The best books by British authors to get kids laughing out loud

Who am I?

I am Rachel Hamilton and I’m the author of the Exploding series with Simon & Schuster and the Unicorn in New York series with OUP and Scholastic. I love making people laugh, especially when it's intentional rather than accidental. As well as writing books, I write comedy sketches and have performed standup as part of the Funny Girls tour in the Middle East. It's hard to do humor well, so I have huge respect and admiration for the authors on this list, because they do it fantastically. I hope you love their stories as much as I do. 


I wrote...

Louie Lets Loose! (Unicorn in New York)

By Rachel Hamilton,

Book cover of Louie Lets Loose! (Unicorn in New York)

What is my book about?

Louie the Unicorn convinces his parents to let him leave the sunlit meadows and enchanted waterfalls of Storyland and join the New York School of Performing Arts. Despite having the best roommates ever (Miranda the singing mermaid, Frank the belching troll, and Danny the faun who can’t see where he’s going because he’s lost his glasses) Louie struggles to fit in at his new school. Arnie, the other unicorn on campus, doesn't take kindly to the competition and tries to sabotage Louie’s efforts. But, with the help of his new friends, Louie steps up to the challenge and puts on a performance the other students will never forget! 

The books I picked & why

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The Worst Class in the World Gets Worse

By Joanna Nadin, Rikin Parekh (illustrator),

Book cover of The Worst Class in the World Gets Worse

Why this book?

What all of Joanna Nadin’s books have in common is her ability to capture the voice of her characters so perfectly they feel truly alive. The children of class 4B have that loveable lunacy I remember from teaching kids this age. That authenticity is what has kids falling off their chairs with laughter, and what makes this such a great book to read aloud. You’ll find yourself repeating catchphrases later. Rikin Parekh’s illustrations add another layer of brilliance and perfectly capture the characters and their comedy antics. Literally hilarious!

“Dad says well at least I haven’t been arrested. Grandpa says being arrested would be getting off lightly and in his day he had to walk five miles to school barefoot and eat gravel for lunch. 

Mum who works at the council says, ‘I have spent all day listening to Mr. Butterworth bang on about bollards and the last thing I need is a heated debate about eating gravel.’”


Little Badman and the Invasion of the Killer Aunties

By Humza Arshad, Aleksei Bitskoff (illustrator), Henry White

Book cover of Little Badman and the Invasion of the Killer Aunties

Why this book?

Sometimes, I just fall instantly in love with the voice of a book, and ‘Little Badman and the Invasion of the Killer Aunties’ was one of those books for me. I spent ten years in the Middle East surrounded by brilliant kids with big voices and even bigger dreams, and I miss them! You don’t see these kids often enough in stories. So, how could I resist Humza Khan, a.k.a. Little Badman, who’s determined to become “the greatest 11-year-old rapper Eggington has ever known”?

The only things standing in the way of his plans for fame and glory are the sinister food-obsessed “aunties” who’ve taken over his school and insist on feeding everyone delicious snacks. Furiously funny, with an ending that is simultaneously truly bonkers and genuinely satisfying, this book is pure joy!

“Me and my best friends Umer and Wendy are going to hunt for the truth. Cos something big and bad is going on and we won't let anything mess with my music... or you know, the world.”


Mort the Meek and the Ravens' Revenge

By Rachel Delahaye, George Ermos (illustrator),

Book cover of Mort the Meek and the Ravens' Revenge

Why this book?

This book is jam-packed with hilarious details and a narrator who loves to share jokes directly with the reader. The laughs come consistently and quickly, and as someone who knows how hard that is to achieve, I read with respect!

Mort the Meek’s role as the only vegetarian pacifist in the violent kingdom of Brutalia is comedy genius. Keeping his vow to live peacefully, without hurting anyone, becomes a challenge when the evil Queen appoints him Royal Executioner and his first job is to execute his best friend. Fantastic fun, fantastically illustrated, with enough gore to satisfy readers who love yelling ‘Urgh, gross!’ between their giggles.

“The ravens circled Brutalia, searching the ragged shoreline for distressed sailors. Or at least some body parts of distressed sailors. A plump eyeball was always nice.

Beware the ravens of Brutalia! said no one. Because no one ever survived to pass on the message.”


Bad Panda

By Swapna Haddow, Sheena Dempsey,

Book cover of Bad Panda

Why this book?

I’ve been a huge fan of Swapna and Sheena’s since I first read Dave Pigeon, which is so good it’s now a set text on the Creative Writing degree I teach. These two are champions of slapstick, silliness, and subversive creatures with big hearts. And Bad Panda is, arguably, their greatest creation. She’s SO desperate to be bad, but she is scuppered at every turn by the fact that everything she does looks so ridiculously cute. The result is panda-monium (groan!)

“Are you sick of being utterly adorable?
Tired of being cuddled and hugged?
Fed up of having your head confused for your bottom because you just so happen to be SOOOOPER-DOOOOOPER fluffy?
Lin: If you answered yes to any of those questions, then you’re in the right book.”


Max and the Millions

By Ross Montgomery,

Book cover of Max and the Millions

Why this book?

I want to live inside Ross Montgomery’s head. It seems full of magical people and places, including a school janitor’s room filled with huge feuding civilizations! The story hops masterfully from the school janitor to the tyrannical Headmaster to the story’s brilliant ten-year-old protagonist Max, without missing a beat. Max is deaf, which doesn’t need to be an issue, if people can just make a few small accommodations to help him fit in. But, instead, the horrible Head treats him like some kind of strange school mascot, constantly singling him out for special attention.

Max and the Millions seamlessly combines action, mystery, struggles with hearing aids, and a warning about the abuse of power. All with a sense of the surreal that will have you sniggering throughout.

“Max was hiding in a cupboard
He usually hid in the toilets, but they’d all exploded that morning – again – and Mr. Darrow still hadn’t fixed them.”


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Interested in the United Kingdom, World War 1, and Europe?

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