Tag Archives: #funny

Best Book Series for Children

There has never been a better time to get reading – reading can provide entertainment, knowledge and comfort, and is a perfect thing to do at home!  We know that many of you are having more time to kill, and are asking for suggestions of series books – something substantial that can hold your attention for longer.  So this week we are showcasing some of the most popular multi-volume children’s books, guaranteed to give kids hours of reading pleasure – even those who are usually reluctant to pick up a book!

Wings of Fire 1-5 Boxed set by Tui T Sutherland

This fantasy series, set in a world of dragons, has enormous word-of-mouth cred amongst upper-primary aged readers.  Five young dragonets strive to fulfil a prophecy that they will end an ancient war and finally bring peace to the dragon tribes of Pyrrhia.  What sets Wings of Fire apart is that its dragons are the main characters, with a rich and complex civilisation, whilst humans are considered “scavengers” and peripheral to the story. Tui T Sutherland’s impressive world-building has now grown beyond the 20+ books into a big and active fandom.  The first three books are now available in graphic novel format

Slime by David Walliams 

Slime is hot off the presses and sure to delight David Walliams’ many fans (as well as creating many more).  Inspired by the recent craze for slime, this story sees young Ned discover the origins of slime, and use it to wreak revenge on the horrible grownups who love nothing more than making children  miserable.  David Walliams is often compared to Roald Dahl and it is easy to see why – his stories are funny, with touches of the grotesque and the fantastical, all underlaid with a call for empathy.   David Walliams has published 18 children’s novels.  While these are mostly standalone, there are recurring characters to spot, such as Raj the newsagent.

WeirDo 1-9 Boxset by Anh Do

Weir Do is a thoughtful boy with a weird name and a weirder family.  The WeirDo books are slice-of-life stories that are packed with illustrations and laugh-out-loud funny – perfect for fans of Diary of a Wimpy Kid.  The latest is #14 – WeirDo: Vote WeirDo! where Weir’s chances of being elected class captain may be derailed by an EPIC HAIR DISASTER.  WeirDo is the first children’s series written by the multi-talented Anh Do, who has gone on to create other bestselling series including Hot Dog, Ninja Kid, Wolf Girl, as well as Mythix.

Kensy and Max 5: Freefall by Jacqueline Harvey

You may already know Jacqueline Harvey from her delightful Clementine Rose and Alice-Miranda series; now she is trying her hand at spy thrillers aimed at both boys and girls. Kensy and Max are twins whose lives are turned upside-down when they are whisked off to London and  discover their parents are missing.  The race is on to understand the strange things happening around them, and find their parents!  There’s mystery, spy craft, exotic locations and lots of chases.  Volume 5, Freefall, sees Kensy and Max as agents-in-training, struggling with ethical dilemmas while trying to capture a master criminal in New York.

Welcome to the Brilliant World of Tom Gates box set by Liz Pichon

This is a box set of the first 12 books in the Tom Gates series.  (We’re now up to Book 17.)  Tom Gates is a series of illustrated diary stories about an endearing but chaotic boy and his family.  The pages are heavily illustrated with distinctive doodles and funny little details, the tone is chatty, and the situations are funny and totally relatable.  What’s more, Tom Gates is a tried-and-true recommendation for reluctant readers and those who need extra reading support – perhaps Tom Gates books are so accessible because Liz Pichon is herself dyslexic, and she has written these stories to be just what she would have loved to read as a child.  The illustrated diary format might even inspire young fans to create their own Tom Gates-style stories!

The Last Kids on Earth by Max Brallier

The Last Kids on Earth is dystopian fiction with a twist! Unlike dystopian YA, which tends to be dark and grim, this tweens-and-early-teens series shows that a zombie apocalypse can be pretty funny.  13-year old Jack recruits four of his classmates to fight off a succession of monsters after a zombie outbreak hits his hometown.  They have to learn to work as a team to stay alive, and they are the world’s last chance against the evil overlord Rezzoch!  This Wimpy-Kid-meets-Walking-Dead series has zombies, monsters, wisecracks, and crazy gadgets – no wonder it’s a New York Times bestseller.  Now also an animated series on Netflix.

Exploring the world with Bill Bryson

He’s sharp and witty and regarded as one of the world’s best writers of travel. Bill Bryson has penned numerous books that have made readers snort out loud and laugh until tears were streaming down their faces. He’s been a favourite in our household for years and we always look forward to his next release. Bill Bryson is one of those authors who sparks the reading bug where once you turn the last page in one of his books you’re instantly looking for his next.

