Following the popularity of my post on books for little boys, I decided to round up some of my favorite picks for older boys, in third through sixth grade. This selection is devoted to laugh-out-loud humor books. While none of these titles are high literature, all of them are a lot of fun!
Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
When Greg Heffley receives a journal from his mother, he writes about the trials and tribulations of his first year of middle school. Witty text interspersed with comic illustrations recount Greg’s struggles with popularity, friendships, sibling rivalry, and more.
This “novel in cartoons” is clever, innovative, and absolutely hilarious. I didn’t know what to expect going into this book, but it had me laughing out loud page after page. While Greg is certainly no role model, he is definitely more shrewd than “wimpy” and kids will enjoy getting a chuckle from his antics. I recommend this book for ages 9-12.
Be a Perfect Person in Just Three Days! by Stephen Manes
One day, while at the library, Milo Crinkley discovers a strange book with an even stranger title: Be a Perfect Person in Just Three Days! Clumsy Milo loves the idea of being perfect and is willing to do just about anything, even if that means wearing a stalk of broccoli around his neck for entire day or staying awake all night.
This is a snappy, quirky read that boys will love. Its short length (less than 100 pages) makes it an excellent pick for reluctant readers. Be a Perfect Person in Just Three Days! is clever, offbeat, and downright hysterical. I recommend this book for ages 8-11.
Heck: Where the Bad Kids Go by Dale E. Basye
Siblings Milton and Marlo Fauster have never gotten along. When the Fausters die in a freak marshmallow explosion, they are sent to Heck, an otherworldly reform school run by Bea “Elsa” Bubb, the Principal of Darkness. Can Milton and Marlo put aside their differences long enough to escape from this “heckish” predicament?
Basye spends a great deal of time fleshing out the world of Heck, but it’s time well spent. The satirical elements, Richard Nixon as Heck’s ethics teacher, for instance, are a delight. Every smelly, slimy detail grabs ahold of the reader’s senses and doesn’t let go. Heck: Where the Bad Kids Go is an uproarious tale filled with inventive imagery that will enchant kids. I recommend this book for ages 9-13.