Some of the Best Funny Books for Kids: A Big Round-Up

I’ve been let down by many lists of funny picture books for kids. Often they’re filled with books that are zany or wacky but not especially funny. Although those books might be enjoyable for lots of other reasons, they haven’t made me or my children laugh very much.

So I wanted to make a list of books that we think are truly funny. My criteria here was that both my children and I had to laugh at these books. (And we did laugh — a lot.)

The Book with No Pictures, B.J. Novak [Amazon | Bookshop]

A rolling-in-the-aisles read-aloud classic that makes the reader the butt of the joke
Perhaps the most consistent inclusion on any list of funny books for kids, this book really deserves to be recognized. The clever premise is that the adult reading to the child will read whatever is printed on the page. Chaos ensues, and the giddy children listening feel that their world is turned upside down and power is temporarily subverted. The more baffled the reader appears to be by this book, the funnier it is. (For another book of that makes a fool out of the reader, you might try David Sundin’s The Book That Did Not Want to Be Read [Amazon | Bookshop].)

I Don’t Want to Read This Book, Max Greenfield and Mike Lowery [Amazon | Bookshop]

A very witty take on the book-about-a-book concept, with excellent puns and visual gags
Like The Book with No Pictures, I Don’t Want to Read This Book is a “picture book” that’s nevertheless mostly about the words – and, like that one, it was also written by a popular sitcom star (this one by Max Greenfield, who played Schmidt on New Girl). And while not as side-splittingly funny as BJ Novak’s book, it can still get some pretty delightful laughs. The narrator here does not like books and doesn’t want to read another one – particularly not this one. There are so many horrible, tedious things about books: the words, the sentences, the paragraphs! And so many other exciting things you could do instead. Of course, all of the narrator’s dislikes and fears end up manifesting in the book, in a witty, spectacular fashion, and the visual design is a real joy. Much of this might sail over the head of pre-readers, but my 7-year-old was guffawing (and so was I). And, just like The Book With No Pictures, it’s great fun to read aloud theatrically, too.

Still Stuck, Shinsuke Yoshitake [Amazon | Bookshop]

A side-splitting masterpiece of comedic writing that focuses, delightfully, on a common childhood problem
Still Stuck must be one of the funniest children’s books ever written. It begins with the already funny idea of a child getting stuck while taking off his shirt and asks, “Well, what if he never gets unstuck?” The book gets increasingly absurd, in Yoshitake’s characteristically quirky and delightful way, and culminates in a side-splitting crisis, a masterful pairing of words and image.

It Might Be an Apple, Shinsuke Yoshitake [Amazon]

A wildly inventive and philosophical Yoshitake classic
So… suppose that apple you wanted for snack isn’t really an apple… Yoshitake’s wild imagination and intricate drawings are very funny as always, but a wonderful table of invented apple names and shapes is a silly stand-out in this one. (My own children open it to precisely that page and ask me to recite the names, which I do — breathlessly! It makes them crack up every time.)

Mustard, Custard, Grumble Belly and Gravy, Michael Rosen and Quentin Blake [Amazon]

A playful, utterly charming collection of poems from the master of funny children’s poetry
Michael Rosen is, I think, the funniest children’s poet, or perhaps the funniest poet, period. On his brilliant YouTube channel, you can listen to him reel off one poem after another, and he’s so funny that you might wonder if he could have had an acting career, too. This collection, perhaps his funniest, has an assortment of hilarious poems that use wordplay and nonsense to get big laughs: “Don’t” and “Say Please” and “Bathroom Fiddler” are wonderful. And some of the poems in here are not funny at all but instead quite serious, dealing with fears and sadnesses that many children have. These are lovely, too, in their own way, as Rosen has a gift for vulnerability and honesty and for understanding the world from a child’s perspective.

Bananas in My Ears, Michael Rosen and Quentin Blake [Amazon | Bookshop]

Another terrific collection of poetry from the hilarious Michael Rosen
While my favorite collection of funny poetry is Rosen’s Mustard, Custard, and Grumble Belly and Gravy, this book is a worthy companion (and a solid sequel, if you’re eager for more). Notably, it includes the wonderful “What If?” poems (each starting with a ridiculous, childlike “what if” premise and carrying it as far as it can go).

