We Recommend: Comic Excitement Without Romance, Please

It’s We Recommend! In which we post a request that's been sent to us, and do our best to get that person the right book. Know a kid who needs a book to read? Send his or her likes, dislikes, favorites, quirks, and any other reading information that might be helpful to us at thediamondinthewindow (at) gmail (dot) com, and we will think on it, and pose it to our oh-so-helpful readers. And look in the comments—all the best recommendations are there.

We're on a roll! Yet another person is looking for the right book, and by god we aim to give it to her.

This is another request that was given mostly orally (as opposed to writing in, you know), so understand that the following is perhaps not exact, but we're trying to get the essence here:

The Young Lady in Question is going into fifth grade, is extremely interested in science, in space, and in scary things. HOWEVER. Some books, and of course movies, have been deemed too scary. She is known to have scared my grown friend with creepy story about someone being skinned alive (eek!), but she agrees that the fifth Harry Potter movie might be too much for her. She loved the Harry Potter books, but was disappointed when they veered to (she thought) excessive coverage of the characters' romantic yearnings, and kissings, and stuff like that. In the Harry Potter universe, she found the Weasley twins to be enormously entertaining.

In short, my friends, she is a mass of excellent contradictions, and she fully expects, I am sure, that none of your suggestions will work. Let's prove her wrong, shall we?

My first impulse was to suggest both the Warriors and also the Tamora Pierce Circle of Magic series, as they're wild and amazing but not terrifying. However, on second (third? fifth?) thought I have a new idea, based on her admiration for the Weasleys. Because to me that means one thing: she wants things to be funny. Magic would be good too. And no romance. Can we do it? Maybe? How about this? (And yes, know that this is entirely courtesy of one persistent commenter who brought Sir Terry to our attention years ago, and we have been big fans ever since.)


It's funny! It's weird! There are so many in the series you'll never run out!

And yet—I'm not sure, part of me thinks that she wants more slapstick, right? Oh help me, excellent readers! If you have any ideas at all, put them in the comments, and do this kid a favor.

10 thoughts on “We Recommend: Comic Excitement Without Romance, Please

  1. Science Fair by Dave Barry. Funny, science-y, and a bit of slap stick. That is my 2 cents. I have to check out Witch’s Boy and Wee Free Men.


  2. Half Magic by Edward Eager: four kids having the most boring summer ever find a magic coin, and wish. But, oops! The coin only grants half wishes. Muddles ensue before all’s better than ever.
    Cosmic by Frank Cottrell Boyce: “one small fib for twelve-year-old Liam Digby, one giant rocket-fuelled adventure for mankind.” In other words, two kids find themselves heading a space mission. Very funny, and surprisingly real.


  3. Sitting here with my 11 year old daughter. She recommends the Dear Dumb Diary series (SO funny…I didn’t want to put it down). She also recommends The True Meaning of Smekday which falls into the space/sci-fi/funny & sweet categories.


  4. The Lockwood & Co. series–book three comes out in Sept. The series takes place in a sort of alternate reality London where ghosts and hauntings have become a serious problem. Children have the ability to perceive and battle the spirits in a way adults do not. It’s scary, but not gruesome. The first book in the series is titled The Screaming Staircase.


  5. For spooky, how about The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman? For funny/spooky/sciencey, Terry Pratchett’s Johnny Maxwell books are also good.


  6. Green Glass House by Kate Milford has a lot of suspense and humor. The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart is scary in a mind-control sort of way and also has a good dose of humor.


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