So many kids, reluctant readers included, become enthusiastic when they read funny books. Who doesn’t love to laugh and giggle through a story, right?
And in my opinion, any book that gets a child to read — to practice reading — is GOOD. Practice makes progress. (Plus, they won’t be reading Captain Underpants forever!)
We’ve been reading the Wayside School stories at bedtime — and sometimes I get to laughing so much that I can’t keep reading.
Kids enjoy stories that make them laugh. Plus, we need to laugh, too, it’s scientifically proven. 🙂
This means that funny stories are a great way to get kids engaged in a story, especially reluctant readers.
Here’s a huge list of kids’ favorite funny chapter books; books for growing readers ages six to sixteen.
I’ve indicated the age range for each book and marked if it’s a series. Because series are the BEST! Once you like the first book, you can keep reading books in the series.
Go to FUNNY PICTURE BOOKS if you have children under age six. Or pick some funny books from this list and encourage your child to read the one that looks the silliest.
Funny Books for Kids
Narwhal Unicorn of the Sea by Ben Clanton (ages 6 – 8) series
Narwhal is exuberant to meet Jellyfish, his new imaginary friend who is imagining Narwhal, too. You’ll love their carefree adventures — forming a pod, having parties, eating waffles, and imagining. This is a feel-good friendship adventure told in graphic (cartoon) format that kids love! (Next in the series: Super Narwhal and Jelly Jolt.)
Nugget and Hot Dog by Jason Tharp (ages 6 – 9)
Perfect for readers who like silliness, puns, and good conquering evil, this is the story of two friends, Dog and Nugget, who live in Gastropolis and start a kindness club to fight evil like the dastardly Dijon Mustard. (NOTE: This book reads more like a beginning chapter book than an early reader because of the complex vocabulary so even though it says Level 2, I disagree with the leveling.)
Kung Pow Chicken Let’s Get Cracking! by Cyndi Marko (ages 6 – 9) series
Gordon Blue, an ordinary second-grade chicken, accidentally developed superpowers in his uncle’s laboratory. (It happens.) When chickens start losing their feathers all in one POOF!, it’s up to Gordon, aka. Kung Pow Chicken, and his little brother, Egg Drop, to solve this catastrophe before everyone in town ends up feather-less. It’s funny, easy-to-read, and an entertaining story.
All Paws on Deck (Haggis and Tank Unleashed #1) by Jessica Young (series)
In a word: HILARIOUS! These two dog friends with opposite personalities (and intelligence) sail on a fun and silly pirate adventure. You will fall in love with Tank and Haggis.
Bird and Squirrel on Ice by James Burks (ages 6 – 9) series
Okay, this is my new favorite early graphic novel series– it’s absolutely hysterical! The friends crash land in the Penguin world where Bird is dubbed the “Chosen One” –meant to save the penguins from the Great Whale. And it goes to his head. Until he realizes he’s about to be sacrificed… (see also: best chapter book series for 2nd graders)
Dory Fantasmagory by Abby Hanlon (ages 6 – 9) series
Dory is one of my favorite book characters because her imagination is THE BEST! She has three imaginary friends: one monster friend, one fairy godmother that’s actually not a lady, and one bad lady nemesis. This book is totally hilarious and you’ll love the child-like illustrations — it’s a favorite chapter book series for second graders. See all the Dory books here. (See also: best chapter book series for 2nd graders)
Scaredy Squirrel in a Nutshell by Melanie Watt (ages 6 – 10)
Scaredy Squirrel has many fears and therefore, elaborate coping strategies. In the first story, the scariest thing of all is an adorable pom-pom-tailed creature. Maybe he can just play dead?! In the second story, his pizza gets delivered to the wrong spot under his tree — his solution to not touch the ground involves stilts, a t-rex grabber tool, and the fail-safe option of playing dead. But that fluffy-tailed bunny gets his pizza and helpfully sets it where Scaredy Squirrel can get it! NOW what will he do? (Consider all his options and bravely make a new friend!)
The Sleepover and Other Stories (Fox + Chick) by Sergio Ruzzier
The Fox & Chick series continues with another very funny book of stories illustrated with cartoon panels and dialogue bubbles about two best friends, Fox and Chick, each who has very different personalities which are totally lovable. Fox is serious and kind while Chick is goofy and playful. In this group of stories, they have a sleepover where Chick is scared of kangaroos but needs his stuffed kangaroo to sleep. Fox is puzzled by this. In another story, Chick asks Fox for a surprise birthday party — which is hilarious because it turns out that it’s not even Chick’s birthday.
Baloney and Friends Going Up! by Greg Pizzoli (ages 6 – 9) series
Another hilarious graphic novel for growing readers about a group of friends with distinct personalities. From writing a theme song to sleepovers to thinking deep thoughts, this book of stories showcases characters you can’t help but love including Baloney the pig, Bizz the bumblebee, Peanut the horse, and Krabbit the rabbit. Plus, read directions for drawing the characters with emotions in the back.
