Don’t let the cartoon drawings and relatively few words on every page fool you. Some “children’s books” are more for parents than they are for kids. And that’s okay. We parents need a light, illustrated laugh, too!
I mean, if you want to read these to your young kids, you can. Just be prepared for them to repeat the words at inopportune times in public, ask questions you’re not exactly ready to answer, or have nightmares. It’s your choice, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Check out these funny, accurate, and silly “children’s books” that appeal to every parent’s inner-child.
Do You Want to Play with My Balls?
by the Cifaldi Brothers
If you enjoy blunt or suggestive body humor, it’s hard not to laugh and blush when you hear yourself say some of the things in this book. From talking about ball size to carrying Chuck’s ball sack, this book contains innuendos that in the context of the book are completely innocent. As a parent, we hear our kids say unintentionally awkward, innocent things all the time! It’s one of the perks.
If You Give a Mommy a Glass of Wine
by Renee Charytan, illustrated by Rick Van Hattum
Following the pattern of the “If You Give” series by Laura Numeroff, this book plays with a series of events after the kids go to bed that starts when mommy gets a glass of wine, including preparing lunches for the kids, cleaning up messes, and more. All parents have been there after a hard, stressful day and will probably find this book hilarious – and a little too true.
All My Friends Are Dead
by Avery Monsen and Jory John
This book has the perfect blend of light humor and dark situations as it discusses death for different things and beings. You can’t help but giggle as a dinosaur, a dodo bird, and an old man all realize that all their friends are dead. A houseplant awaits its slow death from a negligent homeowner. A lonely sock awaits getting thrown away because it can’t find its partner. This book is truly funny for anyone who can handle talking about the natural course of life in a lighthearted way. You can enjoy the sequel as well!
K Is for Knifeball: An Alphabet for Terrible Advice
by Jory John
Written by the same author as “All My Friends Are Dead”, this book reminds adults of stupid things most of us have done at one point or another, like putting non-food items in a blender. As it says in the book, “O is for Open things with your teeth.” Guilty here. Now we can laugh at our own dumb choices and maybe get ideas for other things we shouldn’t, but honestly still may, do. What can I say? Some people never grow up.
I’d Really Like to Eat a Child
by Silviane Donnio
Even mom and dad alligators have to deal with picky eaters, too, I guess. In this tale, the alligator learns that he must grow a little more before he can eat “big alligator food.” This book reminds me of a nightmare I had when I was kid: an alligator trying to eat me! I still don’t feel comfortable swimming in muddy water. I don’t know if I want to relive that nightmare or pass it on to my kids, but maybe the book has something to teach us about helping picky eaters. That is, if what your kids want to eat can pick them up, which would be creepy.
The Taking Tree: A Selfish Parody
by Shrill Travesty, illustrated by Lucy Ruth Cummins
No offense to Shel Silverstein, but this hilarious parody is a blunt and alternate story with a different tree and a different boy. The boy throws acorns from the tree at old people and pokes his sister with sticks from the tree. Plus, you can’t tell me that other parents, even if they won’t admit it, haven’t read Silverstein’s classic and thought, “I’m done giving to you for awhile.” Or “What else do you want from me, child!”
Seriously, Just Go to Sleep
by Adam Mansbach
There are actually two versions of this book, but this version is the cleaner version, one that I wouldn’t be worried if my kids happened to find it. Even so, this book still combines the classic children’s book nighttime rhyme schemes with the accurately frustrating experience of every parent of toddlers. Any parent can add their sad laugh and screams to the words of this book. You could also check out “Seriously, You Have to Eat”.
What other children’s books are meant for adults? Which is your favorite?