This month we sent our subscribers a very funny book about a boy who discovers he can change into animals – anything from a flea to a rhino, sometimes at the most inconvenient times and always with hilarious consequences.
Most kids love animals and a lot of middle grade fiction, and early chapter books in particular, reflect that. Human-animal friendships go back a very long way in children’s literature – just look at Pongo and Mr Dearly, Mowgli and Baloo, Harry and Hedwig, to name but a few. Creating animal characters with human features and personality traits offers authors a way of exploring difficult situations and some of the insecurities kids feel themselves in a way that is relatable but not too serious.
Animals in books also provide the opportunity for lots of humour – and kids love funny books! Here are eight of our favourite funny books for animal-lovers:
Bee Boy: Clash of the Killer Queens by Tony De Saulles
The first in a series of illustrated chapter books and very popular with the Parrot Street support crew. Melvin Meadly is half bee and half boy. As a bee, Mel is ready to defend his hive against all enemies taking on killer wasps, terrifying hawkmoths, and battling queen bees. But as a boy, has he got what it takes to protect his bees (and himself) against the greatest menace of all, Nasty Norman Crudwell? This is a highly entertaining story of an unlikely superhero, full of fantastic facts, and illustrated in black and yellow!
Piggy Handsome: Guinea Pig Destined for Stardom! by Pip Jones
The first in another series of early chapter books with lovely illustrations by Adam Stower. Piggy Handsome is a very confident Guinea pig with a hugely inflated ego - he hails from a long line of very famous Guinea pigs. But sadly Handsome hasn't yet achieved world renown. With the help of gruff-talking Jeffry the budgie and the inadvertent efforts of two dastardly villains Dan and Dolly Dixon, Handsome might realise his dream, get in the papers and save the day - without even realising. All in one day trip to the seaside!
Thimble Monkey Superstar by Jon Blake
This delightful book was shortlisted for the Lollies (Laugh Out Loud Book Awards) and our subscribers loved it when we sent it to them last year. Life is never boring now that Jams and his family have a monkey to look after. Jams and his mum love Thimble, but Dad is determined to get rid of him - to a zoo, a school, even a demolition site. But when Jams and his dad are in mortal danger, Thimble proves once and for all why he is a Monkey Superstar! Thimble is very clever and very naughty - and just the best friend Jams has been waiting for.
Dave Pigeon by Swapna Haddow
The first volume in an established series of hilarious books starring Dave Pigeon and his sidekick Skipper, whose quest is to make the world a better place for pigeons everywhere. In this first book they must defeat the most evil cat in town. But it’s top secret and you can only read it if you understand Pigeonese. Cats beware!
Iguana Boy Saves the World With a Triple Cheese Pizza by James Bishop
This graphic novel-style book tells the story of Dylan, a boy with a somewhat disappointing superpower – he can talk to iguanas! Can he tame a bunch of hyper iguanas and come up with a masterful plan to save the world? And can he make Iguana Boy cool? Apparently he's going to need a MASSIVE cheese pizza to do it. Perfect for fans of Tom Gates.
Toto the Ninja Cat and the Incredible Cheese Heist by Dermot O’Leary
We loved this tale of Toto the blind ninja cat, her hilarious brother Silver and their new best friend Catface (is he a real cat?). Toto learned to trust her senses from a ninja cat-master who taught her back in Italy where they were born. Now living in London, Toto and Silver seem to be ordinary cats, but by night, they love to have adventures and solve a mystery or two along the way.
Mr Penguin and the Lost Treasure by Alex T. Smith
Another huge favourite at Parrot Street HQ, Mr Penguin is the latest creation of Alex T. Smith, best known for his books about Claude the dog. Described as a cross between Indiana Jones and Hercule Poirot, Mr Penguin is an adventurer and a super sleuth in a very dashing hat. Packed with slapstick humour, mystery and adventure, and highly illustrated throughout, this is perfect for young readers stepping up to chapter books.
Are you keen to supercharge your child’s love of reading but feel like you could be doing more to support them? We know that discovering, purchasing and recommending books that maintain your child’s enthusiasm for reading, helping them to reach their full potential, is time consuming. Why not let us take that off your to-do list? With a Parrot Street Book Club subscription your child receives a carefully chosen new children’s book and accompanying activity pack through the post each month. They receive a stream of varied and exciting books, whilst the book club-style questions and activities are perfect for sharing. Find out more here.