Picture books transport us with their sweet illustrations and wholesome stories–that is, unless you stumble on the sub genre of picture books aimed at adults. The illustrations may be equally sweet, yet the stories are anything but. The result is an irreverent, ironic, and downright irresistible contrast that is perfect for unpretentious parents, novelty gifters, and readers with a sardonic sense of humor. So if you’re looking for something a little less saccharine and a little more sacreligious, buckle up for this list of hilarious picture books that are not meant for kids!
All My Friends Are Dead by Avery Monsen and Jory John
Sometimes things are going swell and life is full of friends, and sometimes all your friends are dead. From a sock whose only friend has gone missing to a tree whose friends have all become end tables (except that guy) here is a darkly funny and brilliantly simple take on life’s inevitable setbacks and peculiar friendships (or lack thereof).
Go the F**k to Sleep by Adam Mansbach and Ricardo Cortes
Exhausted parents of the world, rejoice: this book is for you. This bestseller is pretty well-known (particularly thanks to Samuel L. Jackson’s infamous reading), and perfectly captures the not-so-zen side of bedtime. Anyone who has spent significant time putting kids to bed can relate to this cozily illustrated–and increasingly frustrated–journey of trying to lull little munchkins off to dreamland. It’s no Goodnight Moon, that’s for sure!
P is for Pterodactyl: The Worst Alphabet Book Ever by Raj Haldar, Chris Carpenter and Maria Beddia
There are books that teach kids how to read, and there are books that teach kids the truth about how nonsensical English spelling vs pronunciation can be. This one is the latter.
Someday a Bird Will Poop On You: A Life Lesson by Sue Salvi and Megan Kellie
Ok, so kids may enjoy this one, but adults will probably enjoy it a little more. This book tells that someday a bird will poop on all of us. But that’s okay. In a world of bad news, fake news, delays, disappointments, trash talk, and tweets, things are bound to get a little poopy. This modern parable about life hitting us with the unexpected says that “what matters is not how big the mess is, but how well you react to it.” Sounds like the perfect book for 2020.
Slothilda: Living the Sloth Life by Dante Fabiero
This is the book I wrote during lockdown. Just kidding–this is just an accurate representation of my life during lockdown. Here’s an adorably illustrated book for anyone who is feeling a little overwhelmed by their to-do lists, a little anxious about their habits, or a little procrastinator-y about their deadlines. I didn’t choose the sloth life. It chose me.
Chelsea is a copywriter, editor, publicist, and content creator at Books Forward, an author publicity and book marketing firm committed to promoting voices from a diverse variety of communities. From book reviews and author events, to social media and digital marketing, we help authors find success and connect with readers. Interested in what’s possible for your book sales and building readership? Check out our services, tell us your goals, and get a customized publicity campaign tailored just for you.