Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle by Betty MacDonald - **** - G
Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, a lovable grandmotherly type, visits homes and "cures" kids of bad habits, such as talking back and refusing to go to bed. Think Mary Poppins with reverse psychology if you must, but I'll take Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle any day. The Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle stories are hilarious and simply great to read aloud. I recommend them to parents all of the time, as they help readers address their own bad habits and encourage families to work together to be more respectful, responsible, organized, and helpful.
There were originally four books in the series:
- Mrs-Piggle Wiggle
- Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle's Magic
- Hello, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle
- Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle's Farm
After Betty MacDonald's passing, her daughter Anne MacDonald Canham found an unpublished Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle story among her mother's things. That story, along with additional tales written by Anne, can be found in the book Happy Birthday, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle.
Each book contains multiple stories, one story per chapter. Read one chapter to your kids every night as bedtime stories, and they'll fall asleep giggling.
Read more about this series.
The Klickitat Street books by Beverly Cleary - **** - G
No funny fiction list would be complete without Ramona! For once, I'll be brief and simply say these are the classic misadventures of a young girl growing up in Portland, Oregon.
- Beezus and Ramona
- Ramona the Pest
- Ramona the Brave
- Ramona and Her Father
- Ramona and Her Mother
- Ramona Quimby, Age 8 - my favorite Ramona book!
- Ramona Forever
- Ramona's World
Ramona's line is actually a spin-off story. Cleary first introduced the Quimbys in the Henry Huggins books, another all-American series, this time about a boy and his dog.
- Henry Huggins
- Henry and Beezus
- Henry and Ribsy
- Henry and the Paper Route
- Henry and the Clubhouse
Cleary is a prolific author. Other comedies for this age group include Ellen Tebbits, Otis Spofford (a class clown who annoys Ellen to no end), Socks (what's a cat to do when his human owners bring home a screaming, crying baby?) and Muggie Maggie (a girl who refuses to learn cursive). I also want to mention her trilogy of books about a boy, a mouse, and a toy motorcycle. This is another series to read out loud, especially with the repeated 'cycle sounds.
- The Mouse and the Motorcycle
- Runaway Ralph
- Ralph S. Mouse
Also check out Ramona Readalikes, my booklist featuring series with feisty little girls, and this adorable reversible bracelet made by Bookshelves of Doom.
Sixth Grade Secrets by Louis Sachar - **** - G
When she's little, Laura's father tells her the story of George Washington and the cherry tree. She strikes up a deal with him: if she doesn't lie, she doesn't have to cut her hair. Fast forward to sixth grade: Laura has long hair and a bold attitude. She finds a hat at a garage sale that says PIG CITY on it and starts wearing it to school. No one other than Laura and her two best friends are allowed to be part of the Pig City club. Soon enough, her classmate Gabriel starts up a club called Monkey Town. The classic boys-versus-girls scenario plays out in the schoolroom and the schoolyard.
This is my favorite Sachar novel, hands down. Kids in upper elementary school who can't wait to go to middle school will race through this book. Sixth Grade Secrets is both funny and realistic. It still holds up twenty years after publication. Highly recommended.
Wayside School series by Louis Sachar - **** - G
Wayside School was supposed to be a one-story building with thirty classrooms. The builder accidentally made each classroom an entire level, making the building look more like a skyscraper than a school! (Oh, and no matter what anyone tells you, there is no nineteenth story.)
Each chapter in Sideways Stories from Wayside School focuses on a different character from one class in particular: the class on the thirteenth story. Mrs. Gorf is known for being the meanest teacher at the school. She turns bad kids into apples. Then something unbelievable happens (shh - only the kids in her class know what happened!) and she is replaced by Mrs. Jewls, a very nice lady who is incredibly nervous about her new job. Luckily, the kids take to her, and she stays.
Mrs. Jewls could not have known how very . . . unique these students would be. Take Sharie, who "spen(ds) all of her time either looking out the window or sleeping," then falls out of the window and stays fast sleep until she is caught by Louis, the yard teacher. Consider Kathy, who does not like anyone, or Maurecia, who is liked by everyone (except Kathy) but only really likes ice cream. Meet artistic Bebe, gum-chewing Joy, mysterious Sammy, the three Erics, and more.
The characters reappear in Wayside School Gets a Little Stranger and Wayside School is Falling Down, each aptly titled, each illustrated in a similar manner. Just when you think things can't get any stranger at Wayside School, they do! Look at the cafeteria food closely, and watch out for the cows. Young readers will wish their school was as silly as Wayside School. Prepare to laugh 'til the cows come home. Really.
The last two books combine quizzes and logic puzzles with story bits. There's a new student at Wayside, and she doesn't quite understand how YOU + ME is a math problem. Oh, but it is!
These books are fun to read out loud in an elementary school classroom. Have kids discuss their favorite character, or vote for the character with the coolest-sounding name. The chapters are very short, so it's also great for kids who are just latching on to chapter books as well as reluctant readers. Students could also create a new character - a new student, a new teacher, a new....rat? - and write a new chapter mimicking the author's writing style.
The books in order:- Sideways Stories from Wayside School
- Wayside School is Falling Down
- Wayside School Gets a Little Stranger
- Sideways Arithmetic from Wayside School
- More Sideways Arithmetic from Wayside School
Related Booklists and Posts:
Pick up these cool books for young boys as well as Ramona Readalikes!
Looking for funny books for older kids? Try my booklist of comedies for tweens and teens!
Want something for even younger readers? Check out my favorite picture books and my favorite books for beginning readers.