The Bad Guys #1 by Aaron Blabey (ages 6 – 8) series
A twist on the good vs. bad theme… Mr. Wolf invites other “bad guys” to a meeting with hopes they will join him in being “good”. Lots of drawings and minimal text make this a popular choice for first and second-grade readers who like irony and potty humor. (See also: best chapter book series for 2nd graders)
Cat Kid Comic Club by Dav Pilkey (ages 7 – 10) series
My writing teacher’s heart adores this book about encouraging kids to write their own comics! Plus, it’s totally hilarious. Cat Kid teaches a class for the tadpoles about making your own comic books…which doesn’t go well until the tadpoles get excited about failure and get started writing and drawing. If you like a lot of silliness (including potty humor) with great messages about writing, creativity, and persistence, read this book next.
Pizazz by Sophy Henn (ages 7 – 10)
Illustrated with cartoons and fun fonts, this superhero story is perfect for 8 – 10-year-olds transitioning into middle grade! Our grumbly heroine is actually named Pizazz. Not only is her name embarrassing, she’s embarrassed about her superpower–which she won’t tell us about. Also, Pizazz hates how her superhero duties of saving the world come at most inconvenient times AND even if she’s tired, she still has to go to school! (So not fair.) At school, she is assigned the job of eco monitor which she dislikes until a classmate named Ivy helps her see that they might be able to save the park…without superhero powers. 100% fun, relatable, and entertaining.
Cranky Chicken by Katherine Battersby (ages 7 – 10)
Learn how Cranky Chicken and a worm named Speedy become friends when Cranky “saves” Speedy from a leaf! Subsequent stories with light-hearted, tongue-in-cheek humor show our new friends, Worm and Cranky Chicken, working together to figure out how to be best-feathered friends –even though Worm doesn’t have feathers. Humor and heart — this is a delightful graphic novel that is sure to be a new favorite.
Banana Fox and the Secret Sour Society by James Kochalka (ages 7 – 10) series
If you’re about 7-years-old and like very weird and wild stories that ONLY make sense to kids, I must introduce you to Banana Fox. It’s totally ridiculous humor (not potty humor) that hits the right spots for so many kids. Banana Fox is quite a character whose goofy antics to stop the Secret Sour Society will keep you laughing the entire way through this book
Hound Heroes: Beware the Claw by Todd H. Doodler, illustrated by Todd Goldman (ages 7 – 10) series
Get ready for a new SILLY graphic novel for your beginning readers…When a spaceship crash lands, it gives a group of dog friends superpowers…and superhero outfits. Each dog in the group has a unique personality but none of the dogs take their powers seriously at first because they’re too busy wreaking havoc and goofing around. Until…the evil kitties TAKE OVER THE CITY!! Can the Hound Heroes save the day?
Donut Feed the Squirrels by Mika Song (ages 7 – 10)
Norma and Belly are squirrel friends who really, really want a donut. Can they work together, sneak in a food truck, and have the biggest ever donut party ever? Minimal text, plenty of silliness, and a lovely surprise ending!
Meet Mo and Jo: The Boulder Brothers by Sarah Lynn, illustrated by Pierre Collet-Derby (ages 7 – 10)
If your child likes to laugh, they’ll love these silly stories about two adventurous cave boys. Readers will find a combination of comic bubble dialogue and narrative text. For example, “The skunk liked the stink. Can MO and Jo run faster than the skunk?” is the narrative text while the dialogue bubbles on the same page are “Uh-oh! He mad” and “Run, Mo!” Goofy but it works.
Real Pigeons Fight Crime by Ben Wood (ages 7 – 10) series
In the first of three silly stories, Rock Pigeon is a crime-fighting pigeon who helps Grandpouter and the other park pigeons solve the problem of the vanishing bread crumbs. With hilarious disguises, charming illustrations, quirky characters, and funny mysteries, this is an entertaining romp that is sure to entice even the most reluctant of readers.
Monday into the Cave of Thieves (Total Mayhem #1) by Ralph Lazar (ages 7 – 10) series
Wild and quirky, this un-put-downable adventure filled with illustrations is perfect for you if you like good vs. evil adventures where kid power saves the day! Dash Candoo’s Monday is one crazy adventure after another with Devil Cat attacks, a quadcycle pursuit, a math class secret tunnel, stolen perfume, and so much more. I’m a big fan of this exciting, readable new chapter book and look forward to more books in the entertaining new series. (P.S. And it’s funny with zero potty humor!)
Louie Lets Loose!(Unicorn in the City #1) by Rachel Hamilton, illustrated by Oscar Armelles (ages 7 – 10) series
Louie arrives in New York to be a superstar in a performing arts school. His hilarious cluelessness is the kind of humor that kids love because it’s paired with a genuine, caring heart. In this delightful first adventure, Louie and his friends help raise money for his faun friend’s glasses while getting customers for his favorite place — the Sunshine Sparkle Dust Cafe.
Fitz and Cleo by Jonathan Stutzman, illustrated by Heather Fox (ages 7 – 10)
Want a new graphic novel for readers around ages 8 to 10? In this new book, two ghost siblings adopt a cat, go to the beach, play baseball, and more. Silliness abounds in the stories but their heartwarming relationships steal the show.
Blue, Barry, & Pancakes by Dan & Jason (ages 7 – 10)
This graphic novel adventure begins with a beach ball. Blue the worm doesn’t want to share the beach ball with Barry and Pancakes because of what inevitably happens– they lose it. (Well, it’s swallowed by a whale.) The misadventures continue a silly cause & effect story, where one disaster leads to another even into outer space and a volcano but ends with a sweet celebration of friendship.
