funny 3rd grade boy books, funny 3rd grade books for boys

Funny Books for 3rd Grade Boy: Reluctant Reader Challenge

My mom friend Julie’s son just finished the chapter book series Diary of a Wimpy Kid series and then panic set in for her and sadness for her son. He loved Diary of a Wimpy Kid which I think is one of the best early chapter books for kids to get them excited about reading, but alas, a new one needs to come out or reading will be a nightly struggle. She is a teacher herself and feels that children and reading can be a struggle in the early elementary school years. We put our heads together for reading strategies to make reading for kids more fun, especially for her son!

I had posted on Spawn of Diary of a Wimpy Kid so I brought in a selection of chapter books to yoga (we do yoga together) and gave her a brief synopsis of each one. Only a few were going to fly, but hey!, that’s ok! It’s really interesting that her son rejects all Dan Gutman books including baseball chapter books because he’s a really sporty kid. You name it, he plays it and plays it well. But the crux is: not funny. He needs funny! Funny makes him want to read more. I think these reading strategies will work. He just needs more chapter books for boys like Dairy of a Wimpy Kid.

Wish us luck!

The next day, I saw my Mom Friend Julie at Zumba (we do that together too), and she was thrilled that he picked up one book, Tales of a Sixth Grade Muppet by Kirk Scroggs, brought it upstairs to read, and then packed it in his backpack for school! SCORE! Sadly, though, this is a stand alone chapter book targeted at boys. Perhaps it will become a chapter book series but there is just one book out so far. (A note to Kirk Scroggs: please write more chapter books for boys as fast as possible!! Hey, just passing on what boys are telling me!)

No problem! Armed with the knowledge of what he likes and dislikes, I am right back at it and here’s my new list. (I’ll keep you posted next week after yoga and Zumba to see if these books fly!). So, a few things to think about:

  • Format: he likes graphic novel or hybrid graphic novel. He MUST have cartoon illustrations to break up text.
  • Humor: he must be laughing like crazy.
  • Series: are a plus; once engaged, he’ll work his way through every last book.
  • Age Appropriate: Though James Patterson, Middle School The Worst Years of My Life fits the bill, the content is too heavy for 3rd grade.
  • Diversity: he’s ok with an Asian American boy character though he’s not Asian
  • The key is funny!
p.s. I will add that my young friend has a great sense of humor!


3rd Grade Funny Books for Boys

Dragonbreath series by Ursula Vernon

The fact that I have the author memorized means that I tracked this down at my library for my son who thinks this is hysterically funny. I agree. And the hybrid graphic novel/chapter book format REALLY works well for boys, reluctant reader or otherwise! Sadly, everyone seems to agree, but I am on the wait list for the books and still haven’t heard back yet!

Alvin Ho series by Lenore Look

I think I am secretly over-protective of Alvin Ho. He’s a kind of Asian American nerd so I wasn’t sure if my reluctant reader would identify but his mom thinks that it will be a go. Sorry Alvin Ho. I totally underestimated you!

How to Train Your Dragon series by Cressida Cowell

I really love this series and it’s both engaging, funny and has a great message about being true to yourself. I’m not sure if my Mom Friend has tried it yet, but this series has all the elements he seeks: cartoon illustrations to break up text, humor, and an underdog boy character.

Max Finder series by Liam O’Donnell

My latest find. Though Max Finder seems geared to Junior High age kids, my first grader is really enjoying these 5 page graphic novel mysteries. And they are HARD to solve, but not so hard that you can’t do it. We get about 50% correct and we are on book 3 now! I just tried it out with another little boy, and he’s in second grade and loving them too! I also love the ethnic diversity of the characters which includes the requisite bully and gang!

Big Nate series by Lincoln Peirce

Big Nate is a clever hybrid of graphic novel — cartoon strip style — with a traditional chapter book story. [graphic novel/chapter book, ages 8-12]

Julian Rodriguez series by Alexander Stadler

I really like the premise of this series — alien posing as human boy in typical family observing human life which he/she/it finds odd and reporting back to alien HQ — and it  makes for both great vocabulary and funny observations. This is a new series with just two books out.

Guys Read Funny Business by Jon Scieszka

I have heard a lot of great things about this book, and Jon Scieszka is the king of humor for kids. It’s worth a shot!

I found these two picks of a list for Funny Books for Kids by East Lansing Library in Michigan (and shout out to my college roommate who works at the University in East Lansing!). I don’t know the Third Grade Science Project but seems right up his alley and Judy Blume’s Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing skews younger so I think it’s perfect for a third grader.

I Was a Third Grade Science Project by Mary Jane Auch
When Josh pairs up with his best friend Brian to do a school science project, he’s sure that “Brian the Brain” will come up with a winning idea.Willy. Fiction for ages 7-10.

Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume
Peter’s little brother Fudge is always getting into some sort of mischief, and Peter’s had it up to here! Fiction for ages 8-12.

I will present these to my Mom Friend and report back on how I did. So far, we are happy that he likes the Muppet book so fingers crossed …

Reader Recommendations

Thank you to Abi for these two great recommendations!

Squish – graphic novel by sister-brother duo Jennifer & Matt Holm. (They also did the /Babymouse/ series, but the green & black amoeba Squish is an easier sell for boys than pink & black Babymouse. They are a hilarious and high quality author-illustrator team.)

Tom Angleberger is hilarious. I have personally read & loved The Strange Case of Origami Yoda but I want to read all his books and I’ve heard good things.

To view any book more closely at Amazon, please click on image of book.

funny 3rd grade boy books, funny 3rd grade books for boys

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By Mia Wenjen, PragmaticMom


    • To Melissa,
      Thanks so much. I had fun putting the list together and my little son in first grade and I are slowly working our way through these books. My third grade friend is loving the 6th Grade Muppet chapter book. My son loves Dragonbreath and Alvin Ho so far. We are taking a picture book segue and reading Arthur by Marc Brown books right now bit will circle back for more funny!

