The best children’s books for goofy kids

Kyle Scheele Author Of A Pizza with Everything on It
By Kyle Scheele

The Books I Picked & Why

Sam & Dave Dig a Hole

By Mac Barnett, Jon Klassen

Book cover of Sam & Dave Dig a Hole

Why this book?

I love this book because it takes something so universal (two kids deciding to dig a hole in order to look for “something spectacular”) and escalates it to the point of absurdity. 

This book also does an incredible job of having the pictures tell a different story than the text, which is something that only picture books can do! Sam and Dave are constantly missing things that are super obvious to the reader (and the dog!), which creates lots of opportunities for laughs. My kids love this book, and I love reading it to them.

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Sideways Stories from Wayside School

By Louis Sachar, Adam McCauley

Book cover of Sideways Stories from Wayside School

Why this book?

I read this book (and the others in the series) so many times when I was growing up. It was probably my first introduction to absurdist humor, and I fell in love. The book tells the story of Wayside School, which was supposed to be a one-story building with thirty classrooms but was instead built as a thirty-story building with one classroom on each level (except the 19th floor, which does not exist). The whole book is a love letter to absurdity, with teachers that turn children into apples, kids that get stuck to their chairs with chewing gum, and a yard teacher named Louis who dispenses valuable life lessons. 

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The Stinky Cheese Man: And Other Fairly Stupid Tales

By Jon Scieszka, Lane Smith

Book cover of The Stinky Cheese Man: And Other Fairly Stupid Tales

Why this book?

Let’s be honest – most fairy tales are boring and predictable and lame. But not these! In this book, Jon Scieszka turns classic stories on their head and plays with the idea of what a fairy tale should (and could!) be. Instead of the Gingerbread Man, we get the Stinky Cheese Man. “The Princess and the Pea” becomes “The Princess and the Bowling Ball”, Little Red Riding Hood is replaced with Little Red Running Shorts, and the Really Ugly Duckling doesn’t turn out to be a swan after all – he just turns into a really ugly duck. This book cracks me up every time!

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I Can Only Draw Worms

By Will Mabbitt

Book cover of I Can Only Draw Worms

Why this book?

This book is such a fun example of taking something that could be seen as a limitation (for instance, the fact that you can only draw worms) and turning it into something more. The book is narrated by the author/illustrator, who explains that he can only draw worms. 

He then introduces a cast of worms and tells us about their various adventures. But whenever he describes something non-worm-like (Worm Six is riding on a flying unicorn!) he quickly reminds us that he can’t draw those things, because he can only draw worms. Never fails to get my kids laughing!

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By Andrew Clements

Book cover of Frindle

Why this book?

I was just recently introduced to this book by my friend Erica, and I love it so much! It’s a story that feels ridiculous and realistic at the same time. It starts out with a boy who is trying to distract his teacher long enough to avoid getting homework, but the plan backfires. Before we know it he’s gotten half the school in detention, started a nationwide trend, and gotten himself into the record books. It’s an ode to the power of silly ideas, and I can’t recommend it enough. 

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