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The Funniest Audiobooks for Families

Photo credit: Cultura RM Exclusive/Sigrid Gombert, Cultura Exclusive/ Getty Images

Have you listened to something lately that made you snort out loud with laughter? Your morning commute, school drop off, or daycare run might not seem like the most likely time for it, but audiobooks can help break up dull routines and introduce your family to fun new traditions. We’ve selected some of our favorite funny audiobooks narrated by stellar readers who bring these stories to life in a way that’s appealing to the whole family. Some are straight-up silly all the way through, while others can give you opportunities for further discussions, providing welcome icebreakers for talking about more serious topics.

Our apologies if you wind up stuck listening with rapt attention in the parking lot — it’s hard to tear yourself away from a good story!

  • Families with Young Children

  • The littlest, goofiest listeners love hearing stories read out loud, and the sillier, the better. These six stories fit the bill with ridiculous animal characters that are well loved by generations of readers alongside new favorites. Listen for both the laughs and the valuable stories about the importance of friendship, family, courage, and kindness.

  • A Bear Called Paddington

    by Michael Bond, narrated by Stephen Fry

    Bond’s British classic of a young bear’s adventures after arriving in London from “darkest Peru” has made children giggle and cheer for generations. Acclaimed actor Stephen Fry brings the marmalade-loving bear’s escapades to life with perfect comedic timing and a flair for a wide variety of British accents.

    Listen to a clip:

  • Clementine

    by Sara Pennypacker, narrated by Jessica Almasy

    Clementine’s repeated refrain, “Okay, fine!” is rendered with third-grade fidelity in Almasy’s spirited narration of a young girl for whom ‘Pay attention!’ means something different than it does for the grown-ups in her life. Clementine may do things differently, but her way is always funnier.

    Listen to a clip:

  • Fortunately, the Milk

    written and narrated by Neil Gaiman

    Whilst mum’s away giving a talk on lizards, dad’s in charge of two children and the household. The milk runs out, so dad makes a trip to the corner shop, but he’s gone “ages and ages.” Upon his return, he relates a wild story of aliens, pirates, “wumpires,” and a stegosaurus, all performed by Gaiman with absurdly delightful voices. Does he bring home the milk? Listen to find out!

    Listen to a clip:

  • The Gooney Bird Collection

    by Lois Lowry, narrated by Lee Adams

    Superlative storyteller Gooney Bird Greene likes to be “smack in the middle of things,” taking center stage the moment she arrives in her second-grade classroom. Adams’s sober narrative tone serves to make Gooney Bird’s shenanigans even funnier, and the four short novels included in this package make for perfect listening over several days.

    Listen to a clip:

  • How to Train Your Dragon

    by Cressida Cowell, narrated by David Tennant

    Tennant, best known for his role in “Doctor Who,” rolls out his best Scottish brogue, giving hilariously distinct voices to a boisterous bunch of the Hairy Hooligan Viking Tribe and their dragons. Kids and parents alike will cheer for Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III as he proves that brains are better than brawn.

    Listen to a clip:

  • Mr. Popper’s Penguins

    by Richard Atwater and Florence Atwater, narrated by Nick Sullivan

    When two penguins, given as a gift to a polar-loving Mr. Popper, become 12 penguins, Mr. Popper and his family take them on tour — with crazy results that will make you laugh until your tummy hurts. Sullivan’s crisp reporter’s style and wacky sound effects keep this classic fresh and lively. Plus, who doesn’t love a penguin?

    Listen to a clip:

  • Families with Middle Grade Children

  • We all know that middle schoolers have a uniquely strange (but wonderful) sense of humor, and these six stories will appeal to it for sure. While there are thoughtful undertones in some titles covering more serious topics such as mental health, gender stereotypes, ecology, and politics, there are plenty of opportunities for sharing some LOLs with the whole family.

  • Jeremy Bender vs. the Cupcake Cadets

    by Eric Luper, narrated by Lincoln Hoppe

    To avoid being grounded for life when he damages his father’s antique motorboat, sixth-grader Jeremy and his friend Slater are desperate to win the $500 prize in the Windjammer Whirl. Unfortunately, the contest is only open to the all-girls’ Cupcake Cadets, so the boys infiltrate the group, with priceless results brought to life by Hoppe’s spot-on voices.

    Listen to a clip:

  • Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key

    written and narrated by Jack Gantos

    Joey Pigza is a good kid who also has ADHD. Even with “meds” he’s not able to control his impulsive behavior. Listeners with and without ADHD will love spending time with Joey, who has a great sense of humor, highlighted by the deadpan narration of author Jack Gantos. Joey’s tough charm will leave everyone laughing, and crying.

    Listen to a clip:

  • Chomp

    by Carl Hiaasen, narrated by James Van Der Beek

    Animal wranglers Wahoo and his dad are hired to provide dangerous wild creatures for a “reality” TV show, leading to Hiaasen’s signature ecological hijinks and adventure. Van Der Beek offers a fine performance of the many eccentric characters in this novel that mixes humor, honesty, ethics, and conservation.

    Listen to a clip:

  • Matilda

    by Roald Dahl, narrated by Kate Winslet

    Winslet’s wry, well-characterized portrayal of Dahl’s quirky cast enhances an already-brilliant tale of a brainy young girl born into a cruel, dishonest family. School is Matilda’s favorite place, and when her adored teacher, Miss Honey, is threatened by the evil headmistress, Matilda discovers untapped powers that save the day.

    Listen to a clip:

  • No Talking

    by Andrew Clements, narrated by Keith Nobbs

    Known since kindergarten as the “unshushables,” the fifth grade class at Laketon Elementary School erupts into a two-day war of silence between the boys and girls. Nobbs captures not only the uniquely fifth grade voices, but also manages to connect with the grown-ups in this story, expressing both the humor and the human interest of Clements’s clever school story.

    Listen to a clip:

  • The True Meaning of Smekday

    by Adam Rex, narrated by Bahni Turpin

    Bahni Turpin’s vocal dexterity shines in this hilarious road trip featuring 11-year-old Gratuity (Tip) Tucci and J.Lo, a renegade member of the invading Boov, an alien tribe from another planet. Along the way, listeners are treated to satirical discussions of politics, race, and homeland security, while enjoying spot-on adolescent delivery mixed with tongue-clicking, Boov-inflected English.

    Listen to a clip:

Let us know what other listens have left your family in stitches!

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