Make ’em Laugh with Elementary Fiction
I’ll admit, sometimes I get fatigued reading serious, realistic fiction in my free time. It’s just nice picking up a book you know is going to make you smile and will be a fun read. Elementary fiction is wonderful because the stories are always packed with action and laughs to keep the reader’s (and my own) attention. Funny books are always a solid choice for kids who aren’t excited to read or think reading can be boring. Going off of last week’s post of humorous nonfiction, I decided to highlight some new and upcoming elementary fiction that had me smiling while reading them- and I bet the kids in your life will, too!
Two Dogs in a Trench Coat Go to School written by Julie Falatko and illustrated by Colin Jack. ISBN 9781338189513. December 2017.
Grades 4-6. I’m not exaggerating when I say this is the best book I’ve read in 2018. Everyday, dogs Sassy and Waldo watch as their human, Stewart, goes to a terrible place called “School” and comes home miserable. One day, the pooches decide to rescue Stewart from this doom by, surprise, donning a trench coat and pretending to be boy Salty Woofadogington from Liver, Ohio. The doggos love school, with the delicious smells and gym time, but ultimately have to help Stewart complete a project that is the cause of his anxiety. Sassy and Waldo are absolutely delightful, and anyone who has ever had a dog, or likes our canine friends, will laugh out loud at their antics, from defending the classroom from squirrels to getting seconds at lunch. This book comes into a lot of conversations I have, some that have nothing to do with dogs or books, simply because it is so hilarious- just ask my family and friends.
Max and the Midknights by Lincoln Peirce. ISBN 9781101931080. January 2019.
Grades 4-6. Ever heard of a little series called Big Nate? Max and the Midknights is the forthcoming book from Big Nate author Lincoln Peirce, and it won’t disappoint Nate fans. Max, who travels with her (yes, Max is a girl!) troubadour uncle across the kingdom, becomes entrenched in adventure when her uncle is forced into the evil King Gastley’s service. Dreaming of becoming a knight one day, Max and her new friends name themselves the Midknights, and embark on a quest to rescue the kingdom from the evil King. There’s a lot of action, adventure, and silliness, so the plot moves quickly. Comic book-like illustrations will entice any reader, especially Big Nate fans and anyone who like reading about knights, magic, and friends defeating evil!
Klawde: Evil Alien Warlord Cat by Johnny Marciano and Emily Chenoweth ISBN 9781524787202. February 2019.
Grades 4-6. While this book isn’t being published until February, it’s definitely one to put on your radar and To Read shelf. Lord High Emperor Wyss-Kuzz, a tyrannical feline alien, is exiled from his planet Lyttyrboks and banished to the terrible, primitive planet earth. There he is taken in by Raj, a boy who moved from New York City to rural Oregon with his parents. Former Lord High Emperor Wyss-Kuzz is renamed Klawde, and tries everything to escape Earth and return to Lyttyrboks to reconquer the planet. Even as a dog person, this book had me laughing at the puns and clear evilness of Klawde as he coerces Raj into helping him build machines so he can return home. Klawde also helps Raj as he struggles to make friends in his new town and adjusting to a new life. The pages contain illustrations that show Klawde as a scowling, menacing looking creature- think Grumpy Cat, but crankier and more menacing.
Knights vs. Dinosaurs by Matt Phelan. ISBN 9780062686237. October 2018.
Grades 3-6. The knights of Camelot are really slacking in their knightly duties- at the latest meeting of the Round Table, they all make up valiant encounters they’ve had with vicious dragons. Merlin, sensing a lull in the action, sends them on a quest that transports the knights to prehistoric times where, surprise surprise, they come face to face with the most vicious king of all time- T. Rex! This is a sweet, funny story that is interspersed with illustrations of the knights and their hijinks. Slight spoiler alert: one of my favorite parts is a reveal in which we find out one of the knights is a woman, and she shrugs it off and gets back to kicking butt. The knights all have their own personalities and quirks, and in the end, they learn to all work together to defeat the dinosaurs, much to the entertainment of Merlin. This would be great for readers who are transitioning to more difficult books from Big Nate or kids who like fast-paced, silly graphic novels.