Bots #5: A Tale of Two Classrooms by Russ Bolts, illustrated by Jay Cooper (ages 7 – 9) series
The Bot series is funny, adventurous, and engaging to read with comic panels and dialogue, I can see why this beginning chapter book series has gained such a big fan base.
Stinkbomb and Ketchup-Face and the Badness of Badgers by John Dougherty (ages 7 – 9) series
Weird and kooky and very creative! Stinkbomb and his sister, Ketchup-Face think the badgers stole Stinkbomb’s $20. (Because “BAD” is in the name badgers!) The siblings embark on the craziest of adventures including meeting King Toothbrush Weasel. Enjoy the spontaneous singing about jam, actual bad badgers, and a very helpful shopping cart. If you like quirky stories, this book is for you.
Hamster Princess Harriet the Invincible by Ursula Vernon (ages 6 – 9) series
What a HILARIOUS remix of Sleeping Beauty. In this awesome retelling, the princess realizes she can’t die until she’s 12 so therefore, she must be INVINCIBLE!! (All of the books in this series are laugh-out-loud funny.) Guess what she does because of her invincibility? Everything dangerous, of course. Until her 12th birthday arrives… LOVE this series.
Stick Dog by Tom Watson (ages 7 – 10) series
Stick Dog is hilarious. Why is he called Stick Dog? Because our author/narrator can’t draw. And also, because he likes sticks. The funny cartoonish illustrations make this story of stray dogs easy to read, and very entertaining series for kids.
My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish by Mo O’Hara (ages 7 – 10) series
Hysterical and totally believable (not) if your goldfish dies and you bring him back to life only it doesn’t work because he becomes a zombie fish. Now that he’s a zombie, he can mesmerize you with his powerful eyes and you’ll do anything he wants. Watch out!
Bad Kitty: Puppy’s Big Day by Nick Bruel (ages 7 – 10) series
A KID-FAVORITE and one of mine, too!! It’s delightful to read a series where every book is consistently good. Bad Kitty is angry so Puppy calls for help–Uncle Murry comes to the rescue! Only Uncle Murry gets into trouble when he takes Puppy out of the house –without a leash, or a poop bag, or a license! Insert sarcastic messages of cat awesomeness from you-know-who and inventive new canine characters at the pound, and you have the perfect story for beginning readers. (See also: best book series for 3rd graders)
Get to Work, Hercules! (Myth-O-Mania) by Kate McMullan (ages 7 – 10) series
This book got us hooked on the Myth-O-Mania series. It’s so hilarious! Hades narrates the TRUE stories of the Greek Myths with panache and sarcasm. (Apparently, his younger brother Zeus is a big fat liar and edited all the myths to make himself look good.) In this story, Hades watches over his young, not-too-smart nephew, Hercules whom Hera has it out for.
Captain Awesome by Stan Kirby (ages 6 – 9) series
Can Eugene aka. Captain Awesome, save the town from villains without revealing his secret identity? Totally funny — and a great action-packed adventure.
Giants Beware! by Jorge Aguirre illustrated by Rafael Rosado (ages 7+)
Claudette is a dragon-slaying, mischievous girl who tricks her little brother and her best friend (a princess) into questing to kill the dragon. (Don’t worry, there’s no actual dragon killing.) It’s a delightful graphic novel, I loved every second of it. I just gave it to a third grader reluctant reader and his mom said he’s already on his third time through. 🙂
Olga and the Smelly Thing From Nowhere by Elise Gravel (ages 7 – 10) series
If you like kooky books, this book fits the bill. Olga finds an unusual, unknown creature whom she names “MEH” after the sound that it makes. She uses her deductive reasoning to figure out what it is (something new!) and what it likes to eat (olives)! But what will she do when Meh disappears? Here’s what I love about this book… One, the illustrations rock! Two, the narrator’s voice is believable and funny. Three, the plot includes mean girls who aren’t so mean after all.
Mr. Pants Slacks, Camera, Action! by Scott McCormick, illustrated by R. H. Lazzell (ages 6 – 9) series
Mr. Pants gets to borrow his mom’s video camera and his movie-making is filled with silliness. Mr. Pants is great for kids who like graphic novels, mischievous characters, and silliness.
Mal and Chad Belly Flop! by Stephen McCranie (ages 6 – 9) series
A hilarious graphic novel book series about Mal, a young inventor, and his best sidekick, his dog Chad. Perfect for growing readers who love adventure and laughing.
Monkey Me and the New Neighbor by Timothy Roland (ages 6 – 9) series
Clyde turns into a mischievous monkey when he gets excited which ends up being a big disaster when he’s in school. To make matters worse, his principal moves NEXT DOOR. How will he hide his monkey-ness now? Then, he sees his new neighbor’s house being burglarized. Maybe his monkey self can help stop the robbers!?
The Dragonsitter by Josh Lacey illustrated by Garry Parsons (ages 6 – 8) series
Written in increasingly funny (and alarming) letters we learn that Uncle Morton left his pet dragon for Edward and his mom and sister to pet sit — with no directions!! The dragon poops in their shoes, eats their pet bunny, and causes all kinds of destruction which all are the subjects of Edward’s letters to his nowhere-to-be-found uncle. Finally, Edward hears from his uncle who suggests feeding the dragon chocolate. Will Edward’s mom lose her mind? Will the chocolate work?
