Anh Do’s WeirDo books are at the younger end of the illustrated humour market, appealing to kids of around 6+ with their clever take on being ‘the fish out of water’.
The Tom Gates series is for slightly older readers, with more text, more complex interactions between the characters and more ‘in your face’ naughtiness and cheeky observations of teachers and parents.
What the two series have in common is well-drawn characters who feel familiar, school and family settings, illustration throughout – and, of course, lots of laughs!
Here’s our round-up of some of the other highly-illustrated humorous series for kids out on the shelves at the moment, appealing to various age groups:
Nate is a self-described genius and sixth grade Renaissance Man, who lives with his dad and older sister. Based on the comic strip of the same name, these stories are slightly ‘sweeter’ than the Wimpy Kid books. They’re enjoyed by kids of around 9, right up to the end of primary school.
George and Harold write comic books starring their school principal: Captain Underpants! At the younger end of illustrated fiction, the books in this series interweave George and Harold’s stories with the comics they create, and feature fast-paced action, jokes and toilet humour galore.
With strong appeal to girls of about 9+, the books in this series are packed with popular culture references. Told in diary style (words, sketches and doodles) by lead character Nikki, they also feature her best friends Chloe and Zoey, ‘crush’ Brandon and ‘mean’ Mackenzie.
Australians Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton create the ultimate fantasy hideaway – a treehouse with a bowling alley, library full of comics, tank of sharks and lots more – and make it the setting for nutty adventures. Huge fun for the 8+ age group.
Very funny, and also quite poignant in parts, this series is a hit for kids of around 9+.
11-year-old Timmy runs the ‘Total Failure’ Detective Agency, assisted by his polar bear. Humorously oblivious to much of what’s going on around him and brimming with unjustified self-confidence, Timmy has big plans for the agency, and to make his family’s financial struggles a thing of the past.
While they don’t have the same comic-strip heritage as some of the other series in this list, comedian David Walliams’ stories – Gangsta Granny, Demon Dentist, Ratburger and others – are highly illustrated (by Tony Ross) and packed with humour centred on bums, farts and grossness. They also have serious messages, and sometimes a little darkness too – think modern Roald Dahl. Good for kids of around 9+
While the Marvin books have less illustration than the others on this list, and are a little more ‘old-fashioned’ in style, we couldn’t resist including them here as classic examples of humorous stories with family and school settings. Marvin is a 9-year-old with a big imagination. He’s the only redhead in his family, so he reasons he must actually be a royal prince who was kidnapped at birth. The playground wisdom says that kissing your elbow will turn you into a girl, so when his lips accidentally brush his arm, Marvin assumes the worst… Entertaining for quite young kids, around 7+.