Fortunately, Remy Charlip [Amazon | Bookshop]

A brilliantly succinct comic gem about an epic roller coaster of an adventure
Fortunately toys with the repetition of good luck and bad luck, crises and resolutions that build upon each other and seem, perhaps, infinite: fortunately this happened, but then unfortunately that happened. The zig-zagging between relief and disappointment can get big laughs (and it all turns out fine in the end, too).

Oi Frog!, Kes Gray and Jim Field [Amazon | Bookshop]

An absurd, rhyme-based premise is taken to delightful extremes
Oi Frog! is a wonderful book about rhyming, with a bossy cat who insists that all animals must sit on objects that their names rhyme with (cats on mats, frogs on logs, and so on). That’s absurd enough as it is, but the reader’s breathless verbal gymnastics as she catalogs these pairings will get lots of laughs, and there’s a great gag at the end, too.

Chicken Cheeks, Michael Ian Black and Kevin Hawkes [Amazon | Bookshop]

Adorable bottom-based humor perfect even for toddlers
The text in this book is simple: just rhyming or alliterative names for animal butts. The pictures are hysterical, and it’s brilliantly structured, with a dynamite animal butt name at the end. Clever and delightful and goofy all the way through.

A Pig Parade Is a Terrible Idea, Michael Ian Black and Kevin Hawkes [Amazon | Bookshop]

This tour-de-force for elementary-aged children and grown-ups hilariously skewers the common picture book
This book is especially funny for grown-ups and slightly older children (first grade and up), as the humor here is more complex: the tension between typical children’s book ideas (a cute pig parade!) and reality (pigs tearing apart the floats and busting their noses through the drums). The concept is very funny, but the illustrations truly nail it and make the book so funny that even many adults, reading this on their own, will laugh out loud.

Harold’s Hungry Eyes, Kevin Waldron [Amazon | Bookshop]

This funny and charming tale about a hungry dog features design so ingenious it’ll make you laugh
The illustrations in Harold’s Hungry Eyes are supremely clever: scenes and cityscapes are embellished and completed with pictures of food (a cheese bus, a pie clock, an ice cream cone traffic light, a flan lamp), with delightful and surprising results. The plot itself is wonderfully sweet though not especially funny — Harold’s favorite chair goes missing, and he tries to track it down (though he’s almost too hungry to go on!) — but the final few pages have a beautiful punchline, heartwarming and happy and clever enough to make you bark with joy, too.

Should I Share My Ice Cream?, Mo Willems [Amazon | Bookshop]

A stand-out from the wonderful Elephant and Piggie series
If you’ve read the Elephant and Piggie books 100 times or more, as many of us have, it might be hard to remember just how funny they are. And they’re almost certainly funnier for children than they are for adults. But they are tremendously well done and, if readers really get into the spirit and act them out, they bring down the house. Should I Share My Ice Cream? is a favorite, a brilliant and funny look at children’s indecision and the difficulty that many of us, even adults, have deciding whether we should share something special and ephemeral or keep it to ourselves.

A Pizza With Everything on It, Kyle Scheele and Andy J. Pizza [Amazon | Bookshop]

A wild, laugh-out-loud adventure that takes its premise very seriously
Just try to read this one aloud without laughing. The premise is this: a boy’s father owns a pizza restaurant, and one day the boy decides he wants a pizza with everything on it. Simple enough, you’d think, but the boy means this literally and wants ev-er-y-thing on his pizza. Not just what’s in the restaurant, or in the town, but everything. (This soon creates some cosmic problems.) The joke is simple but done magnificently well, and the illustrations are hilarious. I loved this and laughed and laughed while reading it.

Secret Pizza Party, Adam Rubin and Daniel Salmieri [Amazon | Bookshop]

A brilliantly narrated story that’s perfect for dramatic read-alouds
Raccoon is not only enthusiastic about pizza, he’s obsessive about it. So why will no one let him have any? Why do they always chase him away with brooms? (Raccoon is certainly obsessed with pizza, but as a child I know noted, “The people here must really be obsessed with brooms.”) There’s only one solution: a secret pizza party. The illustrations are often quite funny, but the star here is the narrator: sneaky, persuasive, and occasionally out of control (but, hey, that’s just the power of pizza). It’s written so well that it’s easy to read this one for big laughs — give it your best theatrical performance.