Dragon Slayer’s Academy by Kate McMullan (ages 6 – 9) series
This is a delightfully funny 20-book series about a boy named Wiglaf who attends a terrible school for dragon slayers, has a pet pig who speaks Pig Latin (HAHA) and is friends with Eric, who is Erica, a princess longing for adventure and disguised as a boy. The hapless and greedy school director sends his students to kill the dragons and steal their gold. In order to kill the dragons the students must find figure out the dragon’s weakness – in the first book, the kids learn that it’s bad knock-knock jokes that make the dragon explode!
The Adventures of Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey (ages 6 – 9) series
A KID FAVORITE. (Not particularly a favorite of mine but . . . ) Mischievous friends George and Harold hypnotize their school principal so he believes he’s a comic book superhero, Captain Underpants, who chases bad guys in his underwear. I don’t particularly enjoy these books but I know a kazillion boys who think these are the BEST, FUNNIEST books ever.
Pug Pals Two’s a Crowd by Flora Ahn (ages 6 – 9) series
Sunny’s whole life is turned upside down when her owner brings home a new sister, Rosy. It’s hard to share her owner’s time, and especially hard to share her toys. Adorable illustrations show these personality-filled pugs who eventually develop a solid sister bond while looking for Sunny’s lost Mr. Bunny toy. The text is quite simple.
Mercy Watson to the Rescue by Kate DiCamillo (ages 6 – 9) series
Mercy lives with Mr. and Mrs. Watson. They feed her buttered toast and take her for drives in their convertible. One night, Mercy gets scared and decides to sleep with Mr. and Mrs. Watson. Can you imagine what happens next? Hilarious and quirky, this is a silly series filled with many amazing adventures.
Gooney Bird Green by Lois Lowry (ages 6 – 9) series
One of the most underrated books and so, so funny. It’s an absolutely charming story that reminds me a little of Junie B. Jones but without the naughtiness or sass. Gooney Bird is a very unique student who is unlike anyone else. (And not just because she wears pajamas and tutus to school.) Her adult-like confidence and seemingly made-up life stories enthrall the entire class (even the teacher) but as Gooney Bird says, she only tells absolutely true stories. But how can these incredible stories be true? You’ll see… (Teachers, you will totally crack up with the realistic portrayal of the kids in this classroom.)
Franny K. Stein by Jim Benton (ages 7 – 9) series
Franny is a misunderstood mad scientist. You’ll love these wacky and laugh-out-loud adventures about Franny’s scientific experiments gone wrong.
Diary of a Minecraft Zombie Book 1: A Scare of a Dare by Herobrine Books (ages 6 – 10) series
Short sentences with witty observations on life from the perspective of a Minecraft zombie will crack you up. I was surprised that this was such an entertaining, funny read. Nothing scary. Just fun. Especially for Minecraft enthusiasts. (These are free on Kindle for Kindle Unlimited subscribers.)
Doodle Adventures: The Search for Slimy Space Slugs! by Mike Lowery (ages 8 – 11) series
A space-adventure plot narrated by the hilarious Carl the Duck that invites YOU, the reader, to find the missing priceless artifact requiring bravery, heroism, anddrawing. Yes, drawing. Along the journey to retrieve the artifact from Captain Sleezoog (he’s a slug), you’ll be tasked with doing your part. So draw a spacesuit, pack everything you need, finalize the rocket design and get ready for adventure. It may sound contrived but it’s actually a fun, engaging adventure that any kid, artist or not, will love. Next in the series: The Pursuit of the Pesky Pizza Pirate!
The Case of the Weird Blue Chicken by Doreen Cronin, illustrated by Kevin Cornell (ages 6 – 9) series
In this adventure, the chickens are asked to investigate who has stolen the blue bird’s house. And despite the chickens’ inability to actually investigate anything, they do discover the culprit and a solution. Very entertaining!
Crime Biters: My Dog Is Better Than Your Dog by Tommy Greenwald (ages 7 – 10) series
This is a funny beginning chapter book about a boy who is convinced (rightly so?!) that his rescue dog is a crime-solving, vampire, genius!
Big Bad Detective Agency by Bruce Hale (ages 6 – 9) series
The Big Bad Wolf aka. Wolfgang is the only suspect in the destruction of the Little Pigs house. And he doesn’t have an alibi. But he didn’t do it! He partners with the cheerful 4th Little Pig, Ferkel, (who knew!?) to find the real culprit. It’s a humorous fairy-tale mash-up.
Shivers! The Pirate Who’s Afraid of EVERYTHING by Annabeth Bondor-Stone & Connor White (ages 6 – 9) series
Poor land-locked Shivers. He’s terrified of everything, especially snails. But when his sea-faring family of pirates is captured, Shivers is their only hope for rescue. Luckily he meets the daring and adventurous Margo who gets them off of dry land, teaches Shivers about sword fighting and helps him find and rescue his parents. This book is very comical and will keep your kids thoroughly entertained.
Lulu’s Mysterious Mission by Judith Viorst, illustrated by Kevin Cornell (ages 7 – 10) series
Don’t you just love our little stinker of a heroine? The quirky narrator warns us RIGHT AWAY that there may or may not even be a mysterious mission, that the story actually about Lulu’s babysitter. And, indeed, it is about the best babysitter in the world, a trained professional, who is good with problem children like our Lulu. Hilarious and entertaining!
