We adore funny books – they are the ultimate in engaging children to read, especially new or reluctant readers. Funny makes us feel good, funny can keep us engaged and builds reading stamina and resilience. There is no reason not to!
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Toto the Ninga Cat and the Great Snake Escape by Dermot O’Leary 5+
This book is perfect to engage reluctant readers, for children who have just started to read on their own or as a read aloud while your child enjoys the illustrations. Both parents and children will love this fully tale and may even learn something about friendship and including others, especially those who are different. The book will also introduce some great vocabulary in a funny and engaging way. The Year 2 children in my school can’t put in down and in Year 5 they are reading it in a day!
Synopsis: Toto is almost totally blind but has learned to trust her senses from a ninja cat-master who taught her back in Italy where they were born. Take Toto, her brother Silver, one king cobra, a couple of hungry tigers and you have a funny, exciting animal adventure.
My daughter read this book in a week and is now onto the next and begging for more for Christmas. It is an easy, funny and relaxed read for more confident readers and perfect for supporting children move on from reading picture books. Very funny and also with some important lessons about not making assumptions.
Synopsis: Izzy and her friends are SO EXCITED about their school trip. They’re going camping and there’ll be marshmallows and no washing and everything. But then WEIRD things start happening! There are howling sounds at night, and some sausages have gone missing, and it’s nearly a full moon…But it’s when they see their new teacher’s hairy legs that they KNOW! There’s a werewolf on the school trip and they’re all DOOMED!
The Ice Monster by David Williams 7+
While we offer a huge range of classic and brand new engaging texts for all ages at our school, David Walliams is our long time and current king at school in engaging reluctant readers. Many parents express concern that there are other books out there that they would like their children to read that are perhaps ‘better written’ or ‘will help them lean more’ and of that there is no doubt but as country of screen addicts and of falling literacy engagement, we owe David Walliams a lot. Children who have always felt they disliked reading, or are not good at it have been captivated and their attitudes transformed by his witty and engaging tales. He writes for all children and in his stories are elements that all children, from all corners of the country can relate to. Yes they may only read his books for a while, and yes that can be frustrating but they will move on, better, more confident and engaged readers because of it I can assure you. The added bonus is that his stories introduce a really wide range of new vocabulary and lessons about childhood, friendship, family and what it means to be a decent person.
Synopsis: This is the story of a ten-year-old orphan and a 10,000-year-old mammoth… When Elsie, an orphan on the streets of Victorian London, hears about the mysterious Ice Monster – a woolly mammoth found at the North Pole – she’s determined to discover more… A chance encounter brings Elsie face to face with the creature, and sparks the adventure of a lifetime – from London to the heart of the Arctic!
Iguana Boy Saves the World With a Triple Cheese Pizza by James Bishop 7+
A crazy, funny world of superheros and pizzas. Perfect to read to your child or for beginning readers.
Synopsis: Dylan has wanted a superpower for as long as he can remember, especially since his brother and sister have got really cool ones. But when his wish finally comes true, Dylan is MIGHTILY disappointed. For Dylan has become … Iguana Boy. He can talk to Iguanas … RUBBISH! And when supervillain Celina Shufflebottom kidnaps all the superheroes in London, Dylan must work out how to use his new team of chatty iguanas to save the day. He’s going to have to think outside the box, (the pizza box), if he’s going to become the hero he’s always dreamed of. If he’s going to make Iguana Boy cool.
The Legend of Kevin: A Roly-Poly Flying Pony Adventure by Phillip Reeve 7+
Very funny and engaging for children of all ages, this magical adventure also carries a message about friendship and helping others.
Synopsis: Max is a young boy living in an ordinary tower block. He longs for adventure in his life – then one day – DOOF! – a flying pony called Kevin crashes into his flat, blown in by a magical storm! The storm causes a huge flood and soon Max’s town submerged by water. Luckily for the town, Max has a flying pony to come to the rescue, and luckily for Kevin, he has a new best friend and a constant supply of his favourite thing – biscuits. Together Max and Kevin will embark on many wild adventures together . . .
