The best picture books with humor and twist endings

Keiko Kasza Author Of My Lucky Day
By Keiko Kasza

Who am I?

Keiko Kasza is an award-winning author/illustrator of picture books. Though she uses animals as her book characters, the subjects are always related to issues that young children face. Humor and a surprise ending are the signatures of her work.   

I wrote...

My Lucky Day

By Keiko Kasza,

Book cover of My Lucky Day

What is my book about?

A piglet knocks on the fox’s door apparently by mistake. The fox is thrilled. He grabs the piglet and begins to cook his favorite dish, roast pork. You will give a sigh of relief when the piglet finally escapes. But it won’t end there. A huge surprise awaits you on the last page. 

The books I picked & why

Shepherd is readers supported. When you buy through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission. This is how we fund this project for readers and authors (learn more).

I Want My Hat Back

By Jon Klassen,

Book cover of I Want My Hat Back

Why this book?

This is one of just a few books that totally wowed me. The story, the art, and the book design: each one is a musical instrument creating the most beautiful symphony together. A bear loses his hat. He asks many animals, but no one has seen it. Can he get his hat back? Yes, but Klassen throws in an unexpected twist at the end. 

The Wolf, the Duck, and the Mouse

By Mac Barnett, Jon Klassen (illustrator),

Book cover of The Wolf, the Duck, and the Mouse

Why this book?

A wolf swallows a mouse, who meets a duck (a previous prey) in the wolf’s stomach. They become friends. The duck says that she used to worry about being eaten by wolves but now that she already has, she doesn’t worry about it anymore. What an offbeat sense of humor! You will be laughing out loud at the surprise ending.   

Eat Pete

By Michael Rex,

Book cover of Eat Pete

Why this book?

A monster goes to Pete’s house with the intention to eat him. Pete asks the monster to play with various games and toys. The monster reluctantly does so, but each time the text goes, “He didn’t want to play...because he wanted to...EAT PETE!” Then something shocking happens – he eats Pete! Let me assure you, though, the ending is very sweet.  

The Hueys in It Wasn't Me

By Oliver Jeffers,

Book cover of The Hueys in It Wasn't Me

Why this book?

I always admire Jeffers’s work – it is ever creative and original. The Hueys are arguing when Gillespie comes by. He asks them, “What are you fighting about?” This stumps them. They don’t remember. Then comes Gillespie’s last line, which blows your mind. The ending couldn't be more perfect.  

That Is Not a Good Idea!

By Mo Willems,

Book cover of That Is Not a Good Idea!

Why this book?

A wolf spots a chicken and asks her to go for a stroll with him. She accepts. Then they proceed to the woods, to his house, to his kitchen... he intends to make chicken soup. Each time she accepts his offer, her chicks show up and yell, “that’s not a good idea!” I guarantee you that you won’t see this coming. The chicks’ warning isn’t meant for their mother. What a twist! 

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in plot twists, play and playing, and bears?

5,309 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about plot twists, play and playing, and bears.

Plot Twists Explore 21 books about plot twists
Play And Playing Explore 9 books about play and playing
Bears Explore 42 books about bears

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like Mother Bruce, Children Make Terrible Pets, and You Will Be My Friend! if you like this list.