Ergo, Alexis Deacon and Viviane Schwarz [Amazon | Bookshop]

A sweet and laugh-out-loud philosophical story about being and becoming
In this bright, hopeful, and funny book, a curious chick explores the inside of her egg before she hatches — and boldly concludes: “I AM THE WORLD.” But it isn’t quite so simple as that… Many books about empathy and caring, like this one, sacrifice the story for the message (you read them once and then that’s enough), but Ergo’s story is engaging and wonderful. Children are in on the joke (Ergo is not the world!), and Ergo is such an adorable and expressive character that it’s fun to read this over and over. And Ergo’s big questions and grand conclusions make this a fun one to read aloud, as theatrically as you like!

My Rhinoceros, Jon Agee [Amazon]

A silly and delightfully random picture book about a pet rhinoceros
My Rhinoceros is a simple story taken to absurd places. The premise is simple: a boy buys a pet rhinoceros but is quickly disappointed that it doesn’t do anything. But perhaps the rhinoceros just hasn’t found the right moment… I broke down laughing at several points in the story, and every time I thought it couldn’t get more ridiculous, it did. I won’t say more, for fear of spoiling the wonderful punchlines, but Jon Agee sure does know how to stick a landing.

Otto: A Palindrama, Jon Agee [Amazon | Bookshop]

A very funny and absurd tale told entirely in palindromes
I think it’s safe to say you won’t have read anything like this before: a graphic novel written entirely in palindromes. If you know a thing or two about palindromes, you’ll know that the longer ones often sound absurd, and so this book goes in absurd — and profoundly delightful — directions. It’s hallucinatory, silly, and clever, a quick read that made me laugh out loud on just about every other page. It’s beautifully constructed, a ridiculous idea taken to sublime heights. I love it unreservedly. (This one isn’t a picture book, but it’s a remarkably quick graphic novel and one you could absolutely read aloud in one sitting. All the same, independent readers will appreciate its cleverness more than younger children.)

Blanket: Journey to Extreme Coziness, Loryn Brantz [Amazon | Bookshop]

A cute and manic ode to blanket cocoons
This very funny book about the pleasures of making blanket cocoons is a bit suspenseful, quite dramatic, and very, very silly. The illustrations are superbly done and key to the humor — seeing a cocooned child orbiting Earth or bouncing through the jungle had my children in stitches. The book’s cartoonish wildness and near-hyperventilating fervor are a bit reminiscent of Allie Brosh’s Hyperbole and a Half, so if you’re a fan of her work, you might love this one as well. And aside from being very funny, the book’s guide to making blanket cocoons might well inspire children to try their hands at rolling themselves up and getting extremely cozy, too.

My Parents Won’t Stop Talking!, Emma Huntsinger and Tillie Walden [Amazon | Bookshop]

A child’s frustration with her sociable parents is taken to hilarious extremes
Molly is eager to go to the park, but as soon as her moms step outside, they’re waylaid by the Credenzas, the chatty neighbors from across the street. And of course – of course! – the adults are not only oblivious to the children’s frustration, but they’re talking about mind-numbingly boring things, like oil changes, soil quality, and garlic presses. Soon, it’s more than Molly can bear, and she has a spectacularly ridiculous breakdown that will leave children in stitches. This is not only a great book about a common childhood frustration, but it’s wonderfully funny, too. Molly’s catalog of increasingly goofy adult names got me first, before we all cracked up at her complete break with reality. And if you like this hyperventilating, exaggerated humor, check out another very funny book with a similar feel: Blanket: A Journey to Extreme Coziness [Amazon | Bookshop].

The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors, Drew Daywalt and Adam Rex [Amazon | Bookshop]

An origin story that hilariously gives mundane objects the epic treatment
In this funny and dramatic origin story for rock paper scissors, the three great warriors trek across their realms in search of opponents who can best them. Rock handily defeats Apricot, and Computer Printer is no match for Paper — but winning isn’t fun if there’s no real challenge. So it’s only when these masterful competitors meet each other that life becomes interesting. The pairing of mundane household objects with trash-talking and dramatic action sequences is delightful and very funny — it makes for a ridiculous epic. And as for reading it aloud: if you’ve ever fantasized about narrating a fighting championship, this one’s for you.

