All teachers know that the way to students’ hearts is through their stomachs … in the form of big belly laughs, that is. Even the most challenging concepts can be made easier to understand when a little comic relief is involved. These 12 funny books for kids will elicit giggles from your students—all while teaching them critical classroom skills.
1. Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast by Josh Funk
Any kid who loves to play with their food will get a kick out of this one. Competitive hijinks ensue when Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast race for the last drop of maple syrup. Their bickering slows them down long enough to allow the evil Baron von Waffle to get to the syrup first, which means the book offers a solid reminder about the potential consequences that arise when friends work against one another instead of together. You can also use it to demonstrate how much further students can get when they work together toward a common goal.
2. Rude Cakes by Rowboat Watkins
This quirky book about an impolite pastry balances an irreverent storyline with charming illustrations and a subtle message about bad habits. The titular cake is just plain rude: He doesn’t listen to his parents, or take turns on the playground, or think about anyone but himself. One day, he’s snatched up by a giant—but terribly polite—cyclops that teaches him an important lesson about saying “please” and “thank you,” making apologies, considering other people’s feelings, and asking nicely for what you need. Kids will love the unexpected appearance of the giant cyclops. Teachers will love how the formerly rude cake learns it’s never too late to give good manners a try.
3. 7 Ate 9 by Tara Lazar
Need a book that combines math, clever puns, and a great detective story? 7 Ate 9, by Tara Lazar, manages to check all three of those boxes and does so with a hearty dose of humor. The number six is worried: Rumor has it that the number seven has a big appetite, and six fears he might be seven’s next victim. He hires a private investigator to find out what really happened, and the result is a hilarious mix of math jokes, word play, and hard-boiled mystery-solving. Math and language arts teachers alike will be able to make use of the book’s ingenious handling of numbers and punny expressions. There’s also the chance to invite kids to solve the mystery themselves, using the clues hidden in the illustrations, before they reach the end.
4. AlphaOops!: The Day Z Went First by Alethea Kontis
What starts out as a perfectly normal recitation of the alphabet turns into utter chaos when Z decides he wants to go first—not only forcing A to the end of the line, but encouraging all the other letters to reconsider their places in the ABCs, too. Some want to stay exactly where they are, some want an entirely new position, and others want to take more than their fair share of the turns. You will love the hilarious one-upping that happens when certain letters get carried away. A fun classroom game could be one where students compete to see who can name the most words beginning with an assigned letter (inspired here by the antics of letters B, V, and A).
5. Love, Triangle by Marcie Colleen
Circle and Square are different but have been best friends “since they were a dot and a speck.” Everything is going just fine—until Triangle comes along and changes the dynamic. Can the friends make room for one more? Packed with geometry puns and a powerful message about the flexible, forgiving nature of friendship, you will find Love, Triangle to be a fantastic tool for social emotional skills. It’s a really good book for students grappling with the same sticky social situations as Circle and Square or for a class that has just welcomed a new student into the fold.
6. Take Away the A by Michaël Escoffier
Language arts teachers, rejoice! Teaching spelling just got a little less painful (and a lot more fun) with Take Away the A. This journey through the alphabet strategically removes one letter from a paired set of words. This gives kids a visual representation of what can happen when you subtract just one letter from the spelling equation. Amidst uproarious illustrations, kids can see plants wearing pants, a monkey making money at a banana stand, and bears getting stuck behind bars. Have you been searching for creative ways to stress the importance of correct spelling? Look no further!
7. Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed by Mo Willems
Leave it to Mo Willems to make a story about naked mole rats hilarious. Wilbur bucks tradition in his colony of naked mole rats by refusing to be … well, naked. Instead, he insists on wearing a wide array of elaborate outfits, but pays the price in teasing from others. It takes the support of someone much older and wiser to show the colony that there isn’t any reason why Wilbur can’t choose to be different. The book is a simple and funny—yet effective—way for you to remind your students that we don’t all have to look exactly the same to be cool. In fact, it’s our differences that make us interesting.
8. Quit Calling Me a Monster! by Jory John
What’s in a name? The “monster” in Jory John’s book doesn’t want to be called a monster. He prefers Floyd Peterson, thank you very much. Why can’t everyone around him look beyond his horns, purple fur, ferocious teeth, and “clompy feet”? He has a great personality hiding underneath. Just because he roars, whoops, and hollers doesn’t mean that’s all there is to him. Teachers struggling to help students think beyond stereotypes can definitely use this book. How can we learn who people really are, and why should we make the effort?
9. Give Me Back My Book! by Travis Foster
You librarians out there—or those of you with impressive classroom libraries—will be unable to resist this book. Students learn about how books are made through a silly, dialogue-only tug-of-war between two friends. It also successfully attempts a deeper exploration of what books really are: powerful tools for our imaginations. Teachers interested in sharing a love of reading will admire all that this book accomplishes in a few pages. Use it to prompt a classroom discussion of favorite books. Or, encourage students to share their own book recommendations with a classmate.
10. Nothing Rhymes With Orange by Adam Rex
In this hilarious book, Adam Rex’s dynamic illustrations feature fruits parading against a paper bag background and bold lettering. While the other fruits are boasting about their rhyming counterparts, Orange is feeling left out. Though the book features a fair amount of silliness, it’s a great starting point for a lesson on rhyme. Challenge students to follow in Apple’s footsteps by creating an original rhyme just for Orange.
11. Great, Now We’ve Got Barbarians! by Jason Carter Eaton
Classroom cleanup can be challenging. Kids love free time, but not all kids see the necessity in cleaning up once free time is over. Jason Carter Eaton’s book is a hysterical cautionary tale about what can happen if you let a mess go untended. Sure, a few ants looking for crumbs is no big deal … but it might not stop there. If you’re searching for ways to inspire students to take ownership of the classroom, you’ll appreciate this lighthearted take.
12. The Hueys in None the Number by Oliver Jeffers
No one really knows who or what the Hueys are, but there’s no mistaking that their antics are riotously funny. In None the Number, author Oliver Jeffers walks readers through the numbers zero to ten. Each number stands for something odd and unique to the Hueys—things like tantrums, balancing oranges, and stolen french fries. Kids will love the simple way it’s explained and explored in the text. You will appreciate how the oft-ignored number zero is given equal importance here.
What do you think are the best funny books for kids? Come share in our WeAreTeachers Chat group on Facebook.