Humor books for second graders

These second-grade reads are packed with goofy, "gooney," drooling pleasures.

By GreatSchools Staff

Science Verse

Science Verse

Science Verse by Jon Scieszka, illustrated by Lane Smith (Viking Juvenile, 2004)
$16.99, Amazon / IndieBound / Powell's

Loosely based on a variety of famous poems, these 21 wacky poems — accompanied by Lane Smith’s equally goofy illustrations — cover everything from the “Water Cycle” (“It’s raining, it’s pouring/For H20, it’s boring”) to anatomy (“I think that I ain’t never seen/A poem ugly as a spleen”) to parasites (“Mary had a little worm/She thought it was a chigger/But everything that Mary ate/Only made it bigger”). The main thing you’ll learn about science is that it can be a lot of fun. 40 pages.

Parents’ Choice

It's Raining Pigs and Noodles

It's Raining Pigs & Noodles

It’s Raining Pigs & Noodles by Jack Prelutsky, illustrated by James Stevenson (HarperTrophy, 2005)
$9.99, Amazon / IndieBound / Powell's

The title, which is also the first line, sets the playful tone. Delightfully anti-authoritarian and anti-establishment, Jack Prelutsky is the unexcelled master of word-playing nonsense. His laugh-aloud poems are rude, disrespectful, annoying, and perceptive. In a word, marvelous. Childish readers, however, will read, laugh, and pay him the ultimate compliment: They will memorize and repeat his lines with (pickle) relish. 160 pages.

Parents’ Choice

Drooling and Dangerous

Drooling and Dangerous: The Riot Brothers Return by Mary Amato, illustrated by Ethan Long (Holiday House, 2006)
$7.95, Amazon / IndieBound Powell's

Three hilarious adventures of brothers Orville and Wilbur and their mother, who is also a school principal, will attract young readers who love silliness. With plastic bugs constant flying, the brothers become spies and movie stars, celebrate “dwitch say,” and almost get into big trouble. 176 pages.

Children’s Choices

Gooney Bird Greene

Gooney Bird Greene by Lois Lowry, illustrated by Middy Thomas (Yearling, 2004)
$5.50, Amazon / IndieBound Powell's

Gooney Bird arrives in second grade in the middle of a school day, which suits her fine. She wants to be the center of all action — and especially of attention. Wearing colorful, creative costumes daily, she soon becomes the brightest — in every sense of the word — star of second grade. Her teacher, who is trying to explain the nature of good stories to the class, tolerantly allows Gooney Bird to upstage her by telling melodramatic stories that appear to be whoppers. Declaring “I tell only absolutely true stories,” Gooney Bird enters the annals of funny young protagonists. The format of this book is excellent for transitional readers. Gooney Bird's stories, filtered through a fine imagination, are entertaining and will leave readers hoping for more. 96 pages.

Parents’ Choice

How to Save Your Tail

How to Save Your Tail by Mary Hansen (Schwartz & Wade Books, 2007)
$5.50, Amazon / IndieBound Powell's

Once upon a time, there was a verbally creative rat, Bob, who managed to save his tail by telling tall tales. Bob loved two things above all others — reading and baking cookies. One afternoon, when Bob was cornered by two hungry cats, he put his talents to work to save himself. He enchanted the cats with fanciful tales while serving warm-from-the-oven, mouthwatering cookies alongside fresh saucers of milk.

This amusing story is the perfect read-aloud that is sure to elicit a giggle or two. Young readers will quickly recognize that Bob’s tales have much in common with classic fairy tales. The illustrations provide a delightful accompaniment to the story, so bake up a batch of cookies, pour a glass of milk, curl up with your child, and enjoy this charming tale. 93 pages.

Kepler’s Books