Laugh It Up: Telling Jokes and Playing Pranks

July is home to International Joke day. To help you master your joke telling, we have selected some books that tell the funniest, or perhaps cringe-worthy jokes out there. Humor can come in many forms. Whether you like puns, wit, or riddles, there is something here to tickle anyone’s funny bone. Sometimes though, jokes can go too far and become pranks. Books in this list will explore telling jokes, how others feel when jokes are played on them, and other aspects of humor. When searching for books about jokes, try searching the subject phrases “juvenile literature” or “juvenile fiction” with subject phrases like “practical jokes”, “jokes”, “riddles”, or “wit and humor”.

Picture Books

Krull, Kathleen.
Lincoln Tells a Joke: How Laughter Saved the President (and the Country). 2010.
A biography of one of America’s greatest presidents, focusing on his use of wit and humor, and his love of language.
[SSHEL S Collection Q. SB. L63k]

Shannon, Molly.
Tilly the Trickster. 2011.
Tilly loves to play pranks on everyone around her, but when her family decides to turn the tables Tilly needs to decide if she should change.
[SSHEL S Collection Q. SE. Sh195t]

Inns, Christopher.
The Jokers. 2005.
Mungo the Elephant and Mr. Thunderpants love playing jokes on each other, but they really love playing jokes on their friends. With bold images and simple text, this engaging book teaches children the appropriateness of practical jokes in an enjoyable way.
[SSHEL S Collection SE. In69j]

Higgins, Nadia.
Blimey, That’s Slimey! 2008.
Slimebeard is proud to have the slimiest beard around! But when Armpit Arnie’s pirat-ical joke dries it up, he finds revenge by sticking Arnie in a ladder. The only way to unstick Arnie is with an apology only a pirate could accept and some of Slimebeard’s secret slime.
[SSHEL S Collection Q. SE. H5356b]

Beginner and Intermediate Nonfiction

Phunny, U.R.
Dinosaur Jokes. 2004.
This title from Buddy Books contains colorful, easy-to-read jokes with imaginative illustrations.
[SSHEL S Collection S.818.602 P568d]

Ziegler, Mark.
Lunchbox Laughs: A Book of Food Jokes. 2005.
Includes a number of jokes about food.
[SSHEL S Collection S.818.602 Z627l]

Lee, Cyl.
More Ridiculous Riddles. 2005.
Contains colorful, easy-to-read jokes with cartoon-like illustrations.
[SSHEL S Collection S.818.602 L5109mo]

Lupton, Hugh.
Riddle Me This! 2003.
A whimsical collection of riddles and riddling stories from all over the world. The playful illustrations offer clues that will help children to solve the riddles.
[SSHEL S Collection Q. S.818 L974r]

Middle Grade

Baratz-Logstead, Lauren.
Jackie’s Jokes. 2009.
April Fools’ Day is long and hard for the third-grade Huit octuplets, but it is nothing compared to the challenges of Tax Day, through which Jackie discovers her special power and gift and learns more about their parents’ mysterious disappearance.
[SSHEL S Collection S.B231j]

Chmielewski, Gary.
The Science Zone: Jokes, Riddles, Tongue Twisters and “Daffynitions”. 2008.
This fully illustrated book is jam-packed with over 100 science-themed jokes, tongue twisters, and Daffynitions. Not only are these jokes entertaining and educational, but the humorous text involves a higher order of thinking skills that can support comprehension.
[SSHEL S Collection S.818.5402 C45s]

Brewer, Paul.
You Must Be Joking, Two! 2007.
Author/illustrator Paul Brewer includes 11-1/2 tips that show future comedians how to prepare and perform their own stand-up routines. In addition to memorizing jokes from books, he encourages young comics to make up their own.
[SSHEL S Collection S.818.5402 B758y]

Teens and Young Adult

Shusterman, Neal.
Shadow Club. 2002.
When a junior high school boy and his friends decide to form a club of “second bests” and play anonymous tricks on each other’s arch rivals, the harmless pranks escalate until they become life-threatening.
[SSHEL S Collection S. Sh932sha 2002]

Gorman, Carol.
Dork on the Run. 2002.
Having reluctantly agreed to run for sixth-grade president, Jerry, who has been trying to change his image as a dork, finds his opponent playing dirty tricks on him.
[SSHEL S Collection S.G68d]

Levy, Elizabeth.
My Life as a Fifth-Grade Comedian. 1997.
Although Bobby’s father thinks that he might be expelled just like his older brother, with the encouragement of a new fifth-grade teacher, Bobby tries to channel his penchant for humor into a learning experience.
[SSHEL S Collection S. L5792my]

Baker, Kimberly.
PICKLE: The (Formerly) Anonymous Prank Club of Fountain Point Middle School. 2012.
Using a bogus name, the League of Picklemakers, sixth-grader Ben and three recruits start a prank-pulling club and receive funding from their middle school’s PTA.
[SSHEL S Collection S.B1711p]