Free delivery on all orders over £10
Schools can pay by invoice by setting up an account at checkout.
The Boy Who Made Everyone Laugh

The Boy Who Made Everyone Laugh

Published: 4 Feb 2021

Paperback / softback, 360 pages

Recommended for age 9+ and 11+

By Helen Rutter

Published by Scholastic

Regular price
£5.17
Sale price
£5.17
Regular price
RRP £6.99
Unit price
per 

Billy is an eleven-year-old boy with a big dream. He wants to be a stand-up comedian when he grows up: delivering pinpoint punch-lines and having audiences hang on his every hilarious word. A tough career for anyone, but surely impossible for Billy, who has a stammer. How will he find his voice, if his voice won't let him speak?

This title features in our The Reading Journey selection.

Tagged disability , friends and school , resilience , self-awareness and confidence and speech and language

Actress and comedienne Helen Rutter talks to Nikki Gamble about the background to her debut children's novel The Boy Who Made Everyone laugh. The idea grew out of Helen's family experience and in particular her son's stammer. She wanted to write a book that he would love to read, starring a child like him.

The Library Boost for 9+

Easy purchase - add our curated pack to your basket with one click

  • Tamarind & the Star of Ishta
  • The Boy Who Met a Whale
  • Zombierella: Fairy Tales Gone Bad
  • The Three Impossibles
  • The Last Bear
  • The Infinite
  • How to Save the World with a Chicken and an Egg
  • The Shark Caller
  • Little Badman and the Time-travelling Teacher of Doom
  • The Boy Who Made Everyone Laugh
  • The Incredible Record Smashers
  • Wave Riders
  • The Greatest Inventor
  • The Crackledawn Dragon
  • The Life and Time of Lonny Quicke
  • Noah's Gold
  • Two Sisters: A Story of Freedom
  • Emmy Levels Up
  • The Graveyard Riddle
  • The Pear Affair
  • Sticky Pines: The Bigwoof Conspiracy
  • The Wild Way Home
  • The Strangeworlds Travel Agency Book 1
  • Max Kowalski Didn't Mean It
  • A Bad Day for Jayden
  • Boy, Everywhere
  • Eagle Warrior
  • The Wizard in the Wood
  • Little Bird Lands

The Reading Journey Full Set UKS2 2021

Easy purchase - add our curated pack to your basket with one click

Reviewed by Nikki Gamble

The Boy who Made Everyone Laugh, Helen Rutter’s debut children’s book, is one of my top picks this month.

‘The boy’ in the title is Billy Plimpton, and he’s about to start secondary school. That can be tough for any pre-teen, but Billy has a stammer, and the thought of making the right impression on his new schoolmates is daunting. Billy has battled through primary school, and so he is hopeful that a change of scene will provide an opportunity to start afresh.

Surprisingly, Billy has ambitions to be a stand-up comedian. Success seems unlikely because even the show-and-tell speech he has to make to his new classmates fills him with dread, and he considers every avoidance tactic under the sun. So far, he has managed to get by remaining silent in class and using the cough and whisper technique when talking is unavoidable. But now his cover is about to be blown, and Billy knows he’s going to have to find a way to overcome his fear. His solution is a triumph, and Billy gains approval from his classmates. However, problems are not solved easily. There are still obstacles to be overcome, not least in the form of arch-bully, William Blakemore.

The Boy Who Made Everyone Laugh is inspired by Helen’s son, who has a stammer; this undoubtedly is one reason the story feels authentic. The tone is empathetic but it does not veer towards sentimentalism.  The characters are rounded including the bully Blakemore, who Billy comes to understand as the story progresses. Mr Osho, Billy’s form teacher is an inspiration and fantastic role model for all teachers. He’s a listener and intuits what Billy is feeling and needing. Teacher and pupil bond over a shared love of jazz music. Mum is caring and practical but busy, so Billy’s special relationship with Granny Bread is one that he cherishes.

Helen Rutter strikes exactly the right balance between respect for her protagonist and a thoroughly entertaining story. There is plenty of laughter but she avoids taking the easy route of making the stammer the point of hilarity. In fact, Billy also has to learn that laughing at himself in a self-deprecating way as a means of ingratiating himself with his peers is not the best way to create a comedy persona.

The humour is derived largely through Billy’s voice. He’s an astute observer and commentator on life. He loves lists: Things to Make Chole Cry, Ways to Ger Rid of My Stammer; Ways to Get Me Out of the Me Me Speech. The cracker style jokes at the beginning of each chapter work every time, and the comedic timing is executed to perfection. While this is a debut children’s book, Helen Rutter’s comedy writing experience is very much in evidence. With a background in performance, it is no surprise that the text reads aloud very well, making it a great choice for a class reader.