Here are a few of our favourites…

The Road to Little Dribbling: More Notes From a Small Island

Twenty years ago, Bill Bryson went on a trip around Britain to celebrate the green and kindly island that had become his adopted country. The hilarious book that resulted, Notes from a Small Island, was taken to the nation’s heart and became the bestselling travel book ever, and was also voted in a BBC poll the book that best represents Britain. In 2015, to mark the twentieth anniversary of that modern classic, Bryson makes a brand-new journey round Britain to see what has changed. Following (but not too closely) a route he dubs the Bryson Line, from Bognor Regis to Cape Wrath, by way of places that many people never get to at all, Bryson sets out to rediscover the wondrously beautiful, magnificently eccentric, endearingly unique country that he thought he knew but doesn’t altogether recognise any more. Once again, with his matchless homing instinct for the funniest and quirkiest, his unerring eye for the idiotic, the endearing, the ridiculous and the scandalous, Bryson gives us an acute and perceptive insight into all that is best and worst about Britain today.

 

 

Bill Bryson’s African Diary

Bill Bryson goes to Kenya at the invitation of CARE International, the charity dedicated to working with local communities to eradicate poverty around the world. Kenya, generally regarded as the cradle of humankind, is a land of stunning landscapes, famous game reserves, and a vibrant culture, but it also has many serious problems, including refugees, AIDS, drought and grinding poverty. It also provides plenty to worry a nervous traveller like Bill Bryson: hair-raising rides in light aircraft, tropical diseases, snakes, insects and large predators. Bryson casts his inimitable eye on a continent new to him, and the resultant diary, though short in length, contains all his trademark laugh-out-loud wit, wry observation and curious insight. All the author’s royalties from this book, as well as all profits, go to CARE International.

 

 

In a Sunburned Country

Turning his attention to Australia, Bill Bryson takes a truly outrageous tour Down Under, revealing hundreds of entertaining eccentricities about the world’s largest island and about himself. Leaving no Vegemite unsavored, readers accompany Bryson as he dodges jellyfish while learning to surf at Bondi Beach, discovers a fish that can climb trees, dehydrates in sweltering deserts, and tells the true story of the rejected Danish architect who designed the Sydney Opera House. Definitely worth a read.

 

 

I’m a Stranger Here Myself

Bill Bryson has the rare knack of being out of his depth wherever he goes even (perhaps especially) in the land of his birth. This became all too apparent when, after nearly two decades in England, the world’s best-loved travel writer upped sticks with Mrs Bryson and his family and returned to live in the country he had left as a youth. Of course there were things Bryson missed about Blighty but any sense of loss was countered by the joy of rediscovering some of the forgotten treasures of his childhood: the glories of a New England autumn; the pleasingly comical sight of oneself in shorts; and motel rooms where you can generally count on being awakened in the night by a piercing shriek and the sound of a female voice pleading, ‘Put the gun down, Vinnie, I’ll do anything you say.’ Whether discussing the strange appeal of breakfast pizza or the jaw-slackening direness of American TV, Bill Bryson brings his inimitable brand of bemused wit to bear on that strangest of phenomena – the American way of life.

 

 

…and finally the book that prompted our love of Mr Bryson…

 

Notes From a Small Island

This book was voted the nation’s favourite book on modern Britain in a World Book Day BBC poll. After nearly two decades in Britain, Bill Bryson took the decision to move back to the States for a while, to let his kids experience life in another country, to give his wife the chance to shop until 10 p.m. seven nights a week, and, most of all, because he had read that 3.7 million Americans believed that they had been abducted by aliens at one time or another, and it was thus clear to him that his people needed him. But before leaving his much-loved home in North Yorkshire, Bryson insisted on taking one last trip around Britain, a sort of valedictory tour of the green and kindly island that had so long been his home. His aim was to take stock of the nation’s public face and private parts (as it were), and to analyse what precisely it was he loved so much about a country that produced Marmite, a military hero whose dying wish was to be kissed by a fellow named Hardy, place names like Farleigh Wallop, Titsey and Shellow Bowells, people who said ‘Mustn’t grumble’, and Gardeners’ Question Time.

…and once you’ve read all of the above treasures you may want to have a look at these

Enjoy!