Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978
More Articles Browse All Articles >>

You are in:  Reading | A Daily Dose of Laughter in a Book

A Daily Dose of Laughter in a Book

Parents' Choice highly recommends a daily dose of laughter. The following prescriptions have been known to cure even the most severe cases of the dreaded "down-in-the-mouth" syndrome.

Ages Infant - 8 Years

Good Night, GorillaGood Night, Gorilla
Ages: Infant - 4 yrs.
Peggy Rathman
Putnam, $5.99 (Paperback)

"Good night, Gorilla," says the zookeeper. But mischievous Gorilla isn't quite ready to go to sleep. He'd rather follow the zookeeper on his rounds and let all of the other animals out of their cages. Little night owls can sneak along with Gorilla and see who gets the last laugh in this riotous goodnight romp. Book Description

10 Minutes Till Bedtime
Ages: Infant - 4 yrs.
Author: Peggy Rathman
Putnam, $6.99 (Paperback)

The countdown to bedtime is about to begin when a family of hamsters arrives at the front door. "All aboard," shouts the child's pet hamster, and it's off to the kitchen for a snack, to the bathroom for toothbrushing, to the bedroom for a story. Book Description

Sheep in a JeepSheep in A Jeep
Ages: Infant - 4 yrs.
Author: Nancy Shaw Margot Apple
Houghton Mifflin Co., $4.95 (Hardcover)

In Sheep in a Jeep, the hapless flock goes for a drive in the country. With these muttonheads, a normal outing is sure to turn into a joyous lark. Rhyming text and disarming illustrations make these shear delights! Book Description

Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse
Ages: 4 - 6 yrs.
Author: Kevin Henkes   Illustrator: Kevin Henkes  
HarperCollins Children's Books / Amistad, $15.95 (Hard Cover)   

Lilly's pride in her new purse overrides her patience and brings her into conflict with her teacher whom she loves. Ambivalent emotions, perfectly depicted.

My Little Sister Ate One Hare
Ages: 4 - 8 yrs.
Author: Bill Grossman
Random House, $6.99 (Paperback)

In this uproariously funny counting book, illustrated by popular artist Kevin Hawkes, a ravenous little sister eats everything from one hare to ten peas. Book Description

One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish
Ages: 4 - 8 yrs.
Author: Dr. Seuss
Random House Books for Young Readers, $8.99 (Hardcover)

A story-poem about the activities of such unusual animals as the Nook, Wump, Yink, Yop, Gack, and the Zeds. Book Description

Miss Nelson is Missing!Miss Nelson is Missing
Ages: 4 - 8 yrs.
Author: Harry Allard   Author: James Marshall
Houghton Mifflin Co., $5.95 (Paperback)

The kids in Room 207 take advantage of their teacher's good nature until she disappears and they are faced with a substitute. Book Description

Art Dog Art Dog
Ages: 4 - 8 yrs.
By: Thacher Hurd  
HarperCollins Childrens Books, $15.99 (Hard Cover)   

Arthur is a mild, art-loving guard dog at the Dogopolis Museum of Art. He spends evenings reading quietly in his little apartment in West 17th Street. ..unless the moon is full. Then he is transformed into "Art Dog" who fills the city with extravagant street art.

Pinkerton Behave
Ages: 4 - 8 yrs.
Author: Steven Kellogg
Puffin, $6.99 (Paperback)

Pinkerton doesn't understand his owner's commands. When told to come, he jumps out the window. When asked to fetch the newspaper, he destroys it. Pinkerton's desperate owner sends him to obedience school, but he flunks out in record time. Then one night a burglar breaks into their house, and Pinkerton is able to put his bad habits to good use. Book Description

Sayonara, Mrs. KacklemanSayonara, Mrs. Kackleman
Ages: 4 - 8 yrs.
Author: Maira Kallman

Alexander and his older sister Lulu visit Japan and discover many fascinating things including fish markets, outdoor baths, futons, and a frog who writes haiku. Book Description

Doctor DeSoto
Ages: 4 - 8 yrs.
Author: William Steig  
Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $14.10 (Hard Cover)    $5.95 (Paperback)

A very cheerful story about a mouse-dentist who treats mammals bigger than himself, wearing rubbers to keep his feet dry when he's in their mouths. Steig's cartoony color illustrations make up the bulk of the book, and they are nothing short of urbane and funny. The climax comes when a dapperly-dressed but hungry fox comes for a new gold tooth, and the quick-witted dentist saves himself from ingestion by means of his professional skills.

