We Recommend: Falling Off the Couch Edition

And it's back to We Recommend, where my girls and I use our
to figure out the exact right book recommendation for whomever writes
in to ask. Just send us a description of the kid  you're talking about,
what he or she likes and does like, any other relevant (or irrelevant,
why not?) information, and we'll dip into our collective
unconsciousness and come up with the perfect book, which will
inevitably be overshadowed by the amazing and insightful
recommendations from the commenters. So go ahead, test us!

I must say first that this one is tough. See here,

My two older kids are a 10yo girl and a 7yo boy. They are bright kids
and good readers. In addition to what they read on their own (lots), I
read them a chapter or two from a longer book every night. It's our
ritual and we love it! I would love a recommendation for a really
really funny read aloud for that age group. Lately we've been doing a
lot of Famous Five and enjoying them. Guns! Dogs! Adventure! But we are
on #9 now and it's wearing a little thin for me. I need something
funny.  Funny things we have enjoyed include Gordon Korman's "I Want to
Go Home
" – that one had them falling off the couch. We read more of his
too, and they were good but not as good as that one.  They also laughed
out loud at Toys Go Out, though that is getting young for them now. 
We've done all the Roald Dahl, all the Beverly Cleary.  What I'm hoping
for is really funny one, something with lots of goofy slapstick humour.
Nothing subtle. I want them to be falling off the couch again! Any


First of all, it sounds like a lot over at their house, no? What seems tricky to me is that reading something funny aloud. I mean, we think things are funny that we read aloud, but fall off the couch? She must be a hell of a reader-alouder.

I've been thinking and thinking about this, and I'm just not certain. My sister thought the Percy Jackson books were pretty funny. Captain Underpants came up, but was dismissed for being more visual humor, a lot of funny signs and so on. Then there are all those "The Day My Butt Ran Away" and "Just Annoying" books, but those seem to me more like pandering. Besides, she wants to be entertained too. So here's what I came up with:


We read this when some people were having a tough time with various fears: swimming, dogs, etc, and it was excellent for both normalizing that and keeping it in perspective. Also: perfect to read in summer, as it's all centered on a summer. Also: extremely funny. Having Sheila run screaming from a friendly slobbery dog, or feel like she's drowning when she can stand in the water—they're just excellent silly slapstick, and we loved it. Fell off the couch? No. But maybe I was doing it wrong?

But no doubt you guys have all sorts of ideas, lay them on me.

16 thoughts on “We Recommend: Falling Off the Couch Edition

  1. I think it was here that someone recommended “The True Meaning of Smekday” with the suggestion to do funny voices for all the characters. I think that might be a fall-off-the-couch contender.


  2. I don’t know about Smekday. It’s so good, but maybe a little older.
    My first thought was Daniel Pinkwater. Anything by Pinkwater is sure to entertain and leave you in stitches. Start with one of the ones in 5 Novels.


  3. This might be too young for the 10 year old, but another funny Judy Blume that my kids liked was Soupy Saturdays with the Pain and the Great One. “The Pain” is the little brother, and the “Great One” his older sister, so how it does or doesn’t mirror the requester’s family dynamic could add some spice…
    Another recent funny read (well, we haven’t finished) is Room with a Zoo by Jules Feiffer. It’s sort of odd in that JF is writing in the first person AS HIS OWN (9 y.o.) DAUGHTER. But there are some crazy escapades with various mammals, reptiles, and fish. Although the main character herself doesn’t always experience these as funny, my girls sure do…


  4. My first thought was Roald Dahl, and then to Judy Blume. You guys have it covered! And, I did think Percy Jackson was funny too. The only thing that I came up with is “Sideways Stories from Wayside School” by Louis Sachar. I am reading the sequel to my 9 year old right now, she insisted because she loved Sidways Stories.


  5. Mad Scientists’ Club- an oldie but a goodie. Bertradn R. Brinley is the author. Unfortunately no strong females to be seen, but otherwise very good.


  6. This may not be exactly what they’re looking for, but it is definitely worth checking out – James Thurber’s “My Life and Hard Times.” His humor can sometimes be a bit dry but oh man, the stories he tells about his family are hilarious. “The Night the Bed Fell on my Father” and “Snapshot of a Dog” are two of my favorites. I read them when I was about 11 or 12 and it was the first time I almost threw up from laughing so hard.


  7. The Plant That Ate Dirty Socks series by Nancy McArthur was a favourite around here.
    Or what about Farley Mowat – The Dog Who Wouldn’t Be or Owls in the Family.


  8. Don’t all think I’m obsessed with Robin Klein or anything, but having recommended her a few posts back I’m going to do so again. Specifically, this time, “Hating Alison Ashley”, which is side-splittingly funny and great for reading aloud. Alternatively, “Ratbags and Rascals” is short stories, so you could do a whole story at a time.


  9. Oh, there’s a wonderful Peter Dickinson book called Chuck and Danielle, that is wonderfully funny. Just how funny? Funny enough that on an afternoon after we were heading home from a doctor’s appointment, with my daughter in an absolutely foul mood…hungry, tired and upset…in the middle of a huge traffic snarl because of a nasty accident, I started reading it aloud and within 5 minutes all three of us…me, my daughter, and my husband…were all laughing.


  10. Kate Klise has some funny books in her Regarding the… series, Regarding the Fountain is a good start. Our library is doing an LOL Book. club for age 8 and up reading Phinneaus Magurie Erupts!, with funny plot and wacky science experiments. More classically, i’d suggest Pippi Longstocking.


  11. It’s too twisted and dark for some people but I have 7 year olds AND 10 year olds clamoring for it in the library – The Willoughbys by Lois Lowry. SO FUNNY that I have read the first three chapters out loud ten times and can’t make it through without laughing out loud myself. But I am dark like that.
    Smekday was my other suggestion. Agreed that it might be better in about a year, though.


  12. My first thought was the Amelia Bedelia books? They certainly made me guffaw. But, I’m kind of corny like that 😉 .


  13. I love funny books. Here are some ideas:
    Arabel’s Raven by Joan Aiken
    Here is a sample:
    “It is not so easy as you might beieve to give brandy to a large bird lying unconscious in the street. After five minutes there was a good deal of brandy on the cobblestones, and some up Mr. Jones’s sleeve, and some in his shoes, but he could not be sure that any had actually gone down the bird’s throat.”
    Anything by Hilary McKay especially Dog Friday and its two sequals.
    The True Story of Christmas by Anne Fine (not for santa believers)
    My LIfe Among the Aliens by Gail Gautier
    Witch Week
    The Lives of Christopher Chant
    or by Diana Wynne Jones
    The Ear the Eye and the Arm
    by Nancy Friday
    How to Eat Fried Worms
    by Thomas Rockwell


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.