Roscoe Riley Rules: Never Glue Your Friends to Chairs by Katherine Applegate (ages 6 – 9) series
This is the first book in the series of the innocent but funny misadventures of Roscoe Riley. As you’ll learn, it is those misadventures that lead to Roscoe’s extensive list of rules for his own behavior. (Which might be common sense to us, but they aren’t to Roscoe. At least not until after the fact.) In this story, Roscoe wants to help his teacher with his unruly classmates during their school performance. His idea to help is super gluing kids to chairs and bug headbands onto heads! Needless to say, this latest disaster leads to more rules.
Frankie Pickle by Eric Wight (ages 7 – 10) series
Your kids will totally relate to this imaginative boy whose wild adventures are written in comic form and awesome. For example, instead of cleaning his room, Frankie becomes an explorer in the jungle.
The Misadventures of Salem Hyde Spelling Trouble by Frank Cammuso (ages 7 – 10) series
Salem Hyde is an impulsive but very cute little witch who gets confused between spelling words and casting spells. It’s like Calvin turned witch and female. Fantastic!
They Didn’t Teach This in Worm School: One Worm’s Tale of Survival by Simone Lia (ages 7 – 10)
I LOVED the wry humor in this beginning, hilarious chapter book. It pairs two of the most unlikely of traveling companions together– a worm and a bird. The bird, Laurence, thinks he’s a flamingo and wants to journey to Lake Nakuru National Park where the other flamingos live. The worm, Marcus, besides worrying he’s about to be breakfast, thinks that Laurence looks like a chicken. What do you the reader think? Never the less, in hopes that Laurence WON’T eat him for breakfast, Marcus offers to help Laurence navigate to Lake Nakuru. As they travel “the world”, the two develop an unexpected, lovely friendship.
Dragonbreath by Ursula Vernon (ages 7 – 10) series
Hysterical! I couldn’t stop laughing! Danny Dragonbreath and his best friend, Wendell, always seem to be headed for disaster. You’ll love the comic illustrations throughout the narrative text. Great characters and plots make this series hard to put down. (see also: best book series for 3rd graders)
Dolphin Girl Trouble in Pizza Paradise by Zach Smith (ages 7 – 10)
This hilarious story is about the weird and ridiculous antics of an unusual superhero, bizarre villains, and the Pizza Paradise restaurant. Dolphin girl uses her echolocation to learn Sea Cow’s evil plot. She recruits her friend Keith who becomes Otter Boy to help her thwart Sea Cow’s nefarious plan to turn Pizza Paradise customers into zombies and take over the restaurant. Gasp! So evil. What a silly adventure!
Jop and Blip Wanna Know #1 by Jim Benton (ages 6 – 10)
If you like kooky stories, playful characters, and random facts, this beginning graphic novel for ages 6 to 10 is a hilarious and informative reading experience. Jop and Blip ponder topics like farts, words that begin with silent letters, perspective, dragons, and more — and as they discuss, you’ll learn a thing or ten.
Lucy & Andy Neanderthal by Jeffrey Brown (ages 7 – 10) series
Little funny stories about the life of a Neanderthal family are intermixed with factual information about the actual history — hunting practices, size of large cats, that sort of thing — in this graphic novel from the author of the Jedi Academy series.
Dying to Meet You 43 Cemetary Road by Kate Klise, illustrated by M. Sarah Klise (ages 7 – 10) series
The 43 Old Cemetery Road early reader series is a punny adventure with a kid, a cat, and a grumpy ghost written in really cool writing style of letters, emails, newspaper clippings, jokes, and more. These chapter books are addictive!
Nanny Piggins and the Runaway Lion by R. A. Spratt, illustrated by Dan Santat (ages 7 – 10) series
This quirky adventure is about a dad who detests his children and tries to get rid of them (to Nicaragua in this case) but their amazing nanny (who is a pig) always figures out how to outsmart the dad. I love Nanny Piggins!
Galactic Hot Dogs: Cosmoe’s Wiener Getaway by Max Brallier, illustrated by Rachel Maguire and Nichole Kelley (ages 7 – 10) series
This funny book for kids is filled with non-stop action and danger, potty humor, space adventures, zombie aliens, mutant worm wrestling, a misunderstood evil princess, good friends, video games, and a diabolical, hunting-them-down evil queen. Not to mention loads of cartoon illustrations throughout and hilarious writing with a kazillion exclamation marks!!!! I see what kids are loving now — and see why it’s a recent favorite for so many kids. Book 2, The Weiner Strikes Back is also out now, too. (see also: best book series for 3rd graders)
Wedgie & Gizmo by Suzanne Selfors (ages 7 – 10) series
Dog owners will nod along with the ADHD stream of conscious narration of Wedgie, the barkie dog who LOVES everything. Contrast this with the diabolical plotting narration of the evil genius guinea pig Gizmo who is horrified to be living in a Barbie house instead of his own “habitat.” The two pets point of views show a newly blended family which Gizmo’s servant/owner, Elliot, is not happy about. Selfors skillfully addresses this family in transition through the humorous lens of the two pets.
