Some of the funniest people I know are under the age of 8. Sure, they may not actually mean to be funny but they are. They are like the wittiest, most polished comedians going – they fire off one liners like it’s the last day of their sell out tour – ever heard a 4 year old forget a punchline? Course you haven’t – because there is no punchline to forget, they make it all up as they go – everything is improv, normally combined with an element of slapstick and a poo reference for good measure.
So when scholastic asked me to take a look at the Laugh Out Loud Book Awards (the Lollies) 2017 I figured that perhaps I could try and tickle the kids funny bones for a change. In exchange for this blogpost that you are reading right now, Scholastic sent me the shortlist of picture books for the lollies and are kindly donating £50 worth of books to my children’s school (something Scholastic do regularly, last year they gave over £10m books back to schools in the UK and Ireland).
As a trained primary school teacher (I know right? Don’t worry, I don’t teach anymore) I am completely passionate about getting children to enjoy reading, and we all enjoy things that make us laugh right? So I put the books to test by taking them into my 4 year olds nursery and reading them to him and his buddies. First off, I feel like I should tell you that I felt disproportionately nervous doing this – I used to do it daily when teaching but the added pressure of being Frank’s ‘mum’ plus getting these seasoned comic pro’s to laugh bought me out in a cold sweat, what if they threw things at me?
I needn’t have worried – the kids were VERY well behaved and chuckled and guffawed through all the books. I asked them to assess the books showing me a thumbs up, thumbs down or an in-between thumb depending on how funny they found the books (once a teacher…) and all the books got a resounding thumbs up. (Until we discovered how funny it was to blow a raspberry and do a thumbs down at the same time – and then everything, including a few visitors, got the thumbs down raspberry blowing treatment, and that was just me. Sorry visitors).
The books that I read fell under the Best Laugh Out Loud Picture Book Category and were as follows:
Oi Dog by Kes Gray and Jim Field (Hodder Children’s Books)
Eat Your People by Lou Kuenzler and David Wojtowycz (Orchard Books)
Prince of Pants by Alan Macdonald and Sarah McIntyre (Scholastic)
Danny McGee Drinks the Sea by Andy Stanton and Neal Layton (Hodder Children’s Books)
You can get the books that we reviewed on the shortlist here
And you can vote for your favourite here
If you, unlike me, are still teaching then there are also plenty of teaching resources available online to compliment the books in all the categories which extend right up to books to make 13 year olds laugh (good luck with that).
Award nominations shut on the 8th of December and if you’re interested my personal favourite was Danny McGee Drinks the Sea.. g’wan Danny – down in one!
The Scholastic Awards were launched by Michael Rosen who is a personal favourite (age 9 I could recite the entire Michael Rosen Rap – true story) and he said of The Lollies:
“This is a collection of 12 whizzy, crazy, hilarious books. They are guaranteed to tickle. Parents and teachers wondering how to keep your children interested in reading, why not start here? And you can always start them off by reading them out loud – funny voices an’ all!”.