Guess Again!, Mac Barnett and Adam Rex [Amazon | Bookshop]

This guessing book uses rhyme and clever illustrations to subvert expectations 
Guess Again! asks readers to take a look at some silhouettes and listen to the rhyming clues. Just one word is missing from the final line, to reveal what’s making the silhouette, and kids will think they know the answer. (It seems so obvious! They know what rhyming word is missing!) But the answers here are always surprising. You’d think a book like this would work only on the first read, but in my experience children ask for it over and over. After all, during the first read you’re being tricked, but on subsequent reads you’re in on the joke yourself. Really good, silly fun, as usual, from Mac Barnett.

The Wolf & the Duck & the Mouse, Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen [Amazon | Bookshop]

A riotous tale of survival that’s bursting with wit
A wolf swallows a mouse, and, just as the mouse is despairing inside its belly, it hears the voice of a duck, itself swallowed long ago. This duck is not only extraordinarily funny but also delivers one of the best lines in all of children’s literature: “I may have been swallowed, but I have no intention of being eaten.” Are these not words to live by? A truly great picture book — and a side-splittingly funny one, too.

Sam & Dave Dig a Hole, Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen [Amazon | Bookshop]

This deadpan masterpiece perfectly contrasts words with images
Sam and Dave hope to find something spectacular by digging a hole. But they keep digging, and digging, and digging, and… nothing. It’s the contrast between their ho-hum experience and the clever, exaggerated illustrations that makes for huge laughs here. A genius idea, executed perfectly. Kids scream with laughter at this one (and adults might have trouble keeping a straight face, too).

Battle Bunny, Jon Scieszka, Mac Barnett, and Matthew Myers [Amazon | Bookshop]

A child revises a bland and unimaginative picture book, and the result is sublime
Although it’s never explicitly explained, the concept here is that Alex’s grandmother gave him a sweet but very traditional book, Birthday Bunny — but Alex had some ideas for improvement. A story about a bunny who is sad because his friends appeared to forget his birthday? No. What Alex wanted was a doomsday action movie with lots of fighting. So the book you read here is Birthday Bunny, but with Alex’s pencil revisions and add-on illustrations (he’s a thorough chap — he’s even revised the copyright page). Now, if you don’t want to read a book with an explosives-loving zombie squirrel or poison snakes or a whole lot of fighting, maybe you shouldn’t read this one. But if you can handle all of this, the humor here is complex (in its way) and brilliantly executed. I myself made creative revisions like this as a child — and I still do it in my head, even as a grown-up, because it’s fun. The first time I read this book, I laughed so hard I cried.

The Great Zapfino, Mac Barnett and Marla Frazee [Amazon | Bookshop]

Superbly conceived and executed, this book about a circus performer has a big payoff

While The Great Zapfino won’t have you rolling in the aisles like some of Mac Barnett’s other books, its concept and execution are superb, its payoff deeply satisfying. Here, circus performer the Great Zapfino leaves the big top instead of performing a death-defying ten-story leap – and goes to find a more regular job. It’s hard to say more without giving away this gem of a plot, so I’ll stop there. But if you’re looking for a funny book, yes, there’s one big joke here – and it’s a good one. 

Mina, Matthew Forsythe [Amazon | Bookshop]

For kids who relish the idea of adults messing up, this tale delivers some big laughs
This offbeat tale of a “weird dad” and his long-suffering daughter had my children shrieking with laughter. Here’s the idea: Mina’s dad, who is both optimistic and shockingly unobservant (a dangerous combination), impulsively brings home an animal that he claims is a squirrel, but Mina isn’t so sure about that. He insists that there’s nothing to worry about… but is there? The illustrations are dreamlike, awash in a kaleidoscope of color, and the text is a perfect deadpan. If you read this book just right, playing up the contrast between Mina’s simmering suspicion and her dad’s cheery calm – even in the face of extreme danger! – you can get kids screaming. (Children love to laugh at a clueless parent!)

