"These are the years of magic, of imagination stirred and fed in innumerable ways, of all that goes with a mind encouraged to explore the world, to try to make sense of it. These are years of eager lively searching on the part of children, whose parents and teachers are often hard put to keep up with them as they try to understand things, to figure them out, but to also weigh right and wrong of this life." Robert Coles (p. 98)
Kids in upper elementary through middle school are fascinated by jokes. Joking around, teasing, punking, fooling around. They are on guard about who's joking and who's telling the truth. They play that way.
Here's a group of fourth grade girls in conversation about the book the Watson's Go to Birmingham: 1963 (Curtis). In chapter 4 the big brother in the story tells the younger kids a long tale about how southern folk freeze to death in Michigan in the winter and they have garbage trucks pick them up in the mornings. The brother tells the kids that they can ask their mom if it's true and says it's the mom's story. This is how the girls make sense of the story.