The Boy Who Made Everyone Laugh is a book full of heart  I will be recommending it far and wide.

Nikki Gamble
Formerly a teacher (secondary and primary) and university lecturer, with over 35 years’ experience, Nikki has worked extensively in schools across the UK and internationally. She is the author of Exploring Children’s Literature now in its fourth edition (Sage, 2019) Co-author of Guiding Readers, winner of the UKLA Academic Book award (UCL, 2016). Nikki runs workshops for teachers, librarians, students and researchers on different aspects of children's literature, an online summer school and an Audience with events, celebrating writers and illustrators who have made an exceptional contribution to the world of children's books. Further information exploringchildrensliterature.uk
  • Bad Panda

    7+

    Regular price
    £5.17
    Sale price
    £5.17
    Regular price
    RRP £6.99
    Unit price
    per 
  • The Last Bear
    The Last Bear

    7+ 9+

    Regular price
    £9.60
    Sale price
    £9.60
    Regular price
    RRP £12.99
    Unit price
    per 
  • Dragon Mountain
    Dragon Mountain

    11+

    Regular price
    £5.90
    Sale price
    £5.90
    Regular price
    RRP £7.99
    Unit price
    per 
  • Wild Child : A journey through nature

    7+ 9+ 11+

    Regular price
    £11.09
    Sale price
    £11.09
    Regular price
    RRP £14.99
    Unit price
    per 
  • The Shark Caller
    The Shark Caller

    9+

    Regular price
    £5.90
    Sale price
    £5.90
    Regular price
    RRP £7.99
    Unit price
    per 
  • The Last Bear
    The Last Bear

    7+ 9+

    Regular price
    £9.60
    Sale price
    £9.60
    Regular price
    RRP £12.99
    Unit price
    per 
  • Windrush Child
    Windrush Child

    9+ 11+

    Regular price
    £5.17
    Sale price
    £5.17
    Regular price
    RRP £6.99
    Unit price
    per 
  • When the Sky Falls
    When the Sky Falls

    9+ 11+

    Regular price
    £5.90
    Sale price
    £5.90
    Regular price
    RRP £7.99
    Unit price
    per 
  • The Shark Caller
    The Shark Caller

    9+

    Regular price
    £5.90
    Sale price
    £5.90
    Regular price
    RRP £7.99
    Unit price
    per 
  • The Boy Who Made Everyone Laugh
    The Boy Who Made Everyone Laugh

    9+ 11+

    Regular price
    £5.17
    Sale price
    £5.17
    Regular price
    RRP £6.99
    Unit price
    per 
  • Where the River Runs Gold
    When the River Runs Gold

    9+ 11+

    Regular price
    £5.90
    Sale price
    £5.90
    Regular price
    RRP £7.99
    Unit price
    per 
  • The Boy Who Made Everyone Laugh
    The Boy Who Made Everyone Laugh

    9+ 11+

    Regular price
    £5.17
    Sale price
    £5.17
    Regular price
    RRP £6.99
    Unit price
    per 
  • The Life and Time of Lonny Quicke
    The Life and Time of Lonny Quicke

    9+

    Regular price
    £5.90
    Sale price
    £5.90
    Regular price
    RRP £7.99
    Unit price
    per 
  • Orphans of the Tide
    Orphans of the Tide

    9+ 11+

    Regular price
    £6.50
    Sale price
    £6.50
    Regular price
    RRP £7.99
    Unit price
    per 
  • The Wild Way Home
    The Wild Way Home

    7+ 9+

    Regular price
    £5.17
    Sale price
    £5.17
    Regular price
    RRP £6.99
    Unit price
    per 

The Growth Mindset set

  • The Boy Who Made Everyone Laugh
    The Boy Who Made Everyone Laugh

    9+ 11+

    Regular price
    £5.17
    Sale price
    £5.17
    Regular price
    RRP £6.99
    Unit price
    per 
  • Giraffes Can't Dance

    3+ 5+

    Regular price
    £5.50
    Sale price
    £5.50
    Regular price
    RRP £6.99
    Unit price
    per 
  • Nat Enough
    Regular price
    £7.25
    Sale price
    £7.25
    Regular price
    RRP £8.99
    Unit price
    per 
  • Positively Teenage : A positively brilliant guide to teenage well-being

    11+ 14+

    Regular price
    £5.90
    Sale price
    £5.90
    Regular price
    RRP £7.99
    Unit price
    per 
  • Fantastic People Who Dared to Fail : True stories of people who changed the world by falling down first

    9+ 11+

    Regular price
    £6.50
    Sale price
    £6.50
    Regular price
    RRP £7.99
    Unit price
    per