Voting is now open for The Laugh Out Loud Book Awards 2022, celebrating the funniest children’s books in the UK and Ireland. Here are my reviews of the Age 9-13 Shortlist:
The Super Miraculous Journey of Freddie Yates by Jenny Pearson
When something sad happens at the beginning of Freddie’s summer holiday he makes a plan to go on a quest with his friends to find his biological dad…but they hadn’t planned for an onion-eating competition, losing their clothes, being chased by criminals or being mistaken for superheroes. Freddie doesn’t believe in miracles, but will his super-miraculous journey change his mind?
This laugh-out-loud hilarious, madcap romp has a surprisingly warm heart. I loved it.
Zombierella (Fairy Tales Gone Bad) by Joseph Coelho, illustrated by Freya Hartas
When Cinderella falls down the stairs and dies, the Fairy of Death transforms her to a zombie so she can attend the Prince’s ball. But there’s something uncanny about the Prince as well.
Warning: this hilarious retelling of Cinderella is not for the faint of heart or the queasy of stomach…it is disgusting, illustrated in gruesome detail, full of bodily functions and death. And yet it still has a delightful fairytale ending.
Little Badman and the Invasion of the Killer Aunties by Humza Arshad and Henry White, illustrated by Aleksei Bitskoff
Humza Khan is destined to be a big star—he’s always known it. But when his teachers start to disappear mysteriously and be replaced by Aunties, Humza and his friends Umer and Wendy, must find out what’s going on before the Aunties take over once and for all!
This is a hilariously funny, bizarrely inventive story with a madcap cast of characters and a heartfelt message. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Kay’s Anatomy by Adam Kay, illustrated by Henry Paker
It is difficult to judge this alongside the other books as it is non-fiction—a book that you would dip into rather than read cover-to-cover—but it’s definitely funny. In the tradition of Horrible Histories, Adam Kay makes learning fun as he comprehensively explores the human body, making the most of the disgusting bits.
Humour aside, Kay also explains a lot of complicated things in a clear and helpful way—an entertaining and useful resource with an excellent pun for a title.
All of these books are brilliant and hilarious, but Zombierella is the hottest property in the school library this term and gets my vote for its startlingly original and toe-curlingly funny take on the classic story.