The power of funny fiction with Jenny Pearson and Ross Montgomery

The power of funny fiction with Jenny Pearson and Ross Montgomery


Here at Barrington Stoke we know the importance of valuing all kinds of books and reading. Today, we’re hearing from two of our top experts on funny fiction – bestselling authors Jenny Pearson and Ross Montgomery – about the power of funny books and what humour means to them.

Jenny Pearson

Jenny Pearson

“Children love humour. In fact, in my classroom, funny books are what kids most often ask to read. I think that this is because children are little fun seekers. They want to be entertained; they want to laugh. They want to do things that they enjoy, and if reading doesn’t come easily, it is understandable why some kids might not be turning cartwheels at the thought of picking up a book. A book has to reward children for their effort. And I believe that laughing is a really great pay-off. Just as laughing together builds bonds between people, I like to think that every time a child laughs at a book, a bond is being built between them and a love of reading.

While funny books are often the books that start a child’s reading journey, they offer so much more than that. They provide an escape from what can be a chaotic and confusing world. Laughing can provide a real release from the stresses of the day.

Funny books also help children develop their own sense of humour – something that is so important when navigating the ups and downs of life. I think the value of this can sometimes be underestimated. Having a sense of humour also enables you to go out into the world, interact with people and build successful relationships – professional and personal.

A funny book is also rarely just funny. I think humour allows an author to gain a reader’s trust to explore bigger, meaningful issues. I like to ask readers to think deeply, and when they do, I will repay them with a laugh. Because that is what life is – sometimes serious, often ridiculous. I think funny books have the power to show kids that during challenging times, laughter and happiness are always there, waiting to be found.”

© Jenny Pearson 2023


Ross Montgomery

Ross Montgomery

“I’ve always loved funny books. They were the books that got me hooked on reading when I was a kid in the first place: before I was able to enjoy literature and fantasy, I was seeking out Beano annuals and Horrible Histories and silly independent readers with loads of gags in them. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t have had the confidence to start picking up books with higher word counts and more complicated storylines – I simply wouldn’t have enjoyed reading enough to push myself in the first place.

It wasn’t really until I started doing author visits to schools that this really struck me. I would be presenting one of my stories to a class of kids, ask them about what they enjoyed reading, and the answer would always come back loud and clear: they wanted jokes. For every child that enjoyed delving into a fantastical chapter book or action-filled middle grade, there would be two children who loved books whose sole purpose was to make them laugh.

And who can blame them?! At the end of a long day learning about how the world works, why wouldn’t you turn to something funny? Think about the most important, meaningful relationships you had with adults when you were a child – relatives, neighbours, teachers. The chances are, some of the relationships were founded on humour and silliness. Jokes can be a source of care and attention – a safe way of bonding with people and showing love.

Somehow, I’d forgotten that when I started writing kids books – I had forgotten that purely silly books were always more than just silliness. Funny books are notoriously the ones which are least celebrated, but seeing those kids hunger for more funny books made me realise that there are fewer things difficult, braver – and more important – than writing a book designed to make a child snort before bedtime. We owe it to them.”

© Ross Montgomery 2023


Thank you, both! Check out the brand-new hilarious books from Jenny and Ross, guaranteed to raise a giggle and more – click on the covers to find out more and read the first chapter.

Bertie and the Alien ChickenFortune's Fools