Updated: Feb 26
Back in July, I was invited to visit Scholastic HQ to select a shortlist for this year's Lollies award along with the other judges, including Michael Rosen (who set up the Lollies award in 2015), Kate Newport from Scholastic, teacher-blogger Scott Evans and Global Teacher Prize 2018 winner Andria Zafirako. Our task was to narrow down 45 funny books to a shortlist of 12, split into three categories: Best Laugh Out Loud Picture Book, Best Laugh Out Loud Book for 6-8 year olds and Best Laugh Out Loud Book for 9-13 year olds.
Enjoying the books was easy, but picking the best was more of a mission as there were many worthy contenders in the line-up. Some choices were obvious to us all and others generated a bit more discussion between the judges, but in the end we came up with a brilliant shortlist that we are all excited to share.
Here is the full shortlist for the 2020 Laugh Out Loud Book Awards:
Best Laugh Out Loud Picture Book:
Baby’s First Bank Heist by Jim Whalley and illustrated by Stephen Collin (Bloomsbury) Baby Frank’s parents say that he can’t have a pet – ‘Pets are for older kids’, ‘Be happy with your teddy’, ‘They cost too much to keep’ – which leaves Baby Frank with a BIG problem because he REALLY wants a pet. What’s a baby to do … ? Rob a bank, of course! But will money buy Baby Frank the fluffy pet he so desperately wants? Available here
Spyder by Matt Carr (Scholastic) It’s not easy being a super special secret agent when you’re only as big as a pin badge. But when a birthday cake is under threat, SPYDER is called upon. It’s time to pack the spy-kit with binoculars, a top-secret laser pen and… a banana. Will Spyder save the day, AND the party?
Ten Fat Sausages by Michelle Robinson and illustrated by Tor Freeman (Andersen Press)
Ten fat sausages sizzling in the pan… decide to escape, if they can!
Come on a great escape through the kitchen as we follow each sausage that decides to make a run for it. Will they succeed or will the cat, blender, plug hole or fan prove their downfall?
You’re Called What?! by Kes Gray and illustrated by Nikki Dyson (Macmillan)
Ice Cream Cone Worm. Monkeyface Prickleback. Pink Fairy Armadillo. You’re called WHAT?!
Welcome to the Ministry of Silly Animal Names where all the creatures have one thing in common: they want to change their names.
A unique and rip-roaringly funny, tongue-twisting story full of weird and wonderful real creatures and facts at the end that will amaze. Available here
Best Laugh Out Loud Book for 6-8 year olds:
Bad Nana: Older Not Wiser by Sophy Henn (HarperCollins)
The first book in a wickedly funny new series for ages six and up, Bad Nana: Older Not Wiser follows the mischievous exploits of 7 and ¾ year old Jeanie and her Grandma, Bad Nana. Jeanie’s Grandma is BAD. Not bad like a vampire or a gangster or anything, more like . . . up to no good. Sometimes she can be a bit embarrassing but most of the time she’s REALLY fun. Everyone says Bad Nana is old enough to know better . . . but she doesn’t seem to care one bit. In fact, Jeanie thinks she might quite like it!
The Legend of Kevin by Philip Reeve and illustrated by Sarah McIntyre (OUP)
Kevin the flying pony blows in on a magical storm and – DOOF! – crashes into the balcony outside Max’s flat. As the storm waters rise and the town is besieged with creatures, Max and Kevin set about putting things right. With Max’s quick thinking and a constant supply of biscuits for Kevin, there’s nothing this heroic duo can’t achieve!
