I’ve never been much of a fan of the common gag, preferring observational comedy, but as a child, getting to grips with a good old-fashioned joke is a rite of passage.
For Toby’s fifth birthday he was given a copy of Francesca Simon’s Horrid Henry’s Jolly Joke book. He liked the idea of a joke but he didn’t yet have the language skills to understand why they were funny.
Fast forward two years and he’s chosen to revisit this book, but this time he understands the humour and can repeat the jokes with confidence. It’s testament to how his language skills have developed. Plus, it’s lovely to see him finding pleasure in a bit of old-fashioned comedy.
So here’s why every child needs a joke book.
- Joke books make reading fun.
- Jokes help develop vocabulary by prompting questions about what words mean to enhance understanding of jokes.
- The best joke books also expand general knowledge for the same reasons as the above (and when have you seen a comedian do poorly on a general knowledge quiz?)
- Jokes encourage children to play with language.
- Jokes are also good for teaching children the rhythms of language (after all, how many comedians also end up writing really good novels?)
- All children need a few jokes up their sleeve for entertaining bored adults at family gatherings (and for earning a few extra sweets at Halloween.
- The ability to be funny is the ultimate secondary school survival tool.
- A well-developed sense of humour is a crucial tool for getting through life, which can sometimes be cruel, unjust, and a bit rubbish without it.
- A child’s laughter is the best sound in the world.