-posted by Meghan
It’s funny, because my b-g twins have personalities in direct opposition to the”traditional” gendered suppositions. Molly is the mischievous one, and Jacob is the love-bug. Though Jacob loves to call himself sneaky and tricky, and Molly can cuddle with the best of them. So perhaps any gendered biases in either direction are complete hogwash! All I can tell you for certain is that both kid (and in fact, ALL kids I’ve ever met) love these stories of boys who are sneaky, tricky, mischievous, naughty, sometimes outright bad, but always very funny… You may face these with trepidation, but I guarantee any fun-loving boy (or girl) in your life will delight in the devilish antics of these marvelously mischievous little men.
Horrible Harry by Suzy Kline
Harry may do horrible things, but being his best friend is lots of fun! And for all the trouble he can cause, he really can be a good friend. One of my favorite things about these books (and there are plenty!) is that Harry has a crush on a sweet and spunky girl in his class, Song Lee. And she just happens to have her own series of books as well, which works nicely for reading aloud to mixed gender siblings. It’s also nice that she just happens to be a part of another culture, having been born in Korea before moving to the US. Start with Horrible Harry in Room 2B.
Horrid Henry by Francesca Simon
I will freely admit, these are my least favorite books on the list. However, kids really enjoy Horrid Henry’s antics and adventures. And frankly, I enjoyed some of the situations that Henry finds himself in- from snobby dining to a tacky wedding- where much of his horrid behavior is exactly how many adults would choose to behave if we weren’t too bound by social convention and politeness. The first couple of books in the series are the best.
Soup by Robert Newton Peck
Soup is autobiographical, and about Peck and his best friend in rural Vermont in the 1920’s. Funny and charming, these innocent tales are seemingly about boys getting in trouble, but really at the heart of it, it’s a story of friendship. The story about “catching the conversation ball” with the school nurse had me convulsing with laughter as a kid, and it did it to me again when I re-read it recently. There are several books in this series, and they all make nice prequels to reading Peck’s other works (A Day No Pigs Would Die or Hang for Treason) as well as Huck Finn, Tom Sawyer, and The Great Brain. Speaking of which…
The Great Brain by John D. Fitzgerald
Another autobiographical series of books, this time about 3 brothers growing up in Adenville, Utah at the close of the 19th century. Narrated by the youngest brother, John D. (the author) the stories are mainly about his older brother Tom D., the craftiest con man (boy) in the west. Somehow, Tom always manages to come out on top in any escapade, and he always gets the best end of any deal. John D. worships his brother, even when he’s on the receiving end of a raw deal. It’s a fun look at family, brotherhood, swindling, Mormonism and life over a hundred years ago.
Roscoe Riley Rules by Katherine Applegate
Roscoe doesn’t mean to be mischievous, he can’t help it if he’s a bit mishap prone… his intentions are always good, but the best laid plans, as we all know, often go awry. These books are silly, easy reads with entertaining pictures that make for nice transition books from read-alouds to read-to-myself. It’s nice to see someone who manages to get into funny situations without intending harm, resorting to violence or words that you might not want to hear repeated around the house.
Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown
Flat Stanley is flat because a bulletin board dropped on him and flattened him. But it also allowed him to have many funny and silly adventures. Kids love the silliness of the idea, not to mention the pictures that show a two dimensional boy who is able to get sent through the mail, become his own boat sail, and many other things (so far Molly and Jacob’s favorite image in any of the books is when he gets blown back up to normal with a bicycle pump straight in his mouth). Stanley Lambchop and his brother Arthur aren’t naughty, as so many of these other boys are, but they are silly and inventive and have loads of adventures!
Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey
We are on a Captain Underpants kick at our house. We read some every night. The kids read it to themselves every day. Chances are, if you invite us to a birthday party (and you are under 10) you will get a set as a gift. Why? Kids love them! Molly & Jacob giggle outloud every time I even reach for the naughty potty humor filled antics of George and Harold. I tire of them. I tire of endless underpants jokes. BUT. The kids don’t – and they want to read “one more chapter, Mommy!”, and then they want to figure out what each sign says, and then they read the comic book parts to themselves. I’m for anything that encourages every form of reading, so I’m now a Captain Underpants fan too! And some of the wordplay jokes are quite clever (though many aren’t!).