Make them laugh and they will come back for more. These 25 books have all made us laugh a lot. I am not talking about a little chuckle, I am talking serious laughter , some even made me snort. Some are silly, some witty and some are plain gross but they are all great ways to get your kids reading and more importantly loving books. This week is Children’s Book Week and what better way to celebrate than with funny picture books.
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Parts by Tedd Arnold is so funny. Readers follow along as a five-year-old boy begins noticing things about his body he’d never noticed before like belly button lint, snot, peeling skin, and more. His anxious assumptions about his body falling apart will have you in stitches. My two-year-old laughed and got most of the humor, but slightly older children will be laughing hysterically at how silly the little boy’s worries are.
I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More! by Karen Beaumont is guaranteed to entertain your child, even my toddler was laughing and anticipating the rhyming text which tickled me to no end! I have had some parents in the past not be happy about the use of “ain’t” and the little boy in the story painting everywhere. I would counter that by saying people do use “ain’t” and kids do paint on things they aren’t supposed to. Use these as examples of what you aren’t supposed to do, and ask your child what they think should happen if they painted all over the house? As far as using “ain’t”, I would play the traditional “It ain’t gonna rain no more” and explain that the author used that song as inspiration for the book.
Moo Baa La La La by Sandra Boynton always makes me laugh. There is something about the facial expressions her animals always have that crack me up, and let’s be honest, if the book is good for the adult reading it, it’s always a plus. Super bright colors on each page is a huge bonus for my baby girl as I flip the pages, and even though she doesn’t get the humor yet she will soon enough, and it’s a book that will grow with her. Edited for 2013: Now at two my daughter absolutely understands the absurd humor and loves it all the more for it.
Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin is a hilarious look at working conditions on a farm. I have yet to read this book without giggling, and in the 2003-2004 school year, I think I read it 500 times! The story has a wonderful message of fairness and negotiation. During a transit strike, we read this to a Kindergarten class to help explain what was going on why the bus drivers didn’t want to work- it was a great tool!
My Little Sister Ate One Hare by Bill Grossman is a funny counting book that counts all the disgusting things the narrator’s sister ate from 1-10. The rhyming text builds and repeats as she eats and eats! My son was thoroughly entertained.
Barry the Fish with Fingers by Sue Hendra is a goofy fun book that had me wrapped around its fingers with the title, I mean a fish named Barry? And he has fingers?! I love it. Thankfully my judgment was smack dab on because the inside of the book was as funny as the cover. Barry isn’t just a fish with fingers he is a hero when his fingers save the day. The illustrations are so fun, the text is zippy and both my kids (4 and 10 months) loved it from start to finish.
Julius, the Baby of the World by Kevin Henkes is such a funny book that I actually called my mom the day I bought it to read it to her over the phone. The book is about Lily who is adjusting to her new role as a big sister. The thing is Lily isn’t adjusting well, and it’s hilarious because it’s so true! So often books depict older siblings happily welcoming babies into their lives and that just isn’t always the case. Lily is not happy, unlike her parents do not think this baby is special and she is openly hostile to Julius. I laugh out loud every time I read this book, I particularly love when Lily tells a passing pregnant mouse that she will regret being pregnant. I think this book opens the floor for a real talk about feelings when a new baby comes, it’s important to remember just because the big people are excited doesn’t mean the little ones are too!
Shark vs. Train by Tom Lichtenheld is a story about imagination and competition and it’s hilarious. Two little boys are comparing a toy train and a toy shark but soon readers are sucked into their imaginations where the toys are put against each other in increasingly funny matchups. Not only are the matchups brilliant in their absurdity but what the shark and train are saying during each are just plain funny. My son and I spend a lot of time playing imaginary match-ups like this so this book is nothing short of a hit.
The Alphabet from A to Y With Bonus Letter Z! by Steve Martin was introduced to me by Rebecca when she sent it in for this post. When I saw it at the library, I grabbed it and so glad I did. It’s a fun book with silly rhymes for each letter, and I was surprised that my son sat all the way through it. It’s a pretty long alphabet book for a toddler. I liked the details in the illustrations even if the sometimes gross humor was not my favorite, but kids will love it.
Mortimer by Robert Munsch is a fun bedtime book, it’s not the calmest and is pretty funny, so you may want to read this one before some more chill books. I can’t remember the first time I read this book, but whether reading it to a group of preschoolers or my kids I have never had a child not sing along with Mortimer who is driving everyone bonkers by not going to sleep! Instead, he is singing and making noise, and not even the police can stop him.
Zoom! is another of my son’s favorite Munsch books. The little girl in the book is looking for a new wheelchair and isn’t satisfied until she has the fastest wheelchair she can get her hands on. What I love about this book isn’t the absurd humor ( which there is plenty of) it’s the fact that the main character being in a wheelchair is the norm. There is no long explanation about why she has a wheelchair, nothing preachy about children with disabilities. I think it’s important to have books that explain disabilities and to learn more about them but also equally important to have books like this one that is seamlessly assimilated.
The Book That Eats People by John Perry makes me laugh hysterically, so hard it was difficult at times to read the words but it’s really really gruesome. This is not a book for kids that are squeamish, prone to imaginative nightmares or anxiety about death. That said if your child can handle a little funny horror, they will love this book. The story follows this human eating book as it wreaks havoc and gobbles people up! I beg parents to pre-read this because it may be hilarious to me and my macabre little man but it may seriously frighten your child.
Goodnight Goon: A Petrifying Parody by Michael Rex. We loved this book, as big Goodnight Moon fans we were all laughing reading this before bed. My almost 3-year-old thought that this was the funniest book ever made and would correct the book often with the original text.