Julius, the Baby of the World
Ages: 4 - 8 yrs.
Author: Kevin Henkes  
HarperCollins/William Morrow, $11.19 (Hard Cover)   

When Lily found out she was going to be a big sister she was the best big sister in the world. But-"After Julius was born, it was a different story. "Trust me. Babies are dreadful," a new Lily says candidly, and while child and adult reader laugh aloud Kevin Henkes works his text and pictures to a more than reasonably happy conclusion.

Martha Speaks Martha Speaks
Ages: 4 - 8 yrs.
Author: Susan Meddaugh   Illustrator: Susan Meddaugh  
Houghton Mifflin Co., $5.95 (Paperback)

When Helen Finney feeds alphabet soup to her dog, Martha, it goes straight up to her brain, and Martha begins to speak! But having a talking dog isn't always as much fun as it seems. Book Description

The Stupids Have A Ball
Ages: 4 - 8 yrs.
Author: Harry Allard   Illustrator: James Marshall  
Houghton Mifflin Co., $14.10 (Hard Cover)    $5.95 (Paperback)

The Stupid family celebrates the children's awful report cards by inviting their relatives to a costume party. Book Description

I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly
Ages: 4 - 8 yrs.
Author: Glen Rounds
Holiday House, $6.95 (Paperback)

A cumulative folk song in which the solution proves worse than the predicament when an old lady swallows a fly.

Washday on Noah's Ark
Ages: 5 - 8 yrs.
By: Glen Rounds  
Holiday House, Inc., $5.95 (Paperback)

Glen Rounds takes the flood story, bends it completely out of shape, and stretches it into a ridiculous, very funny tall tale. Mrs. Noah goes into a snit when a bunch of wild animals lumber aboard and overcrowd the newly finished ark. Nor is her mood improved by the fact that she is unable to wash while it rains. By the forty-first day, she is thoroughly disgruntled, and her family is thoroughly dirty. On that first sunshiny morning, she is determined to let nothing stand in her way- most certainly not a minor detail like the lack of a clothesline.

Harry's Mad
Ages: 5 & Up
Author: Dick King-Smith   Illustrator: Jill Bennett  
Random House Children's Books/ Yearling, $20.25 (Hard Cover)    $4.99 (Paperback)

Harry's legacy from his great-uncle, a talking parrot, proves to be a much more exciting gift than he ever imagined. Book Description

Gooney Bird Greene Gooney Bird Greene
Ages: 6 & Up
Author: Lois Lowry   Illustrator: Middy Thomas  
Houghton Mifflin Co., $15.00 (Hard Cover)   

Wearing colorful, creative costumes daily, Gooney Bird soon becomes the brightest, in every sense of the word, star of second grade. Declaring, "I tell only absolutely true stories," Gooney Bird enters the annals of funny young protagonists. The format of the book is excellent for transitional readers. Wearing colorful, creative costumes daily, Gooney Bird soon becomes the brightest, in every sense of the word, star of second grade. Declaring, "I tell only absolutely true stories," Gooney Bird enters the annals of funny young protagonists. The format of the book is excellent for transitional readers.

Ages 9 - 12 Years

Circle of Doom
Ages: 9 - 11 yrs.
Author: Tim Kennemore  
Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $16.00 (Hard Cover)   

The Sharp children live in Cleve Cottage at the end of Cleve Road. Lizzie, the eldest is thirteen, Dan is ten, and Max is seven. When their only neighbors, the ancient Potwards, complain and ruin her birthday party, Lizzie decides to become a witch and cast a spell on them. When Lizzie agrees to let younger brothe Max be the "Witch's Assistant," he is ecstatic to be playing with his sister instead of his imaginary friends. With coincidences piling up on top of spells, Lizzie begins to believe in her own power, Dan becomes uneasy, and Max is absolutely positive that Lizzie can work magic and that magic runs in the family. This book is a wonderful combination - ludicrously funny and touching.

It Could Be Worse: A Yiddish Folk TaleIt Could Always Be Worse: A Yiddish Folk Tale
Ages: 9 -12 yrs.
Author: Margot Zemach
Farrar Straus & Giroux, $5.95 (Paperback)

Unable to stand his overcrowded and noisy home any longer, a poor man goes to the Rabbi for advice. Book Description

Anastasia Krupnik Anastasia Krupnik
Ages: 9 - 12 yrs.
Author: Lois Lowry   Illustrator: Diane de Groat  
Houghton Mifflin/Walter Lorraine Books, $16.00 (Hard Cover)   

Anastasia's tenth year has some good things, like falling in love and really getting to know her grandmother, and some bad things, like finding out about an impending baby brother. Book Description

