One of my favorite things to do is read with my kids. And if the book is right, we all like to read together.
More recently, I set out to find the funniest books that all my kids – ages 2, 5, 8, and 10 – can all enjoy. I searched for books that made us laugh out loud, books that kept everyone’s interest and attention regardless of age, and books that everyone wanted to read a second, third, and even fourth time. Here’s the ten that made our list.
“President Taft is Stuck in the Bath” by Mac Barnett. A hilarious book about the 27th president of the United States who is rumored to have been so large that he had a custom bathtub in the White House made to fit. He was known for other, more studious accomplishments, like being the only president to serve on the Supreme Court after leaving office, but it’s the story of his getting stuck in the bathtub, paired with Chris Van Dusen’s illustrations, that had us all laughing.
“Those Darn Squirrels” by Adam Rubin and Daniel Salmieri. From the duo who brought us “Dragons Love Tacos” (which also makes our list), this is the story of grumpy Old Man Fookwire who despises squirrels but loves birds. Fookwire’s over-the top, elaborate ways to keep the squirrels from getting the bird seed he puts out might seem familiar to some parents. But the squirrels in this book, like many squirrels, are smarter than you think.
“Polar Bear’s Underwear” by Tupera Tupera. Books about underwear always leave my kids giggling uncontrollably, and this book did the trick. It’s a simpler read, but funny nonetheless. Polar Bear loses his underwear and with the help of his friend, Mouse, goes on a search to find out which animal might, in fact, have his. The pages feature cleverly die-cut underpants-shaped windows showing underwear of varying color schemes. Predictably, the undies always belong to some other animal.
“Interrupting Chicken” by David Ezra Stein. I don’t know about you, but when I’m trying to read, or even have a conversation with my husband, an interruption is inevitable. So, this book was a particularly funny read for kids and parents alike. It’s little red chicken’s bedtime, and her father tries to read her a story but keeps getting interrupted. First, it’s Hansel and Gretel, then Little Red Riding Hood, but each time the little chicken jumps in to comment and quickly finish the story.
“Dragons Love Tacos” by Adam Rubin and Daniel Salmieri. This best-selling book isn’t new (released in 2012), but it’s still a favorite, and for good reason. It’s a hysterical story about how much dragons love tacos – chicken tacos, beef tacos, great big tacos, and teeny tiny tacos – but it notes the one thing dragons do not love: spicy salsa. Early on, the reader is warned to avoid offering dragons spicy salsa, but it’s bound to happen, and that anticipation is part of the excitement that builds with the turn of each page.
“Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” by Judith Viorst. Another book that’s been around even longer (released in 1987) is this funny story about a boy whose day starts out bad when he wakes up with gum in his hair; and from there it only gets worse. Alexander isn’t happy with the lunch that’s packed for him; the shoes he wants are sold out; and there are lima beans for dinner. We’ve all had days like this. Well, sort of.
“Stuck” by Oliver Jeffries. This is an absolutely absurd story about how one thing literally leads to another, and it’s impossible not to laugh as you turn each page. A young boy named Floyd gets his kite stuck in a tree. To get it down, he tries throwing his sneaker into the tree, but it, too, gets stuck. Then his cat. Then his bike. Then the kitchen sink. My favorite one might be when he finally gets the ladder … and throws it up into the tree! And so on and so forth. Does he ever get his kite back? You’ll have to read it to find out.
“The Bear Ate Your Sandwich” by Julia Sarcone-Roach. This funny story reveals (allegedly) what happened to a sandwich when left unguarded in the park. It’s an involved story about how the bear got to the city and everything that happened before he stumbled upon the sandwich, but the twist at the very end will leave little ones laughing about what really happened.
“Creepy Pair of Underwear” by Aaron Reynolds and Peter Brown. Again with the underwear! This story is one of our favorites. From the writers of “Creepy Carrots,” this is the tale about a rabbit who’s not a little bunny anymore. He insists that he’s not afraid of his underwear, but when the lights go out, they glow green and are, well, slightly creepy. He repeatedly tries to dispose of the underwear, but they keep coming back. It’s a happy ending for the little rabbit and his creepy pair of underwear though, not to worry.
“A Pig Parade is a Terrible Idea” by Michael Ian Black. This story outlines everything that could possibly go wrong if you witnessed a literal parade of pigs. A marching band, floats, parade snacks … all of these things could go awry if it were a true pig parade. (For instance, did you know that pigs hate to march? Seems they would rather snuffle, ha!)
(Need one more? Check out “I’m Not a Pig in Underpants” by Elwood H. Smith … I know, more underpants!)
About the author: Kathryn is the owner of Bicycle Pie and mom of 4 little ones. Also a writer, editor, and former owner of one of Boston's premiere baby boutiques, she continues to write about motherhood, children's products, family life, and all other things that test our skills and patience as parents.