This is a very silly book, which is why it’s so brilliant. A kind of instructional, self-help guide to keep you safe at all times, Danger is Everywhere by David O’Doherty and Chris Judge, will teach you to be wary of EVERYTHING, even things that are entirely made up (i’m now always on the look-out for supermarket leopards hiding under over-ripe bananas!) And quite right too.
“Greetings, humans. I am Louie the Unicorn and this is my tale.” And so begins the terrifically funny and wonderfully absurd Louie Lets Loose by Rachel Hamilton.
It’s a nicely simple premise, perfectly suited for early readers just getting used to reading novels: Young Louie the Unicorn decides to leave Story Land for the Bright Lights of New York in search of SUPERSTARDOM.
Our intrepid, selfie-snapping unicorn enrols in the New York School for Performing Arts to realise his dreams, and in doing so meets all sorts of cool mythical creatures living it large in the city. And of course, this isn’t quite the New York as we know it, though there are hot dogs and donuts, and probably gallons of coffee.
We need more bright and cheerful books like this, for this age group. Honestly, after climbing the slow mountain of the early years reading schemes, to any new reader this book will make it seem like the clouds have parted and the sun is shining down from above.
And that’s not even mentioning the ace illustrations by Oscar Armelles. They’re a quirky mix of line and photo montage, which suits the story perfectly.
If you like this, try the Claude books by Alex T Smith.
Published by Oxford University Press. RRP £5.99
We love pigs a lot at This Book is Funny, and The Unbelievable Top Secret Diary of a Pig by Emer Stamp is terrific fun.
Pig loves yummy slops and back scratches and the nice Farmer. He does NOT like the Evil Chickens. But when his friend Duck reveals Farmer’s true intentions, Pig decides to take the Evil Chickens up on an unexpected offer.
Written by Pig in his wonderfully engaging style, this diary is full of silly fun and packed with pictures that make it a pleasure to read. Hurray for Pig!
If you like this, try My Hamster is a Detective by Dave Lowe!
Published by Scholastic. RRP £8.99
Ben Jinks has a very clever hamster. In fact, Ben’s hamster is a genius. And he can talk. So it makes perfect sense when Ben and his genius, talking hamster, Stinky, embark on a detective adventure that stretches both their powers of reasoning. When Ben’s sister’s kitten gets cat-napped, the “Tenacious Two” take on the case, leaving no hamster wheel unturned in a bid to find the missing mog.
A fast-paced, gag-packed adventure ensues with Ben and his sarcastic pet bickering energetically throughout. Although within the grasp of six-year-olds, some of the humour may be lost on the youngest early readers, but slightly older readers will appreciate the impressive array of sarcastic put-downs offered by the duo. It’s definitely something for parents to look forward to. Dave Lowe has written a little gem here, and the illustrations by Mark Chambers are also a treat!
My Hamster is a Detective is part of a series, so there are plenty of other Stinky and Jinks stories to be had if you fancy more hamster japes.
Published by Templar Publishing. RRP £5.99
Written and illustrated by the current Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell, Ottoline and the Yellow Cat absolutely oozes quality.
Ottoline Munro and hirsute friend Mr Munro investigate a series of burglaries amongst the rich dog-owners of Big City. Ottoline is going to need a very clever plan to solve this mystery.
This multi-award winning book is a treat to look at, thanks to Chris Riddell’s super-detailed and elegant illustrations, with which the book is absolutely packed. The prose is just as refined: the fun is all in the deadpan understatement. It’s a classic, which will look beautiful on any bookshelf. (This is not one to buy in ebook format!)
Published by Pan Macmillan. RRP £10.99
For children not quite old enough for the gore and horror of The Walking Dead but still wanting their zombie apocalypses, The Last Kids on Earth by Max Brallier is a riot of fun.
Are you tired of not being able to draw in your reading books? Of course you are!
But fear not, for Alien Adventure: It’s OK We’re Going to Save the Planet will change all that. You don’t just read this story, in a great twist on the classic Choose Your Own Adventure books, you create it!
Andrew & Chris Judge (of the Lonely Beast fame) welcome you to colour, scribble, fold, tear and doodle all sorts of strange and alien things in this wild, new adventure. Every page has at least one mad sketch that you will be asked to add too. The possibilities for adventure are as endless as space itself.
It is all down to you, the reader, the CREATOR, on how mad you want your adventure to be. So sit down, buckle up (although the book does warn you it does not come with buckles) and get creating.
This is published by Scholastic, RRP £5.99.
If you like this, try How to Make Awesome Comics, by Neill Cameron.
Follow the ups and downs of schoolboy Timmy Failure’s detective agency, Total Failure Inc. (the ‘Total’ part comes from the name of his agency partner, polar bear Total), as he negotiates the business obstacles of school and home life in his spectacularly oblivious way.
A slightly heartbreaking subtext is offset by an entertainingly written story. Additionally, the brilliantly judged illustrations ensure that this book by Stephan Pastis (the first of a best-selling series) is a real winner.
This book is full of wonderful illustrations and jokes, and is a masterclass in funny by one of Britain’s best comics artists. Julius Zebra: Rumble with the Romans is our first ever book of the month, and what a book it is!
Funny stories for teenagers are hard to come by, but if Swim the Fly by Don Calame had been published when I was a teenager, I would’ve devoured it.
It’s a little bit raucous and rude (definitely a book for fourteens and over) but has the funniest cast of characters imaginable.
Three teenage boys make pact at the beginning of the school holidays: within six weeks they have to see a naked body, in real life. What follows is ridiculously funny…