Cowboy Camp by Tammi Sauer is funny and touching all at the same time. Avery is off to Cowboy Camp to learn how to be a real cowboy, only one problem, every lesson turns into a disaster. He can’t stomach cowboy food, he is allergic to his horse and ends up on a cow instead, and he gets rope burn when he is learning to lasso. After the other campers head to bed Avery encounters the nefarious Bad Bart a bad cowboy who wants to stop cowboy camp, Avery outwits him and saves the day. I loved that there was no teasing from the other campers and each time Avery came to an obstacle he was offered an alternative (cheese and crackers to eat, a cow to ride, and yarn to lasso with) instead of simply sitting out. A great book to read before summer camp!
No, David! by David Shannon is probably the author’s best-known book. In it, we follow the misadventures of little David and his eventual disciplining and hug from his mom. This book is a wonderful icebreaker for talking about rules with a class. I have successfully used it with many groups of kids and my own as a reminder about rules and why we have them. Kids love watching other kids do naughty things (and are quick to remind each other of the right way to do things) so this book is always a hit with toddlers on up.
Dinosaur vs. the Potty by Bob Shea was the reason my voice was hoarse for days. My kids love, no ADORE this book. My son who is 5 is in stitches every time we read it and my daughter who is 2 reaches for it time and time again. The thing about this book is you must read it with gusto for it to reach its full potential because its story isn’t deep it’s really just about a destructive dinosaur who doesn’t go pee when he should. Sound familiar? Kinda like little kids who dump toys, bang, and stomp, and deny that they have to use the potty until the very last minute. It struck a chord at our house and I have a hunch it may at yours too.
Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein will crack you up. The story is about a little chicken and how impossible it is to stop her from interrupting her bedtime stories, saving the characters, and declaring the end of the story. It’s frustrating to her dad and a great learning tool for readers. Above all else, it’s really funny. After she interrupts all the books he has to read to her she suggests she read him a story and he ends up unintentionally interrupting her.
The Teacher from the Black Lagoon by Mike Thaler is the original book in the very popular Black Lagoon series. The imaginative story is all about a boy’s worries that his teacher is going to be a terrible child-eating monster. My son giggled through the whole book and loved the gore and dark humor. I do not suggest reading this to very sensitive kids or ones that really are very nervous about school. Its humor may not be reassuring, but kids comfortable with school will find it hilarious.
Take Care, Good Knight by Shelley Moore Thomas such a sweet book about three little dragons who agree to cat sit a wizard’s pets and the Good Knight who helps them get it right. The story is filled with mishaps when the dragons who can’t read yet try to figure out the wizard’s written instructions. The outcome is hilarious and will have your children giggling. I also love the message about using pictures to give clues for reading, but to remember to ask “Does this make sense?”
Scaredy Squirrel at the Beach is so funny. I love books like this that have absurd humor thrown in. Before you even read the story on the inside flap you will notice a blurb that ends with “This story is not suitable for pirates” it just makes me giggle! The story follows the most anxious squirrel you’ll ever encounter as he tries to make his own beach, only to end up at a busy one! What I love about this book are the details, the small asides will have you laughing and the main story will keep even young ones totally entertained. My son loved it especially the part about the pool being the ocean and the flashlight being the sun, even at two he was trying to tell the squirrel how wrong that was. Super fun and a great message about overcoming fears as well.
Scaredy Squirrel at Night I love Scaredy Squirrel. His crazy anxiety, tendency to play dead, and hilarious facial expressions never fail to make me laugh out loud while reading. I love this book in the series because it talks about something very topical in many preschooler’s life – nighttime anxiety. I was expecting a funny book, but it was also really touching and useful in regards to conquering fears. I must say for any new parent the bits about sleep deprivation will hit home.
Falling For Rapunzel by Leah Wilcox is snort-worthy. Yes, this book is so funny the kids will be laughing hysterically and learning all about rhyming at the same time. Rapunzel is having a hard time hearing exactly what Prince Charming is asking her to throw down from her tower and hilarity ensues. Kids will love anticipating what she will throw down next. I won’t ruin the ending but trust me it’s hilarious and kids familiar with the traditional version will love telling you how this one is different. The illustrations by Lydia Monks add to the humor perfectly!
Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! by Mo Willems might not need much of a review as I don’t know many parents who haven’t laughed along with their kids reading this book. But if you have never read this book let me tell you about it and why so many of us think it’s hilarious. The book opens with a bus driver asking readers to do him a favor and not let the pigeon drive the bus, easy right? Well just like my 5-year-old son who is practicing for the negotiator of the year award this pigeon is relentless. When I asked my son what his favorite part of the book was he giggled loudly while telling me that he loves the tantrum the pigeon has. Kids love seeing characters in books display the behavior that they want to do but only let slip through the cracks every now and then. I love when great underlying connections to kids come in such a goofy package. Love this book. For early readers do not miss any of the Elephant and Piggie books, I haven’t managed to read a single one without laughing.
Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale by Mo Willems is hilarious and heartwarming all at the same time. The story is about a lost bunny and a dad that can’t quite understand what his toddler is trying to “say” to him. Luckily the mom speaks “toddler” and dad gets to be a hero by reuniting his daughter with her beloved bunny.
Jake Stays Awake by Michael Wright made both my husband and I laugh hysterically my son liked it too, but we loved it. It’s about a little boy who can’t sleep without his parents and they don’t like sleeping with feet in their faces. Can you relate, we can which is why we found this book so funny. What I liked was that Jake wasn’t disciplined for wanting to sleep with his parents, and they tried and tried all different places to sleep, they were just being honest that it wasn’t working anymore! My son loved the page that they were all sleeping in garbage cans and I loved that Jake looked to be about 12, it gives me hope that my son may sleep alone by puberty.This post contains affiliate links