Wigglesbottom Primary: The Magic Hamster by Pamela Butchart 7+
This story is perfect for new readers and will leave them clamouring for more. The texts is easily decodable and introduces new words in a hilarious and engaging way. The classroom setting is one that children can easily relate to. A fantastic book to start them on their independent reading journey.
Synopsis: Stories of primary school mayhem as 2F set out to solve the real mysteries of life. Does the classroom hamster have magical powers? When Lauren swallows a fly, will she ACTUALLY turn into one? And who, or what, is ROBOT BOY?
Head Kid by David Baddiel 8+
One of the best books I have found lately to engage reluctant readers, this book has not been on the shelf at our school since it arrived and we have quite a few copies! Everyone in KS2 is after it and for good reason. This story is funny, exciting and magical with some endearing moments and some important lessons to be learned.
Synopsis: From the million-copy bestselling author of THE PARENT AGENCY and BIRTHDAY BOY comes a wildly entertaining wish-fulfilment adventure that asks the question: what would happen if the strictest head teacher swapped bodies with the naughtiest kid in school? Bracket Wood is about to be visited by the school inspectors. But there’s one big problem: Ryan Ward. The maestro of practical jokes, Ryan has played so many tricks that in the end the Head Teacher just walks out. And then the new Head Teacher, Mr Carter, arrives. A man so strict even the teachers are scared of him. So imagine his surprise – and Ryan’s – when they swap bodies. Now Ryan is Head Teacher – and his mortal enemy is one of his pupils. It’s every naughty kid’s dream! But soon Bracket Wood School is in a total mess – and only its worst ever pupil can fix it…
Web Wabbit by Lisa Evans 9+
A hilarious and slightly bizarre tale with adventure, peril and also some charming and heartwarming moments. What more could a child ask for? Children from 8 upwards will enjoy this story and older children will enjoy reading it on their own. Themes include appreciating your family being resilient in the face of adversity. Wed Wabbit has been nominated for the CLIP Carnegie Medal 2018
Synopsis: You’re called Fidge and you’re nearly eleven. You’ve been hurled into a strange world. You have three companions: two are unbelievably weird and the third is your awful cousin Graham. You have to solve a series of nearly impossible clues. You need to deal with a cruel dictator and three thousand Wimbley Woos (yes, you read that sentence correctly). And the whole situation – the whole, entire thing – is your fault.
Millions by Frank Cottrell Boyle 9+
This Carnegie Meddle winner is not only funny and engaging, it is also thought provoking with important lessons about generosity, love and caring for one another. If you enjoy this book there are also many more by the same author to choose from.
Synopsis: Two brothers, Damian and Anthony, are unwittingly caught up in a train robbery during Britain’s countdown to joining the Euro. Suddenly finding themselves with a vast amount of cash, the boys have just one glorious, appalling dilemma – how to spend it in the few days before it becomes worthless. Torn between the vices of buying a million pizzas and the virtues of ending world poverty, the boys soon discover that being rich is a mug’s game. For not only is the clock ticking – the bungling bank robbers are closing in too. Pizzas or World Peace – what would you choose?
Who Let The Gods out by Maz Evans 10+
A hilarious book with fantastic characters and a hint of sadness. The children at my school are begging for the next in the series!
Synopsis: Elliot has so far succeeded in keeping his mum’s illness a secret but now the money is running out and things are getting desperate. When a young Zodiac goddess, Virgo, lands in his back garden, Elliot thinks he might see a way to resolve some of his difficulties but, instead, the pair manage to accidentally release Thanatos – the immortal death-daemon – from centuries of imprisonment. With a wicked megalomaniac on the loose, Elliot and Virgo are out of their depth so must call on the help of Zeus and other long-retired gods to recapture the fugitive. But can they get to Thanatos before he gets to take over the world?