Humour is really important to kids. They love to read stories that reflect their own hopes and dreams, but, if you can find a way of tickling their funny spots at the same time, you’ll be onto a winning formula.
Reading about situations where someone they can identify with gets into one hilarious mess after another is particularly appealing to young readers.
Tip 17 – Using Humour
What type of humour works?
- Humour that makes light of their own situations. This doesn’t mean making fun of them, but writing in a way that lets them laugh at themselves.
- Silly events. A series of actions which build on each other to create a funny outcome. The groundwork should be subtle, so that when the silly event happens, although it makes sense, it takes the reader by surprise.
- Visual gags and corny jokes. Children have an endless capacity to enjoy the type of humour that makes the average adult groan out loud.
- Poking fun at siblings. Making fun of the hero might be out of bounds, but brothers and sisters are fair game, as long as the humour isn’t cruel.
- Most things gross. So many things that adults find absolutely tasteless (like picking noses) tickle kids’ humour.
- Banana skins and things. Slapstick humour is always a winner, as long as it is realistically written.
And what type doesn’t?
- Cruel jokes on unfortunate people. Humour which makes fun of anyone perceived to be disadvantaged should never be used.
- Anything that doesn’t arise naturally from the story. Humour shouldn’t be forced. If it doesn’t come easily, don’t try to manufacture it simply because you think you should add some.
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