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
Eddie - The Usual Mayhem says
What a great list! I’ve added a bunch for my next library trip on Friday. Thanks!
Also, I’m so glad you included Mortimer – it is my son’s all-time favourite and we sometimes hear him singing the song from it at the top of his lungs from his bed at night!
Allison McDonald says
My son and I re read many of these books last night and still Mortimer was by FAR the winner. He howls at it still.
Great list of books! Have you read “Bark, George” by Jules Feiffer? I’m a librarian and just had a class visit of 60 first graders, and they were literally rolling on the floor laughing. Love the blog, keep it up!
Allison McDonald says
I haven’t – but I heard it’s hilarious!
Vanderbilt Wife says
Everything by Mo Willems usually cracks me up. We are big fans of his newest book Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs. If you haven’t read it you MUST.
I’ll have to check out the Kevin Henkes book. I like him a lot! And of course all the click clack moo series books are great. Our favorite is Dooby Dooby Moo. My kids think Bunny Cakes (Max and Ruby) by Rosemary Wells is very funny, too.
Allison McDonald says
I know I got a chance to read it but I haven’t read it with my son yet and he is the final word on all the books here. I had 30 last night but after bedtime when we re read many I knocked a handful off the list. I must get my hands on it.
Rhyming Dust Bunnies by Jan Thomas is guaranteed to get laughs from kid. I read it today at storytime and all eight of the kiddos were laughing at the end!
Agreed! I have read that book to my 4-year-old so many times that we both know it by heart. (I think it’s pretty funny too.)
Betty Farnsworth says
We love all the Rhyming Dust Bunnies books. They are wonderful funny books.
I am a librarian at a small town library and I love your posts. My favorite all time funny kids picture book is Mary Had A Little Lamp by Jack Lechner. It is awsome!
Allison McDonald says
Thanks – I will check it out!
LOVE so many of these books! And my husband (who doesn’t know nearly as many children’s books as I do, since I’m a former preschool teacher) was cracking up just reading the titles!
Allison McDonald says
The titles are pretty funny!
Some of our favorites: “Piggie Pie!” and almost anything else by Margie Palatini, “Children Make Terrible Pets” and almost anything else by Peter Brown, “Ol’ Mama Squirrel” by David Ezra Stein (who also wrote “Interrupting Chicken”), and almost anything by David LaRochelle
These our all pretty funny, but my kids especially love it when we can make it interactive. They like saying the Ol’ McDonald-like text for “Piggie Pie!”, and the squeaks for Squeaker in “Children Make Terrible Pets” and the chook chook chook for Ol’ Mama Squirrel in her book. I hope you like them as much as we do!
Great list! One I would add is “The Gas We Pass, The Story of Farts”, by Shinta Cho. I laugh hysterically when I read it and so do my boys, ages 3 & 6. The Japanese style pictures just add to the fun. http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/gas-we-pass-shinta-cho/1006992713?ean=9780916291525
This is a marvelous list! I’ve been scouring the web looking for funny books to entice my sons. This is the best list I’ve found. We’re making our way through the list by ordering them through our neighborhood library. My kids have been delighted! Thanks so much for the wonderful suggestions! Now, if only my five year-old hadn’t responded to “Jake Stays Awake” by saying, “Thank goodness your bed can fit three instead of just two, Mom.”
Fantastic list! Our family loves the majority of these books also but just to add a couple to your list: “Let’s Sing a Lullabye with the Brave Cowboy” by Jan Thomas, “Valentine and His Violin” by Philip Hopman, and “Underpants Thunderpants” by Peter Bentley. The last two involve poop jokes, so that always ensues giggles with our little guy.
Allison McDonald says
That gets lots of giggles here too!
ANA! and Ana’s Pet by Cat Blount are both very funny and cute. It is about two sisters who are different and the youngest one is always doing things to the oldest one. They are really funny.
Great list, some I will have to check out at the library.
My daughter loves Rhyming Dust Bunnies and Z is for Moose,
She also loves anything by Mo Willems 🙂 We just got Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus yesterday from the book order.
Another good Sandra Boynton book is Blue Hat Green Hat. When my 5 year old was younger, she thought it was hilarious.
Such a great list! I especially love many of the Robert Munsch books. And Moo Baa La La La is also a favorite.
J. Marie says
Along the David Shannon vein, have you all read “Too Many Toys”? Not only is it hilarious but it plants the basic idea that maaaaaaybe there is such a thing as too many toys. 🙂
Laura Love says
You should look at Johnny Nothing by Ian Probert â€“ It’s hilarious. http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/pro…
Allison McDonald says
Thanks for the rec!
I’m excited to read these books with my babies! Books that my older son and I loved when he was little included Wild About Books by Judy Sierra and Marc Brown and the Skippyjon Jones series by Judy Schachner. (We read ‘Skippyjon Jones in the Doghouse’ so often that I memorized it!)
Jessica Warrick says
Great list and great taste! It’s nice to see someone acknowledging how humor is so important in motivating kids to read. Plus, it’s much more fun when parents can enjoy reading with their kids as well.
As a professional children’s book illustrator, I include humor in every piece I create. I find it is much more engaging for children, and flat out makes people happy:)
One of our family favorites is The Day the Crayons Quit! It is simply hilarious. We first read it at story time at the library and I just had to add it to my collection in the classroom!
Great post! Have nice day ! 🙂 tvgtn
You must read Goodnight Already by Joey John!
El duende Felipe Cuentacuentos says
Omg, thanks for this post. My favourite: No, David! The children loves these books.
im going to buy Knuffle bunny.
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Fairy Farts is a hilarious one to check out!
Child Bookends says
Good taste and a wonderful list! It’s awesome to see someone understand the value of humor in inspiring children to learn.
The Magical Fall Journey Through Fairyland says
Wow! They’re all great ways to get your kids reading and, more importantly, enjoying books. Thank you so much for this creative blog.
Child Bookends says
Great blog! A story is at the heart of every fairy tale. There are fairy tales about a lovely setting and amusing characters that children will never encounter in the real world. The ability to visualize children’s imaginations might be aided by various backdrops in fairy tales. Thank you.