Einstein The Class Hamster by Janet Tashjian, illustrated by Jake Tashjian (ages 6 – 9) series
Einstein, like his namesake, is super smart. His dream is to host a game show for the class but since he’s a hamster, that’s a problem. But one student, Ned, can actually hear Einstein talking. Will Ned help Einstein get his big chance while the teacher naps? Filled with awesome cartoon-like illustrations, hilarity, and trivia, this is sure to be a hit with beginning readers. Also, see the other book in the series: Einstein the Class Hamster and the Very Real Game Show.
Lunch Lady by Jarrett J. Krosoczka (ages 7 – 10) series
If you haven’t read these addictive and hilarious graphic novels, they are a must — anyone who has eaten lunch in school will appreciate the humor.
The Perilous Princess Plot (Buckle and Squash) by Sarah Courtauld (ages 7 – 10) series
Very sarcastic and funny humor will keep you entertained throughout this book about a silly sister obsessed with princes and her more steady sister who rescues her from a kidnapping plot. Also, the great illustrations will help beginning readers enjoy this beginning chapter book.
Ramona the Pest by Beverly Cleary (ages 6 – 9) series
Ramona isn’t trying to be a pest, she’s just a bit mischievous. You’ll crack up at her hilarious misadventures.
First Cat in Space by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Shawn Harris
Absurdly hysterical, this is a bizarrely perfect adventure in space! When rats eat a second of the moon, the world’s leaders send their secret weapon– a cat and a stowaway toenail-clipping robot. The two adventurers meet the Queen of Moonopolis who leads them beneath the moon’s surface through the mine tunnels where they have more silly adventures. Then, the spaceship’s computer joins the Rat King’s side with revenge in mind and when the heroes arrive at the Rat King’s they GET CAPTURED. But, don’t worry — somehow they’ll escape. Right?
The Beast and the Bethany by Jack Meggitt-Phillips, illustrated by Isabelle Follath (ages 8 – 12) series
If you like illustrated books that make you laugh, don’t miss this entertaining fantasy. Ebenezer, a man over 500 years old, is kept alive by a monstrous Beast who gives him youth cream in return for exotic foods…and now the Beast wants to eat a child. Still wanting to be youthful, Ebenezer adopts the rudest girl at a local orphanage, Bethany, and begins to fatten her up. She is horrid for a while until she’s not…and Ebenezer feels so bad that he confesses his evil plan. Together, find a solution to get rid of the Beast and get a happy ending! (Or do they?)
The Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney (ages 8 – 12) series
One of the most popular book series ever, The Diary of a Wimpy Kid, shares the hilarious stories of Greg, in his own words and drawings. Life in middle school is not easy. Greg’s here to prove it. Box set here. (See this on the best book series for 4th-grade list.)
Phoebe and Her Unicorn: A Heavenly Nostrils Chronicle by Dana Simpson (ages 8- 12) series
Sarcastic and hilarious, this is a laugh-out-loud comic book story about a precocious young girl and her reluctant unicorn “best friend”. (See also: best book series for 4th grade list.)
Big Nate Welcome to My World by Lincoln Peirce (ages 8 – 12) series
Nate’s real-life adventures will keep your kids laughing from the first page to the last. These are great books for reluctant readers. Boxed set here. (See this on the best book series for 4th grade list.)
Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Skottie Young (ages 8 -12)
If you like quirky humor, then this is your perfect book. Because you will never believe what happens when the kids’ father goes out to get more milk. He doesn’t even get the milk but he does . . . run into pirates, aliens, and all sorts of incredible things!
Middle School: The Worst Years of my Life by James Patterson and Chris Tebbetts, illustrated by Laura Park (ages 8 – 12) series
Totally hilarious premise and fantastic writing! Rafe’s goal in middle school is to break every single rule. You can imagine how his plan will go, right? Filled with cartoon-like illustrations, this story is going to crack you up. (See this also on the best chapter books for 6th graders list.)
The Terrible Two by Mac Barnett and Jory John, illustrated by Kevin Cornell (ages 8 – 12) series
My daughter read this first and begged me to read it immediately. It’s SUCH a funny book for kids (and series)! Plus, you can learn some valuable cow trivia in this first story. But, it’s mostly the hilarious adventure of two pranksters who eventually work together to pull off the biggest prank of all time — a prank that will ensure they get April Fool’s Day off from school. (See also: best book series for 4th grade list.)
Anyone But Ivy Pocket by Caleb Krisp (ages 8 – 12) series
I read many parts out loud to my kids while I was reading this book — they were just so funny!! Now my kids are addicted to this series, too. Quirky (really quirky) but lovable Ivy’s adventures involve a sinister ghost, a mystical jewel, and a surprising destiny. (See this book and more on best books for 5th graders list.)
Strubble Town Squirrel Do Bad by Stephan Pastis (ages 8 – 12)
Because of her overprotective dad, Wendy the Wanderer is stuck inside all day, every day. Until her dad takes a trip and she gets an inattentive teenage babysitter. Before her dad leaves, he reminds Wendy that even the smallest thing can have big consequences. And with that, you might be able to predict that this story will be a cascade of cause and effect mayhem that is funny and also, poignant. Wendy’s first small action is feeding Squirrley McSquirrel a surgery Mooshy drink. The consequence? Squirrely goes crazy around the town and sets off a domino-like chain reaction of events that you couldn’t predict and will keep you laughing out loud.
