Kids love Aaron Blabey's The Bad Guys. Once they've devoured the series, they will surely be headed to the library to ask, "What should I read next?" Here's a list of great books like The Bad Guys just for them.
These books are giggle-inducing, escapade-filled adventures chock full of illustrations, making them easy-to-read, transitional chapter books for kids.
So, while Misters Wolf, Snake, Piranha, and Shark are taking a nap, introduce your 7-10 year olds to some new misfit creatures (and a few humans) who can match the Bad Guys' absurd plans, exaggerated dialogue and well-meaning shenanigans.
You can now view my curated list of books featuring mythical creatures like dragons, mermaids and unicorns at Bookshop!
Books like The Bad Guys
Need a printable version of this list? Scroll to the end, fill out the form and we'll send one right over!
BIRD AND SQUIRREL (series) by James Burks
Bird and Squirrel are a hilarious duo in a this graphic novel series. These two mismatched friends will have your kids rolling with laughter. Bird is adventurous and carefree, Squirrel is more conservative and fearful. In the first book, Squirrel is getting ready for winter and Bird is being chased by a cat. Squirrel comes to Bird's rescue but in doing so, his hard-earned acorn stash is ruined. Ages 7 and up.
RICKY RICOTTA'S MIGHTY ROBOT (series) by Dav Pilkey, illustrated by Dan Santat
Dav Pilkey's fun series is great for kids who want books similar to The Bad Guys. Ricky and his new robot friend chase bullies and defeat the local evil scientist, Dr. Stinky. This is reluctant reader-friendly book, as there are only a few sentences per page and lots of illustrations. In addition, a fun "flip-o-rama" feature breaks up the reading pace for kids who might find extended reading a challenge. Ages 7 and up.
MORE: Adventure-themed early chapter books
THE YETI FILES (series) by Kevin Sherry
Blizz Richards is a yeti who lives in Nepal and it's time for the annual Bigfeet family reunion! However, Blizz's cousin, Brian from Canada, was caught on camera by a bigfoot-stalker and has disappeared. Blizz enlists the help of a few quirky friends to find Brian. This illustration-heavy early chapter book is sure to appeal to readers who loved easy to read, funny books like The Bad Guys. Ages 7 and up.
TWO DOGS IN A TRENCH COAT GO TO SCHOOL (series) by Julie Falatko, illustrated by Colin Jack
Buy it: Amazon | Bookshop
Two dogs, Waldo and Sassy, decide to rescue their human from the boredom of school (wonderfully named, Bea Arthur Memorial Elementary School). The canine pals don the titular garment and pose as new student, Salty Woofadogington. As you might imagine, hilarity and shenanigans, ensue. Ages 7 and up.
HAGGIS AND TANK UNLEASHED (series) by Jessica Young
I was slightly skeptical about this series but my 7-year-old was laughing his head off and so I picked it up and found the word play to be quite humorous. I’m a big fan of word play as a literary device; I think it gives kids a greater understanding of vocabulary. Haggis the scottie dog plays the straight man to Tank’s absentminded goof and together they set sail on an imaginary journey. Ages 7 and up.
MORE: Funny early chapter books
INSPECTOR FLYTRAP (series) by Tom Angleberger, illustrated by Cece Bell
Angleberger's trademark goofy humor is on full display in this series. Inspector Flytrap is indeed a venus flytrap, and he narrates his bizarre, and sometimes gross, detective adventures. The walking, talking carnivorous plant and his sidekick, Nina the Goat (who is oh-so-unimpressed with everything) solve the mystery of a strange yellow blob on a DaVinci painting at the museum. We thought it was hilarious and your kids will, too. Ages 7 and up.
BUNJITSU BUNNY (series) by John Himmelman
Bunjitsu Bunny one of my favorite series on this list! Each book is composed of short vignettes about Isabel and her friends who all study martial arts. Each clever and funny story conveys a zen-like lesson without being at all preachy. My then-6 year old was very into the idea of battles and fighting so he of course loved reading a book in which the first action sequence involved the possibility of one character head-butting a door (they don't actually get that far...). I, however, was delighted with the "sneaky" lessons in non-violence, friendship, compassion and self-discipline! Ages 7 and up.
LET'S GET CRACKING! (series) by Cyndi Marko
The Kung Pow Chicken series straddles the line between graphic novel and chapter book. My then-6 year old LOVED this series and demanded I check all of them out of the library. I admit, the puns had me giggling. A young chicken gains superpowers when he accidentally falls into a mysterious vat in his uncle's lab in their home town of Fowladelphia (see what I mean?). In this first adventure, he and his sidekick must figure out what is causing the local population to lose their feathers. Silly and fun. Ages 7 and up.
MORE: 2nd grade reading list
JOP AND BLIP WANT TO KNOW by Jim Benton
We loved Jim Benton's Catwad series, and the same quirky humor is present in his new graphic novel series, which is full of all those random facts kids are dying to know. Jop and Blip are two curious robots who ask the weird but important questions like "Why do we need two ears?", and then discuss the answers in a surprisingly profound way. Ages 7 and up.
BARB THE LAST BERZERKER by Dan Abdo, illustrated by Jason Patterson
In this exciting adventure, Barb is the only one of her band of Berzerkers to escape capture by the evil Witch Head. Along with a Yeti named Porkchop, and the powerful Shadow Sword, she heads off to find the Northern Berzerkers so they can help her vanquish Witch Head. A great new fantasy graphic novel series! Ages 8 and up.
A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A POO, A GNU AND YOU by Mike Barfield, illustrated by Jess Bradley
I love to have a few wild cards on read alike book lists. You might not go looking in the nonfiction section when your reader wants to know what to read after The Bad Guys. However, why not? Got a kid who loves facts and science, but also loves to laugh? This comic book style text on all things in the natural world will keep them reading all night. Packed with information on everything from Mars to poison jellyfish, Barfield's text and Bradley's illustrations make science highly entertaining. Ages 8 and up.
By the way, did you know The Bad Guys was recently made into a movie? It actually looks like it might be good!
I've consulted your blog for years. Thank you for adding the Bookshop affiliate links! We usually check the libraries around us first, but I appreciate that small gesture to support small businesses.
I'm glad to know the Bookshop links are useful for you. I wish I could easily and quickly add them to all my previous lists, too!