The Good For Nothing Button, Charise Mericle Harper [Amazon | Bookshop]

A very entertaining book with a philosophical question at its core
While this book isn’t rolling-in-the-aisles hilarious, the question this book is exploring is pretty funny: can something ever truly do nothing? Yellow Bird insists its red button does nothing, but every time Red Bird and Blue Bird push the button, something happens to them: they feel surprised, or sad, or disappointed, for instance. And isn’t the button doing that? Yellow Bird is not pleased about this idea, but all his protests dig him deeper into a hole. It’s a great joke — and a philosophical inquiry, too.

Pug Man’s 3 Wishes, Sebastian Meschenmoser [Amazon | Bookshop]

A one-of-a-kind, intensely offbeat masterpiece you’ve got to read to believe
Well, look: you’re either the type of person who laughs at the sight of a tired pug sitting on a toilet or you aren’t. But there’s more to this book than just that visual gag. Pug Man is having a terrible day — and he looks so profoundly weary, in fact, that it’s difficult to imagine anything would bring him joy. But then a fairy shows up and offers him three wishes. The ending is surprising and delightful. Right after my own children and I finished reading this the first time, they begged me to read it four more times in a row. 

Mr. Squirrel and the Moon, Sebastian Meschenmoser [Amazon | Bookshop]

Understated text and clever illustrations lead to big laughs in a book about a “stolen moon”
When a runaway wheel of cheese gets stuck in Mr. Squirrel’s tree, he’s certain that the moon has fallen from the sky. Leave it to other animals to worry about cosmic disaster – he just doesn’t want to be caught with stolen goods on his property. But in his haste to dispose of the evidence, things spiral out of control. Meschenmoser’s books are instantly identifiable by their realistic, understated pencil illustrations and deadpan humor, and he’s a master of sly, funny details (sharp-eyed readers will get some extra laughs from this one). A clever, wonderfully funny book that feels like a well-loved classic.

We Don’t Eat Our Classmates, Ryan T. Higgins [Amazon | Bookshop]

This immensely popular book about a hungry classmate has some truly good punchlines
Penelope the T. rex is nervous about her first day of school. She doesn’t want to eat children, but… Well, it’s hard when they’re always spilling condiments on themselves, isn’t it? A crowd-pleaser of a story with some very solid jokes.

Mr. Watson’s Chickens, Jarrett Dapier and Andrea Tsurumi [Amazon | Bookshop]

This funny tale about a couple with too many chickens has stand-out illustrations packed with amusing details
Mr. Watson and Mr. Nelson live peacefully with their three cats, two dogs, and three chickens, until one day… the chickens have multiplied beyond control. Then the house is jammed with naughty, extroverted, noisy, hilarious chickens, and although Mr. Watson doesn’t mind the chaos, Mr. Nelson loses patience. Andrea Tsurumi is a master of witty, detailed illustrations, and she doesn’t disappoint here. You might read this book thirty times and still notice new details about what Mr. Watson’s chickens are getting up to. It’s so delightful, and the chickens have such charismatic personalities that it’s hard not to laugh at them using a toilet or getting into the hair gel. What’s more, this lovely tale features a truly diverse range of characters, with representation for different sexualities and gender identities. It’s a warm, read-aloud delight.

Kat Hats, Daniel Pinkwater and Aaron Renier [Amazon | Bookshop]

A charmingly bonkers, truly original book book about cats trained to serve as hats

If you’re familiar with some of Daniel Pinkwater’s other books (The Big Orange Splot, Pickle Creature), you might have some idea of what to expect from this truly unusual and funny book. (If you’re new to Pinkwater, buckle up! It’s a ride!) In Kat Hats, Matt Katz trains cats to serve as super-fluffy, living headgear, guaranteed to keep the wearer warm even in the most perilously cold conditions. And when Chickarina the witch gets stranded on the Witch’s Spitz mountain (in the dead of winter, eating a gigantic popsicle), there’s only one cat who can rescue her from a dangerous case of brain freeze: Thermal Herman 6 7/8ths. This book won’t be for steadfastly traditional readers – it’s even more bonkers than it sounds – but the way it totally commits to its wild vision is extremely charming. (And my children immediately asked me to read it a second time.) I love this book, and I’m so happy that people are writing and illustrating really original books like this one.

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