Once Upon a Tim by Stuart Gibbs (ages 8 – 12)
Hilarious, illustrated, and perfect for fantasy and adventure fans! Tim and his sister Belinda are peasants who hope to improve their lot in life so they sign up as knights for a not-very-brave prince and his so-called magician sidekick to find and rescue Princess Grace from a monster. Helpful foreshadowing, a strong narrative voice, and humor throughout aren’t all that this book brings to readers, it also includes helpful life lessons from Belinda about the patriarchy and great vocabulary words (which are helpfully indicated so your parents will know the IQ benefits).
The Thrifty Guide to Ancient Rome by Jonathan Stokes, illustrated by David Sossella (ages 8 – 12) series
If Ancient Rome is your preferred destination, you’ll need your handy handbook close by to make sure you survive — which seems to be unlikely since, since as the book says, “Rome is an absolute deathtrap.” Filled with tongue in cheek hilarity while also being boldly informative about the historical topic! These are my new favorite history books.
Plants vs. Zombies by Paul Tobin and Ron Chan (ages 8 – 12) series
Yes, there are zombies and kids with plants trying to kill the zombies (just like the video game) but you’ll be surprised how much irony and word play is in this story.
Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume (ages 8 – 12) series
This has been a classic humorous book, one that has entertained kids for years and years reading how fed up Peter is of his three-year-old little brother. How can he survive his pest of a brother and fourth grade?
The Croc Ate My Homework by Stephan Pastis (ages 8 – 12) series
This cartoon book is so funny I can hardly stand it. My kids LOVED this book. It’s from the author of the Timmy Failure books and the Pearls Before Swine comic strip which curated especially for younger readers. The crocs are not the smartest and their stupidity will keep you thoroughly entertained. You’ll be sharing page after page with your family, friends, and neighbors.
Wayside School by Louis Sachar (ages 8 – 12) series
Old school humor at it’s best! These side-splitting books describe a wacky school with crazy teachers and even crazier events. (See this on the best book series for 4th grade list.)
Timmy Failure by Stephan Pastis (ages 8 – 12) series
Timmy is a clueless detective with a polar bear sidekick. Their adventures will make your reader laugh out loud! (See also: best book series for 4th grade list.)
The Twits by Roald Dahl (ages 8 – 12)
In the typical dark humor of Dahl, the Twits are mean and awful and we can’t help but crack up at every bad thing that comes there way.*ALL Roald Dahl books are weirdly funny. See a complete Roald Dahl book list and printable booklet here.*
Belly Up by Stuart Gibbs series
Was the FunJungle’s hippo murdered? Teddy and Summer think so. Mystery, adventure, and humor will keep your readers on the edge of their seats in this unique story with quirky characters. (Also on the best books for 5th graders list)
Knucklehead: Tall Tales and Almost True Stories of Growing up Scieszka by Jon Scieszka
Growing up Scieszka is a WILD time and will crack you up with fantastic, humorous writing.
Smile by Raina Telgemeier
Raina shares her growing up stories with humor and amazing art in the books: Smile, Sisters, and Drama. My daughter read Sisters four times the first week she owned it; they’re excellent books and quite addictive. Boxed set here. (See this on best books for 5th graders list.)
The Worst Class Trip Ever by Dave Barry (ages 8 – 12) series
Hilarious. Of course. While on a class trip to Washington D.C., Wyatt and his best friend, Matt, are positive they’ve discovered a plot to blow up the White House. Wyatt’s crush, Suzanna, helps the friends make a plan, and as you can imagine, disaster and humor strike as they try to stop the bombing.
Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger (ages 8 – 12) series
A funny but poignant story of middle-school angst and discovery! Unpopular Dwight can make origami Star Wars characters. When his puppet of Yoda comes to life, just like Yoda, the origami Yoda is wise and helpful during the many trials of 6th grade.
Pie in the Sky by Remy Lai
Pie in the Sky is an insightful, funny, and poignant look at the struggles of immigrating to a new country (Australia) and the difficulties of learning English along with growing up and grieving the loss of a father. Jingwen’s observations and wit make him a likable main character and the illustrations capture the depth and flavors of his experiences. He likens learning English to becoming human. Because a big part of his life centers around baking cakes from growing up in a bakery and baking with his papa, after school with his brother, he bakes the cakes that his father wanted to include at his dream Pie in the Sky bakery. (Even though it’s against his mother’s rules.)
The Wishmakers by Tyler Whitesides (ages 9 – 12) series
If you like goofy stories with magic and adventure, you’re going to love this story. It’s about a foster kid named Ace who opens a peanut butter jar only to release a genie named Ridge. Ridge tells Ace that Ace is a Wishmaker and that he must complete a mission in seven days OR ELSE all dogs and cats will turn into zombies … and destroy mankind. So begins a wild quest across America. And even though Ace has unlimited wishes, every wish has a (usually weird) consequence.
The Jolly Regina: The Unintentional Adventures of the Bland Sisters by Kara LaReau, illustrated by Jen Hill series
Even before their parents disappeared, Jaundice and Kale Bland loathed excitement and adventure. But their boring existence is rudely disrupted when they are kidnapped by all-female pirates. Who would have thought they could adapt to pirate life, search for their long-lost pirate parents, and return home with the exact same desire for boring as when they left? Funny and very entertaining!
