Articles about reading

Funny books for Red Nose Day

Mar 2024

Literature is full of comedy and funny books a great way for both, children and adults to get into reading!

In comedic literature, this is often achieved when characters triumph over negative circumstances with the creation of some sort of comedic effect and the endings are often uplifting, positive, or successful.

Comedies can occur across dramatic and narrative types of literature. In dramatic literature, we see them in plays such as William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Aristophanes’ (known as the Father of Comedy) surviving works. In narrative stories, comedies include the likes of Dav Pilkey’s Captain Underpants, many of Roald Dahl's stories and Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, are all widely regarded as some of the best comedic novels.

Shakespeare wrote many comedies, like Much Ado About Nothing, that are still hilarious today. The oldest joke book that has survived is from ancient Greece and is called Philogelos, which means 'Love of Laughter'.

On Red Nose Day, we recommend some funny books to enjoy for some Comic Relief!  

The Importance of Being Earnest, Oscar Wilde
"To lose one parent may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness."
Many of Oscar Wilde's novels are humorous but the favourite example to make us laugh is The Importance of Being Earnest. Featuring in the further reading section of the Kumon Recommended Reading List, this classic play centres around two English gentlemen who tell a few tall tales and get themselves into some hot water. The play is still regularly staged and performed in theatres to this day!

Three Men in a Boat, Jerome K. Jerome
"I don't know why it should be, I am sure; but the sight of another man asleep in bed when I am up, maddens me."
Jerome K Jerome's Three Men in a Boat tells the story of a boating holiday on the Thames. The three friends take the excursion to cure their many (self-diagnosed) ailments, and hilarity ensues.

Matilda, Roald Dahl
"I cannot for the life of me understand why small children take so long to grow up. I think they do it deliberately, just to annoy me."
Roald Dahl's Matilda is a fantastically comical book, featuring its namesake Matilda, an extraordinary child (with a wonderful love of reading) who is joined by a host of eccentric characters, including the terrifying Trunchbull!

These three books should get you off to a good, and funny, start! If you're interested in learning more, Kumon English students study types of plot, irony and comedy in level K of the Kumon English Programme whilst developing their critique skills. Within this topic block they explore extracts from classic comedies such as A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare.