So you’re ready to move from Cat in the Hat to chapter books … but please keep it funny, you say, and not TOO long, OK?
When I read the first book in this series, I thought, “Hey, this is Junie B. Jones for boys!” Like Junie B, Roscoe speaks in his own first-grader voice, and he is always getting in trouble for doing the wrong thing. And these books are laugh-out-loud funny!
Each book starts and ends with Roscoe in the time-out chair. You see, his world is full of rules, but Roscoe’s just figuring them out as he goes along – like Rule #1, about not using Super-Mega-Gonzo-Glue on your friends. Roscoe means well – he and his classmates are supposed to sing the Buzzy Bee song for open house, but the kids won’t stay seated and their bobbing antennas keep slipping. You can guess Roscoe’s solution. The chapters are REALLY short and the sentences simple and snappy, so they’re perfect for those starting chapter books, as well as great to read aloud to younger kids.
We have all the titles at DPL (and they don’t have to be read in order):
- Never Glue Your Friends to Chairs
- Never Swipe a Bully’s Bear
- Don’t Swap Your Sweater for a Dog
- Never Swim in Applesauce
- Don’t Tap-Dance on Your Teacher
- Never Walk in Shoes that Talk
- Never Race a Runaway Pumpkin
If you like mummies, ghosts, vampires, aliens and other strange stuff, but you don’t want CREEPY supernatural, just goofy-funny supernatural, then Zack Greenburg is your guy. Weird things just seem to happen to 10-year-old Zack, like making friends with the new kid at school who happens to be a 3000-year-old mummy named Icky, or becoming invisible when he drinks his genius friend Spencer’s invisible ink. Other titles involve a substitute teacher who’s a werewolf, an alien who’s lost his spaceship, and an extra-terrestrial fungus that threatens to eat everything in sight. (And who could not be intrigued by book entitled Tell a Lie and Your Butt will Grow?)
For parents concerned about particular supernatural themes, note that some books involve topics like reincarnation or witches, but you can pick and choose the titles you’re comfortable with. They don’t have to be read in any particular order. There are 30 titles in the whole series; at DPL we have:
1. Great-Grandpa’s in the Litter Box
3. A Ghost Named Wanda
8. My Son, the Time Traveler
12. Now You See Me – Now You Don’t
13. The Misfortune Cookie
15. Hang a Left at Venus
19. The Boy Who Cried Bigfoot
23. Greenish Eggs and Dinosaurs
26. Me and My Mummy
28. Tell a Lie and Your Butt Will Grow
29. Just Add Water and – Scream!
30. It’s Itchcraft!
And anything by Dan Greenburg is off-the-wall funny. At a slightly higher reading level, check out his Weird Planet series (#1 Dude, Where’s My Spaceship?), about space alien kids who accidentally crash land their spaceship in the Nevada desert.
Down Girl and Sit are two rowdy dogs, neighbors, so-named because that’s all they hear from their masters. Down Girl tells the story, from her own doggy perspective, of all the important things that she and Sit do each day – like guarding their yards from dangerous squirrels and the evil neighbor cat, aptly named Here Kitty Kitty. Their human masters aren’t too smart (why don’t they bury their treasures?), but the dogs try to help them. For example, Down Girl thoughtfully wakes her human early every morning so he won’t be scared by the alarm clock.
In the other books the dogs take a trip to the beach, go camping, and try (unsuccessfully) to train their humans. Sentences are short and snappy, just like you’d expect a dog to talk. These are great bed-time read-alouds — but not if others are already sleeping, because your laughter just might wake them up!