly – you have been warned.  

I know, I know, everyone knows about Wimpy Kid. EXCEPT I sometimes think it’s worth saying that these books are GENUINELY EXTREMELY FUNNY. They make me laugh out loud. Sometimes when things are popular and successful, we can assume they are not very good. This is not true of the Wimpy Kid books. They are really very good indeed. So there. 

I hope you have enjoyed this list. It’s only a short one and I know there are loads of other funny books out there, so why not let BookTrust know, and then we can all hold hands and laugh together until we puke. Hooray! 

The Grimwood series by Nadia Shireen is out now. 


Topics: Funny, Features


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