by Rene Goscinny and illustrated by Jean-Jacques Sempe (Phaidon, 2011) Ages 7 and up This is another repeat from my "Funniest Books Ever" column, but this is also on my "Favorite Books Ever" list - and it’s not as well known as it should be. A big thank you Phaidon for finally bringing the hilarious Nicholas series to American audiences — in paperback! Originally published in 1959 and winner of the Mildred L. Batchelder Award for outstanding children’s literature in 2006, Nicholas
combines the genius of Rene Goscinny (of Asterix the Gaul
) with famed cartoonist and illustrator Sempe to create my all-time favorite series for young boys. This classic book about a mischievous French schoolboy and his friends will have you and your kids chuckling with recognition, as the protagonist and his unruly buddies wreak havoc at home and in school. Though it’s geared towards slightly older audiences, my five-year-old cried when we finished the entire series because he was sure, "We’d never find anything as fun again!" I fear he may have been right.