  1. Wonderful list- think I’ll be hearing a lot more laughing in the library! Yippee!!!

  2. Dee

    We are now fully entrenched in the Dragon Breath series! I got Dylan 2 more for his birthday. They are awesome. I’ve even caught him reading just because!
    Dee recently posted…Focus on ADHD: A reaction to L. Alan SroufeMy Profile

    • To Dee,
      Us too!! I tried to reserve the ones we need next but no luck! I guess that is great because everyone, particularly boys, love it. I’m going to set up a mom buy/borrow book pool. Like a car pool, but we buy strategically so we can all lend around the horn. The books aren’t sequential. We are doing that for the Max Finder books.

  3. Great suggestions! I have been there… My 4th grade son is very picky and also is not that interested in sporty books. I’d add Bobby the Brave and Bobby vs. Girls by Lisa Yee, and also the Shredderman and Gecko series by Wendelin van Draanen.

    I was initially really not crazy about the Wimpy Kid books, but my son enjoys them so much, I decided to re-read them myself and I’ve changed my tune,
    HapaMama recently posted…Crouching TigerMy Profile

    • To HapaMama,
      Thank you for your wonderful suggestions. I shall add to the list!!

      Ps I was just like you regarding Wimpy Kid books but I swung the other way in full support too after seeing how powerful they are in getting kids excited to read. That’s a pretty powerful cheese touch!!

  4. Abi

    Great list! I have a couple to add:
    -Squish – graphic novel by sister-brother duo Jennifer & Matt Holm. (They also did the /Babymouse/ series, but the green & black amoeba Squish is an easier sell for boys than pink & black Babymouse. They are a hilarious and high quality author-illustrator team.)

    -Tom Angleberger is hilarious. I have personally read & loved /The Strange Case of Origami Yoda/ but I want to read all his books and I’ve heard good things.

  5. My 3rd grader is reading Artsy-Fartsy (part of the Aldo Zelnick Comic Novel Series by Karla Oceanak) and really likes it. He said it’s better than Wimpy Kid. I think there are five books out right now.
    Holly recently posted…Kids’ Snack Menu, With 70+ Snack IdeasMy Profile

  6. Elizabeth Towns

    Where have you been? I think you may have just saved the day in my house. I am the BEST at finding book series for all kinds of girl lists, but struggle at finding great books for my son. He is 8 and he struggles with phonics and vocabulary. One of the ways we help encourage his love for books is by finding series books that pull him in; capture him in the story. He likes to listen to them on audio, hear me read them to him and try to read them himself. It goes a long way in feeding his strong desire to work on his phonetic development and vocab recognition skills. I am printing this list, sharing it, and adding it to my Greatest List Ever of books we must have read in our house!
    Elizabeth Towns recently posted…Passion CreekMy Profile

    • Hi Elizabeth,
      Yay! You son might like those Pick Your Own Ending stories — Worst Case Scenario novels, Mars, Everest, I think there is one more. It will definitely put him into the story! He actually guides the story!

  7. Tracy

    My son loved the My Weird School series and the Wayside school series!

    • Hi Tracy,
      That is such an interesting series. I find that my kids either LOVED it or HATED it. It is one of those kinds of series that the reader reacts strongly too. I found it odd but amusing. And different too! I’m glad that there are lots of kids who love it. Louis Sachar is such a talented author.
      Pragmatic Mom recently posted…Let’s Go Fly a Kite!My Profile

  8. My boys really love the Andrew Clements books- while not laugh-out-loud funny in the way some of these are, there are a lot of chuckle moments and he has a TON to choose from (I recommend Frindle). Some parents might roll eyes at this suggestion, but the Captain Underpants series is full of 3rd grade boy gross-out humor. And Shel Silverstein’s poetry books might seem like an unconventional choose but they’re easily digestible and full of funny, as are classics like Judy Blume’s Freckle Juice and Tom Roswell’s How To Eat Fried Worms. In a year or two, I’m guessing he’ll be ready for and LOVE Carl Hiasson and, especially, Tim Federle. His books are the hardest I’ve laughed in a long time.

    • Hi Jen,
      Thank you for your wonderful suggestions. I loved Frindle too! Kids love that kind of rebellion story like the movie Ferris Beuller’s Day off. My son loved Captain Underpants in 2nd grade and I always forget about poetry but you are right; kids love Shel Silverstein and Jack Prelutsky. Great recs! Thanks again!!!
      Pragmatic Mom recently posted…Meet Rick Riordan with MeMy Profile

  9. Jocelyn

    Thank you so much for this! I am homeschooling my Grade 4 son who is just moving into the English program from French Immersion and we are looking for some fun books that he will fill confidently in reading on his own and that will make it want to read. These looks great!!

    • Hi Jocelyn,
      I’m so glad this list is helping your son. My son just finished the latest Timmy Failure book — there are three now. He would attest that this is a book he will whip through because he enjoys it so much. The series really is so funny and the vocabulary built in is also advanced. A great combination of entertainment and sneaky learning! I think funny books work so well for boys! The Guys Read funny version is also very entertaining! We had boys borrow this book and everyone gave it a great review!
      Pragmatic Mom recently posted…Do Good, Share Traditions and Win PrizesMy Profile

  10. I ran across my first Timmy Failure:Mistakes Were Made and read through it myself in one night. I wanted to make sure it would pass a my 10-year-old grandson’s test. He doesn’t know it yet, but he will laugh himself silly. It should definitely be on your list if it isn’t yet!

    Happy Reading!
    Nancy Pierce

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