Sometimes you just need a wacky children's book to read aloud. Am I right? A book that is silly, madcap, and just makes you laugh and say, "That is crazy!" Well, here are the silly, funny children's books you need right now.
Some have an underlying serious message, others are just there in all their silly glory. In order to make the cut for this list, each book had to have that je ne sais quoi which took it beyond "funny." There had to be some kind of element of total wackadoodle weirdness. This weirdness could be subtle and creep up on you, or it could be in your face.
But no need to think too hard. Just enjoy!
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Here at What Do We Do All Day?, our recommendation is to check out books from the library or shop at your local, independent bookstore. If you prefer to purchase books online, you can find this list at Bookshop, which supports independent booksellers.
Wacky Picture Books for Kids
Need a printable book list? Fill out the form at the bottom of this list of silly, wacky, madcap books and we'll send one right to you!
The Rock From the Sky
by Jon Klassen
Find it: Amazon | Bookshop
Klassen has really outdone himself with this one! Fans of his previous work, This is Not My Hatn will recognize Klassen's absurdist humor and I like this title even better than that one. Organized in terse and suspenseful chapters, Klassen tells the tale of a couple of hat-wearing animals who debate the merits of a spot. But is there room enough for more in the spot? And what is that strange alien creature? The surprise ending will have you laughing out loud.
On Account of the Gum
by Adam Rex
Here's a hilarious, rhyming cumulative tale of an outrageous series of events that occurs after a piece of gum gets stuck in a child's hair. It is completely madcap and the illustrations add to the joyful ridiculosity. You may never want to chew gum again. Or maybe you will... just to see what happens. Ages 4 and up.
Moose, Goose and Mouse
by Mordicai Gerstein, illustrated by Jeff Mack
Part friendship story, part real estate hunt, part train trip, a moose, goose and a mouse get on a caboose and the adventure takes off. Lots of fun rhymes paired with runaway humor to make this a perfect read aloud. Ages 3 and up.
by Michael Ian Black, illustrated by Debbie Ridpath Ohi
My then-5 year old was OBSESSED with Naked! I can't imagine a child not liking this book. Is there any child who doesn't love running around in his birthday suit? I think not. Both the author and illustrated have perfectly captured the joy that comes with a cool breeze on one's bare backside. All ages.
You Can't Have Too Many Friends
by Mordicai Gerstein
Find it: Amazon
If I had to choose, You Can't Have Too Many Friends! is the wackiest book on this list. It's a folktale-style story and lots of fun. A duck grows prize-winning jelly beans and the king borrows them, promising to return them. A year later, the duck has still not gotten his jelly beans back so he sets off to retrieve them. Along the way he meets a dog, a ladder, a babbling brook and hive of wasps who all want to travel with him. The duck shrinks the dog and the ladder and puts them in his pocket, the babbling brook travels in the duck's gullet and the wasps in his ear. (I said it was weird.) At the castle, the king lounges in his bath while his mother uses turkeys, an oven, and a well to thwart the duck's attempt to get back his beans. In a series of events too bizarrely hilarious to recount in a single paragraph review, the duck still fails to find his beans. However, all is not lost as the king makes a miraculous about-face. That's all I can say. The book is super weird, but we all really loved it. Ages 5 and up.
A Hungry Lion, or A Dwindling Assortment of Animals
by Lucy Ruth Cummins
While it may not seem like a quirky tale at first, this book is for those of us who love a good dose of subversive humor. I don't want to spoil the ending because everyone needs a good, healthy gasp of surprise so instead I will set the stage for you. The lion is looking forward to a fun day with his adorable fuzzy friends. But they keep disappearing…. why? Will they return? Ages 5 and up.
by Laurie Keller
From the author that brought you a picture books about talking States, here's a doozy about a potato on the hunt for the perfect pair of pants. But his nemesis, the eggplant is constantly getting in the way! As she did in The Scrambled States of America, Keller filled the pages with side vignettes, speech bubbles and other amusing details to discover.
Who Wet My Pants
by Bob Shea, illustrated by Zachariah OHora
Reuben has brought donuts for the rest of the scouting troop, but as they stare at his pants, he demands to know which of them wet his pants! His empathetic friends try to tell him they understand about how accidents happen, but Reuben is determined to place to blame elsewhere. A very funny book with a good lesson to help build a child's emotional intelligence. Ages 4 and up.
