Posted in Humor, Intermediate, Middle Grade, Non-fiction, Tween Reads

Learn how to tell the perfect joke: The Joke Machine

The Joke Machine, by Theresa Julian/Illustrated by Pat Lewis, (Oct. 2019, Odd Dot), $8.99, ISBN: 978-1-250-31864-0

Ages 7-12

The Joke Machine is one of those books that’s kind of a no-brainer for my library purchases. Joke books are huge in my library community. A book that teaches you how to build the perfect joke, and manages to squeak in some English lessons while it’s at it? That’s a book my kids need.

Set up like as a trip through a fictional Laugh Lab, The Joke Machine takes readers through 16 “rooms”, each where they’ll learn a new strategy and meet a new joke specialist. They’ll also get to know LOLA, a joke machine whose name stands for Laugh Out Loud Apparatus. There are chapters on such joke techniques as contrast, specifics, being literal, and personalizing jokes to your own sense of humor (“twizzling”), all with dozens of examples. The book contains over 500 family-friendly jokes, many of which have been tested by my second grader and me, with varying degrees of success (everything from a chuckle to “MOM, STOP” – that one was from my too-cool-for-me college student), plus quick and easy ideas for creating your own jokes.

Teaching kids the subtle art of playing with words and helping them fine-tune the magic of exaggeration? Priceless. A note on sarcasm cautions kids about hurt feelings, and encourages them to be positive and respectful when joking. Black and white line illustrations get a dose of orange to liven things up throughout.

Get ready to hear these jokes over and over again – and have some of your own ready to answer with. This one will be a popular selection.



ollow a cast of fictional funny experts into the Laugh Lab, a hilarious joke-building factory that teaches middle-grade readers how to create their own jokes, puns, silly one-liners, and more. Each chapter explores a different style of joke making, such as surprise, understatement, and exaggeration, and includes hundreds of hilarious examples.

By the end of the book, readers will have a set of tools in their joke belt to make their friends and family actually LOL.

The book includes more than 500 family-friendly jokes—plus zillions that you can create on your own!



I'm a mom, a children's librarian, bibliophile, and obsessive knitter. I'm a pop culture junkie and a proud nerd, and favorite reads usually fall into Sci-Fi/Fantasy. I review comics and graphic novels at WhatchaReading ( I'm also the co-founder of On Wednesdays We Wear Capes (, where I discuss pop culture and geek fandom from a female point of view.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s