Ages: 9 - 12 yrs.
By Barbara Park
Random House, $3.99 (Paperback)

To celebrate the 15th anniversary of the first publication of Skinnybones, bestselling author Barbara Park has updated the text of this award-winning novel and made it even more hilarious. A whole new generation of kids will meet Alex "Skinnybones" Frankovich, the smallest player on his baseball team, who is famous for his big mouth. Alex knows he's gone too far when he brags his way into a battle of skills with T.J. Stoner, a cocky Little League legend with a perfect hitting record. Can blabbermouth Alex talk his way out of this mess? Book Description

Harris and Me
Ages: 9 - 12 yrs.
By Gary Paulsen
Yearling, $5.50 (Paperback)

When an eleven-year-old city boy is dropped off to stay on a farm with relatives for the summer, he doesn't know what to expect. His cousin Harris soon takes care of that. Harris is rude and crude and finds trouble at every turn. He leads his city cousin into everything from wrestling slippery pigs to catching mice to a daredevil jump out of a barn loft. And that's not all. Before long, Harris's cousin has found a place where he belongs. If only summer could last forever. Book Description

Reluctantly Alice
Ages: 9 - 12 yrs.
Author: Phyllis Reynolds Naylor  
Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing/Atheneum Books for Young Readers, $16.00 (Hard Cover)    $4.99 (Paperback)

Alice has reluctantly entered junior high school where she finds herself demoted (along with all the other seventh graders) to the bottom of the junior high pecking order. She is determined to like school and be liked by her peers, so she is chagrined to find herself the favorite target of an older student, Denise "Mack-Truck" Whitlock. With crystal-clear recall of the horrors of junior high and with generous humor, Phyllis Naylor continues the career of the intelligent throughly likable Alice.

Sideways Stories from Wayside School Sideways Stories from Wayside School
Ages: 9 - 12 yrs.
Author: Louis Sachar   Illustrator: Julie Brinckloe  
HarperCollins Children's Books / HarperTrophy, $5.99 (Paperback)

On the 30th floor of the wacky Wayside School is Mrs. Jewl's class. Sharie falls asleep and rolls out the window. Joe counts all wrong and gets the right answer. Calvin is sent to the 19th floor to deliver a note, but there is no 19th story- the builder forgot it. This nutty world is built on the sort of playful twists of logic that kids love.

Henry Huggins
Ages: 9 - 12 yrs.
By Beverly Cleary
Avon, $5.99 (Paperback)

Henry Huggins feels that nothing very interesting ever happens to him. But from the moment a stray dog in the drugstore begs for a taste of his ice-cream cone and downs it in one gulp, everything is different. Henry names the dog Ribsy and decides to keep him. Before Henry even reaches home with Ribsy he spends all of his money, gets kicked off three buses, and enjoys a hair-raising ride in a police car. And that's only the beginning of Henry's exciting new life! Book Description

The Not-Just-Anybody Family
Ages: 9 - 12 yrs.
Author: Betsy Byars  
Random House Children's Books/ Yearling, $13.00 (Hard Cover)    $4.99 (Paperback)

The Blossoms are not an ordinary family. With a mother who is a rodeo trick rider, a grandfather who innocently manages to scare the local citizenry and get himself arrested, and a dog who wears a red bandanna - not to mention a boy who thinks he can fly - it is not surprising that the Blossoms attract misadventures.

What Would Joey Do? What Would Joey Do?
Ages: 10 - 15 yrs.
Author: Jack Gantos  
Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $16.00 (Hard Cover)    $16.00 (Paperback)

Now that Joey's divorced mom has a new boyfriend, his dad has returned to town to buzz their house on his roaring motorcycle. The fact that his own sick, elderly mother is living with his son and former wife doesn't deter him at all. When Joey's mom sends him to be homeschooled with a bratty blind girl with a religious mother whose motto is "What Would Jesus Do?" , Joey adopts this motto - with his own modifications. While the premises of Joey's story - no allies except a small dog and a sick old lady - are harsh, the book is hilarious.

The Canning Season
Ages: 12 & Up
Author: Polly Horvath  
Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $16.00 (Hard Cover)   

Ratchet loves her selfish mother but receives little in return. Without warning or luggage of any sort, Ratchet’s mother ships her to Maine to spend the summer with two elderly relatives. Tilly and Penpen are unidentical twins who are tremendously eccentric; they are also kind and generous. A laugh-aloud, farcical story evolves from this unlikely premise.

Share This

Teaching Kids to Enjoy Reading

Award-Winning Books

Article Archive

Sign Up
Our news & features delivered to your inbox.