Time for Bed's Story
by Monica Arnaldo
Prepare to have your old notions bedtime stories tossed out the window. It's Bed's turn to tell his story. He sees everything and he knows how everything goes and what you all really think of bedtime. But while this is truly a hilariously quirky bedtime book with an original narrative voice, it is also full of endearing sentiment. Ages 3 and up.
MORE: Favorite Bedtime Books
Encyclopedia of Grannies
by Eric Veillé
I absolutely love this book! I just love the off-beat humor. Veillé displays an incredible array of grannies. He poses a series of questions that range from ordinary, "Do grannies ride on busses?" to a little odd-ball, "Do you every find grannies inside pumpkins" and answers them in the most delightfully clever way possible, and with colorful, dynamic cartoon illustrations. Truly a one of a kind book. Ages 4 and up.
by Jacob Kramer, illustrated by K-Fai Steele
My son loved this book and could not stop talking about it after I read it aloud to him. Elephant loves noodles and likes having his animal friends over for pasta parties! But the kangaroos, who make all the rules and thus hold all the power declare that pasta is only to be eaten by kangaroos. They declare that the other animals should eat sticks and branches instead. This simply won't do and Elephant and his friends invent a machine that turns ordinary objects into pasta! I love the clever wordplay and the sneaky subversiveness of the non-kangaroo animals to protest the unjust law. Of course, the marvelous conclusion reaffirms that injustice and inequality must always be challenged. Ages 5 and up.
Du Iz Tak?
by Carson Ellis
Du Iz Tak? is a whimsical and unique picture book. The story revolves around the discovery of a sprout and its subsequent colonization by a group of curious insects who communicate with an invented language. The words are so incredibly fun to say and the text is so well done that the meaning is clear, and by the end of the book, the reader actually believes he can speak this new language. Ages 4 and up.
by Michaël Escoffier, illustrated by Kris Di Giacomo
It is absolutely impossible not to laugh at this book! Especially the ending! Your kids will be rolling on the floor. Seriously. I don’t want to give it away so let’s just say it involves a chameleon, a wash tub, a rabbit, a conscience and hole-y briefs. If that’s not a recipe for hilarity I don’t know what is. Even my stoic husband cracked a smile and that’s all the evidence you need. Ages 4 and up.
My Pictures After the Storm
by Eric Veillé
Veillé's wry book is billed as a children's book but the illustrations will delight adults as well. On each two page spread, Veillé draws and labels objects in their "before state" and then again in their "after state." This is where things get fun. The conversations adults will have with their kids while they read this book are bound to be hilarious as they come up for explanations of the "after." All ages.
No More Poems! A Book in Verse that Just Gets Worse
by Rhett Miller, illustrated by Dan Santat
by Rhett Miller. "No more poems!" is the last thing your kids will be shouting after you share these verses with them! This collection focuses on poems about everyday life that kids might experience: siblings, baths, karate, bedtime. There is bathroom humor (of course), fun word play and enough crazy illustrations that kids will be constantly looking over your shoulder during poetry time. All ages.
I'm Just No Good at Rhyming: And Other Nonsense for Mischievous Kids and Immature Grown-Ups
by Chris Harris (without William Shakespeare), illustrated by Lane Smith
My youngest LOVED this book! Even though he enjoys telling me he hates poetry to torment me (what? that's a lie!) he kept asking me to read these hilarious poems. What does it have to do with life? Everything! Harris and Lane team up to bring you super wacky poems, deconstructed poetry and all around silly-ness. One of my favorite children's poetry books, ever. All ages.
The Elephant Who Liked to Smash Small Cars
by Jean Merrill, illustrated by Ronni Solbert
As the title suggests, a young elephant loves to smash small cars as they pass by. He loves to smash red, yellow, blue cars! But what happens when a car salesman won't put up with the elephant's penchant for destruction? He will need to find a way to temper his smashing enthusiasm. An unusual but whimsical preschool book that will especially be enjoyed by kids know the pleasure of knocking down block towers and the like! Ages 3 and up.