The Tapper Twins Go to War (with each other) by Geoff Rodkey (ages 8 – 12) series
What I love about this funny book is the true-to-life depiction of the twins. As the pair seeks revenge upon each other, they feel justified and sort of guilty at the same time. (Of course, this doesn’t stop either of them though.) The interjecting texts between the parents, mostly unsure of how to handle parenting these twins perfectly balance our view of the family. Also, it’s written in interviews, text messages, photos, handwritten additions, and screenshots which is appealing to our kids who live with these styles of communications every day.
The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy, illustrated by Todd Harris (ages 7 – 10) series
The princes in the fairy tales aren’t as famous as their princesses but in this story, it’s all about them! Kicked out of their castles, these princes turn from bumbling idiots into heroes and save their kingdoms with hilarity and adventure!
The Serpent’s Secret by Sayantani Dasgupta (ages 8 – 12) series
This story pulls you in from the first page. Kiranmala discovers on her 12th birthday that she’s a princess from another realm and her parents are trapped in a black hole-type place. But there’s a lot more she’ll learn — like who her real parents are (yikes!) and that demons can be your friends. The prince’s demon grandma, Ai-Ma, is my FAVORITE character. She says things like “Be good, sweet beetle-dung toadstools.” Okay, Kiranmala’s parents are super awesome, too. You’ll love every second of this entertaining, Indian mythology adventure.
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson
Laugh-out-loud funny! This is what happens when the worst family in the town gets cast in the Christmas pageant at church. What makes it even funnier is that the Heardmans have never heard the Christmas story before so their interpretations are not quite spot on…
The Last Last Day of Summer by Lamar Giles, illustrated by Dapo Adeola
If you’re a fan of wild and wacky stories, this is the book for you. Cousins Otto and Sheed accidentally stop time, freezing all the people in the town. Mostly. Because a sinister Mr. Flux on a gigantic beast can move about as can all the people related to time like A.M. and P.M.and Father Time. Throw in some unexpected plot twists and excellent writing and it adds up to a delightful adventure that just proves you should be careful what you wish for… While this isn’t totally realistic fiction because it’s well, magical realism, it is a fun summer vacation-type of adventure worth including on this list.
Wink by Rob Harrell
I highly recommend this funny, standout cancer story based on the author’s own life. When Ross is diagnosed with a rare kind of tumor, he immediately starts radiation treatment. School becomes pretty challenging because his eye drips goop and his hair starts falling out in clumps– among other things he makes comedic with cartoon drawings. A goofy, kind-hearted radiation tech gets Ross interested in alternative punk music, and in order to impress a girl, Ross asks the tech for guitar lessons. Turns out, the guitar and his new music, help Ross express his frustrations and find joy again, leading to some surprising results — like a new, unexpected friend. (Note: There are a few bad words.)
A Whole Nother Story by Cuthbert Soup (ages 8 – 12) series
Mr. Cheeseman, his three relatively odor-free children, a psychic hairless dog, and a sock puppet named Steve are on the run. Why? Because Mr. Cheeseman invented a time machine, of course. Now they’re being chased by international super spies, top-secret government agents, and a genius monkey. Dr. Cuthbert Soup, the head of the Center of Unsolicited Advice, narrates this wild adventure. (See this also on the best chapter books for 6th graders list.)
Shoe Wars by Liz Pichon
Ruby and Bear’s dad is a gentle shoe inventor in the Shoebox neighborhood of Shoe Town who works for the evil Wendy Wedge. He’s just perfected a flying shoe design and plans to enter it in the prestigious Golden Shoe Contest. But, Wendy gets word of these shoes she plans to steal them for herself…or put their dad in jail. It’s up to Ruby and Bear to outwit Wendy and her nasty son, fix the flying shoes, rescue their dad, and win the contest.
The Great Treehouse War by Lisa Graff
When Winnie’s parents divorce, they become obsessed with dividing everything up equally and outdoing each other. So, to make it fair Winnie spends three days each week with each parent. Wednesdays she spends by herself in a treehouse. And Winnie loves this break from her crazy parents. Then, when she learns she’s in danger of flunking fifth grade, she decides to stay in her treehouse until her parents stop their competing madness. Soon her school friends join her with their own parental demands. This is a fun-filled, entertaining story with heart!
Julius Zebra: Rumble with the Romans! by Gary Northfield
Zebra and his fellow African savanna animals are captured and forced to fight in the Roman Colosseum. The animal characters are lovably wacky, the action is comedic, and the cartoon illustrations are perfect. You might even learn a bit of Roman history while you’re reading! Great for everyone but especially reluctant readers who love funny books.
Surviving the Applewhites by Stephanie S. Tolan series
The artistic Applewhite family offers to homeschool Jake after he’s expelled from yet another school. Jake moves in with this unusual family to attend their Creative Academy but clashes with E.D., one of the not-so-artistic children. Quirky and funny.
A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein (ages 7+)
Silverstein’s poems always delight young readers with silliness and humor. A must-own!
Funny Girl: Funniest. Stories. Ever. by Betsy Bird (ages 8 – 12)
I chuckled through most of these funny short stories — especially Deborah Underwood’s story that continued throughout the book about a dog and cat advice writers. Hilarious! Funny stories from award-winning and bestselling authors including Cece Bell, Sophie Blackall, Libba Bray, Shannon Hale, Lisa Graff, and Raina Telgemeier.