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]

Boys and Girls: Pranks, Friends, and Family

August’s blog is a bibliography of books that look at different interactions between boys and girls. These books feature boys versus girls (usually in a prank war or competition of some sort), boys and girls as good friends or teammates, and boys and girls as siblings. It does not focus on boyfriend/girlfriend relationship books.

Books that have call numbers beginning with “S.” are chapter books, while books with call numbers beginning with a “SE.” are picture books. Books with the location Education S Collection can be found in room 106 of the Education and Social Science Library. Education Storage books can be requested through the reference desk or online, and Education Oak St Facility books must be requested through the online catalog.
Boys vs. Girls

Collins, Yvonne and Sandy Rideout.
Girl v. Boy. 2008.
Sixteen-year-old Lu Perez epitomizes her school’s lack of spirit, but as an anonymous columnist reporting on a fundraising competition that pits school against school and boy against girl, she and her co-columnist engage in a battle of the sexes with huge ramifications.
[Education S Collection S. C6973g]

DiPucchio, Kelly.
Grace for President. 2008.
When Grace discovers that there has never been a female U.S. president, she decides to run for school president. Her competitor Tom decides he will win because he thinks all of the other boys will vote for him and there are more boys than girls in their class. While Tom sits back and waits to win, Grace campaigns.
[Education S Collection Q. SE. D626g]

Green, Connie Jordan.
The War at Home. 1989.
Living in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, where her father is involved in a secret government project in the final months of World War II, thirteen-year-old Mattie carries on a constant debate with her twelve-year-old cousin Virgil about the relative merits of boys versus girls.
[Education Oak St Facility S.G824W]

Naylor, Phyllis Reynolds.
The Boys Start the War; The Girls Get Even. 1994.
Disgusted that a family with three girls moves into the house across the river, nine-year-old Wally and his three brothers declare a practical joke war on the girls. This is a two-in-one book of the first two books of the Boys Against Girls series.
[Education Storage S.N234bo]

Seuling, Barbara.
Robert and the Practical Jokes. 2006.
As a boys-versus-girls war of practical jokes escalates in his third-grade classroom, Robert finds it difficult to ask a girl’s help in learning to dance in time for a family wedding reception.
[Education Storage S. Se81rop]

Wittlinger, Ellen.
This Means War. 2010.
In 1962, when her best friend Lowell begins to hang around new friends who think girls are losers, Juliet, a fearful fifth-grader, teams up with bold, brave Patsy who challenges the boys to a series of increasingly dangerous contests.
[Center for Children’s Books S. W786t]

Yee, Lisa.
Bobby vs. Girls (Accidentally). 2009.
When Bobby inadvertently gets into a fight with his best friend Holly, their disagreement develops into a boys versus girls war involving their whole fourth-grade class.
[Education S Collection S. Y352b]
Boys and Girls as Teammates/Working Together

Carter, Ally.
Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy. 2007.
Cammie Morgan is a CIA legacy and attends the premier school in the world… for female spies. When the school hosts guests from a male spy school, Cammie and her friends must work with the guys while figuring out if they are friends or foes.
[Education S Collection S. C2452c]

Gifford, Peggy Elizabeth.
Moxy Maxwell Does Not Love Stuart Little. 2007.
With summer coming to an end, about-to-be-fourth-grader Moxy Maxwell does a hundred different things to avoid reading her assigned summer reading book. Her best friend Sam acts as her sidekick.
[Education S Collection S. G366mo]

Maxwell, B.E.
The Faerie Door. 2008.
Victoria Deveny is transported from her Northumberland, England, home in 1890 to 1964 Alton Bay, New Hampshire, where she meets Elliot Good and they agree to help the Faerie Queen defeat the Shadow Knight, who is trying to close the portals that allow fairies to help humans in time of need.
[Education S Collection S. M451f]

Pattison, Darcy.
19 Girls and Me. 2006.
John Hercules is worried about being the only boy in his kindergarten class, but after the first week he stops worrying.
[Education Storage Q. SE. P278n]

Pullman, Philip.
The Subtle Knife. 1997.
In book two of the His Dark Materials series, the boundaries between worlds begin to dissolve and Lyra and her daemon help Will Parry in his search for his father and for a powerful, magical knife. These two characters remain intertwined in the last book of the trilogy, The Amber Spyglass.
[Education S Collection S. P967th]

Stewart, Trenton Lee.
The Mysterious Benedict Society. 2007.
After passing a series of mind-bending tests, four children are selected for a secret mission that requires them to go undercover at the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened, where the only rule is that there are no rules.
[Uni High Fiction St49m; Center for Children’s Books S. St49m]
Male and Female Siblings

Blume, Judy.
Soupy Saturdays with The Pain and The Great One. 2007.
These stories deal with the sometimes challenging relationship between a six-year-old (The Pain) and his eight-year-old sister (The Great One) through seven chapters featuring events such as learning to ride a bicycle, having a birthday party, and dog sitting. The siblings argue in one chapter and help each other out in the next. Some chapters also feature the characters separately.
[Education Storage S. B625su]

Creech, Sharon.
Ruby Holler. 2002.
Thirteen-year-old fraternal twins Dallas and Florida have grown up in a terrible orphanage but their lives change forever when an eccentric but sweet older couple invites them each on an adventure, beginning in an almost magical place called Ruby Holler.
[Education S Collection S.C861r]

James, Brian.
The Heights. 2009.
Told from their different points of view, sixteen-year-old Catherine and her adopted Mexican American brother, Henry, agonize over the loss of their uniquely close relationship when their prejudiced older brother and sister-in-law return after a family tragedy, determined to drive Henry away from the family’s San Francisco home.
[Education S Collection S. J2316h]

Osborne, Mary Pope.
A Good Night for Ghosts. 2009.
Jack and Annie must travel back in time to New Orleans in 1915 to help a teenaged Louis Armstrong fulfill his destiny and become the “King of Jazz.” This is book #42 in the Magic Tree House series, in which Jack and Annie work together to travel through books and time to solve mysteries.
[Education S Collection S. Os17g]

Snicket, Lemony.
The Bad Beginning. 1999.
After the sudden death of their parents, the three Baudelaire children must depend on each other and their wits when it turns out that the distant relative who is appointed their guardian is determined to use any means necessary to get their fortune. This is the first book in the A Series of Unfortunate Events series.
[Education S Collection S. Sn31b]

Warner, Gertrude Chandler.
The Dog-Gone Mystery. 2009.
When they take their dog, Watch, for obedience training, the Alden children discover that some of the dogs in the class have vanished and decide to try to solve the mystery of their disappearance. The Boxcar Children series follows two brothers and two sisters as they solve mysteries.
[Education S Collection S. W244d]