The Nothing to See Here Hotel by Steven Butler and illustrated by Steven Lenton (Simon & Schuster)
Welcome to The Nothing to See Here Hotel; a hotel for magical creatures, where weird is normal for Frankie Bannister and his parents who run the hotel. When a goblin messenger arrives at The Nothing to See Here Hotel, announcing the imminent arrival of the goblin prince Grogbah, Frankie and his family rush into action to get ready for their important guest. But it soon becomes obvious that the Banister family are going to have their work cut out with the demanding prince and his never-ending entourage, especially when it turns out the rude little prince is hiding a secret…
World’s Worst Children 3 by David Walliams and illustrated by Tony Ross (HarperCollins)
In The World’s Worst Children 3, Britain’s biggest-selling children’s author presents another ten horrendously hilarious stories about the absolute worst children ever. The characters are vividly brought to life in glorious, gruesome colour by the incredible Tony Ross. From ten-year-old Hank and his endless pranks, to Tandy and her titanic tantrums – this collection of The World’s Worst Children will delight young readers everywhere. Available here
Best Laugh Out Loud Book for 9-13 year olds:
I Bet I Can Make You Laugh by Joshua Seigal and illustrated by Tim Wesson (Bloomsbury)
Packed full of stupendously silly, fantastically funny and hysterically hilarious poems, this brilliant anthology is edited by exciting young poet, Joshua Seigal. Featuring a diverse range of contributors and some brand new poems from Joshua himself, this book is perfect for anyone who needs a giggle or a belly laugh!
I Swapped My Brother on the Internet by Jo Simmons and illustrated by Nathan Reed (Bloomsbury)
I can get a new brother? On the internet?’ Jonny muttered. ‘Oh sweet mangoes of heaven!’
Everyone has dreamed of being able to get rid of their brother or sister at one time or another – but for Jonny, the dream is about to become a reality with SiblingSwap.com! What could be better than someone awesome to replace Ted, Jonny’s obnoxious older brother.
But finding the perfect brother isn’t easy, as Jonny discovers when Sibling Swap sends him a line of increasingly bizarre replacements: first a merboy, then a brother raised by meerkats, and then the ghost of Henry the Eighth! What’s coming next?! Suddenly old Ted isn’t looking so bad. But can Jonny ever get him back?
Kid Normal and the Rogue Heroes by Greg James and Chris Smith, and illustrated by Erica Salcedo (Bloomsbury)
Not all heroes have superpowers.
Don’t believe us? Well Murph Cooper is living proof. Since becoming Kid Normal, he and the Super Zeroes have been catching baddies all over the place. But being a hero is about to get a whole lot harder …
Far away in a top-secret prison, the world’s most feared supervillain has broken a thirty year silence
Planet Stan by Elaine Wickson and illustrated by Chris Judge (OUP)
Stan loves a calming, ordered environment. His dinosaur-loving younger brother Fred is the opposite: chaotic, messy, and prone to leaving snails under Stan’s bed. As Stan struggles to cope with his high maintenance brother and his hair-brained schemes he charts all the ups and downs of his life in a series of hilarious infographics.
Shortlisting with the other judges was a real honour, but the best thing about the Lollies is that the winners were chosen by the readers!
The full Lollies shortlist is available to purchase online here.
Announcing the Winners!
In early 2020, Scholastic invited me back to their star-studded award ceremony to see the winners being announced. Tens of thousands of children voted in the Lollies 2020, and it was a delight to see announced who they chose as winners of the Laugh Out Loud Book Awards 2020.
Head Lollies Judge, Michael Rosen, said: “Funny books are a fantastic springboard into reading for pleasure for all children that’s why the Lollies Book Awards are so important. The prize is unique in that winners are selected by children themselves, and as such holds up a mirror for what they are looking for in books and what they really want to read. The prize creates a real buzz and many talking points about humour, children and of course literacy.”
The winning books are:
Best Laugh Out Loud Picture Book: Ten Fat Sausages by Michelle Robinson and Tor Freeman
Best Laugh Out Loud Book for 6–8 year olds: The World’s Worst Children 3 by David Walliams and Tony Ross
Best Laugh Out Loud Book for 9–13 year olds - I Bet I Can Make You Laugh by Joshua Seigal and Tim Wesson
The full Lollies shortlist is available to purchase online here.
Where next? > Visit our Reading for Pleasure Hub
> Browse our Topic Booklists
> View our printable year group booklists.
> See our Books of the Month.