Monday, May 16, 2016

Welcome to a very special Chapter Book roundup, celebrating the Laugh Out Loud Children's Book Awards 2016 9-13 Age Group Shortlist

We're sneaking in an extra-special Chapter Book roundup this month with just over a month's voting left for the awesome "Lollies" - the Laugh Out Loud Children's Book Awards 2013.

We've been taking an extra-close look at the 9-13 Age Group category for the Lollies shortlist.

Just in case you missed our previous post all about this awesome award, check it out and check out the details over at the Scholastic Lollies Website:

Here are some fab kids telling you exactly what they think about funny books!

Get involved, get your school involved and GET VOTING in any of the categories you see fit - and perhaps get some brilliant goodies to add to your school's library.

Back to the awards and without further ado, let's take a closer look at the 9-13 age group titles.

Danger is Everywhere by David O'Doherty and Chris Judge (Puffin)
Expect crazed and chaotic comedy in this madcap adventure featuring Docter (sic) Noel Zone who, let's face it, is a cowardly custard extraordinaire. Despite having a big old brain, Noel Zone is absolutely petrified of everything. Post-it notes, coffee stirrers. You name it and he's scared of it so when a cute pup called Napkin comes to stay, Doctor Zone does the only thing he can do - Hides in the nearest wardrobe.

It's exceedingly difficult to be a top-flight scientist and danger-ologist when you're trapped while a puppy goes on the rampage, so hopefully this hilarious spoof self-help book might give you a heads up and turn you into an expert POD (Pupil of Dangerology) before it's too late.
Hilarious and brilliant comedic timing, sheer and utter chaos and cute drooling puppies. What could be better!

"Danger is (Still) Everywhere - Beware of the Dog" by David O'Doherty and Chris Judge is out now from Puffin.

The Parent Agency by David Baddiel and Jim Field (HarperCollins Children's Books)

Take one comedic genius, team him up with an awesome artist, and dig into the thorny subject of why parents are (mostly complete lunatics) and you've got the recipe for a hugely original and funny book. In "The Parent Agency" you're whisked to an alternative world where children are actually allowed to choose their parents! This sounds absolutely perfect to the story's hero, Barry Bennet, who truly wishes that he had different parents himself. As the old saying goes, be careful what you wish for because even the most well informed choice might go horribly wrong.
This is a fantastic book, fused with the sort of dark humour that you'd expect from writers like Neil Gaiman and Eoin Colfer but tinged with David Baddiel's obvious razor sharp observations about what kids expect from their parents and vice versa.

"The Parent Agency" is out now from HarperCollins Children's Books.

Emily Sparkes and the Friendship Fiasco by Ruth Fitzgerald (Little, Brown)

The next title we looked at was absolutely brilliant for Charlotte, with an immediately identifiable main character going through all the sort of annoyances that girls Charlotte's age have to put up with. New babies, best friends moving away, and (ugh) the grossest thing of all - annoying boys in class!. When Emily Sparkes is lumped with Gross-Out Gavin on the school trip, it's just the start of a catalogue of woes that see Emily veering between new baby issues (We did love that her nickname for the new baby was Yoda!), crazy teachers (Mrs Lovetofts made us giggle) and fair-weather friends.

Brilliant characterisations and a goodly dose of fab and inspired observation make this a laugh out loud winner if ever we saw one.

"Emily Sparkes and the Friendship Fiasco" (Emily Sparkes Book 1) is out now from Little, Brown Publishing (and don't forget to check out the other brilliant books in the series too!)

Petunia Perry and the Curse of the Ugly Pigeon by Pamela Butchart and Gemma Correll (Nosy Crow)

Sticking with madcap school-based adventures, meet Petunia Perry, star of "Petunia Perry and the Curse of the Ugly Pigeon" by children's book superstar Pamela Butchart. We've loved her picture books but this is the first time we've dipped into her middle grade stuff and it's HUGELY funny.

Petunia has a problem. Her friend is completely loony (the sort of girl who thinks staging one-person flashmobs in the school canteen is a winsome trait). Her parents are uber-embarrasing (imagine a mum who pretty much gives away WAY too much awful inside information on your home life at parent's evenings) and her English teacher could do with a good shower.

Petunia has decided to write her memoirs, the life and times of a schoolgirl struggling to live an ordinary life when completely mad and random things keep happening to her.
Petunia Perry (just call her Peri) dishes up important information about starting secondary school, avoiding black bananas, avoiding really annoying boys who think drawing you unicorns will somehow win your love and friendship. Oh and did we mention those terrible parents?

Pamela's brilliant comic genius adapts beautifully to an older audience, and we really love Gemma Correll so we were delighted to see her illustrations really bringing the chaos to life.

We personally think the judges have a mountain to climb picking just one of these books, but if we were forced to, I think we both agree that "Petunia Perry and the Curse of the Ugly Pigeon" was our clear winner (any book that can make you simultaneously snort coffee and / or strawberry milk out of your nose really does deserve a Laugh Out Loud award!

"Petunia Perry and the Curse of the Ugly Pigeon" is out now from Nosy Crow.

We'll keep you posted on the eventual winners in each category once the votes have been cast and counted. As we said at the top of the article, GET INVOLVED and join in the fun!

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