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Pre-K

Growing Reader

16 Read-Alouds That Will Make You Look Hilarious to Your Kids

by Iva-Marie Palmer

Hilarious-Read-Alouds
Photo credit: Klaus Vedfelt, DigitalVision/Getty Images

If you read aloud to your children, you’re halfway to getting a guffaw out of them! Add some wacky voices and dramatic pauses as you read these spectacularly giggle-worthy stories, and your little ones will think you’re the funniest grown-up around.

Here are 16 picture books to help you bring the funny to storytime.

  • The Serious Goose

    by Jimmy Kimmel

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    Your kids probably don’t know who Jimmy Kimmel is, but that won’t stop them from bursting into laughter at the late-night host’s picture book. With goofy illustrations and a creative twist, your kids won’t be able to keep a straight face as you read this story.

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  • Wordy Birdy

    by Tammi Sauer, illustrated by Dave Mottram

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    Inattentive and constantly yapping, Wordy Birdy is bound for peril when she sets off on a walk in the woods. Read this one at a fast clip to demonstrate Wordy’s never-ending monologue, and you’re guaranteed some guffaws. Add in her exasperated but faithful buddies Squirrel, Raccoon, and Rabbit's attempts to help her out of a jam, and the laughs double (but a lesson is likewise imparted).

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  • The Day the Crayons Quit

    by Drew Daywalt, illustrated by Oliver Jeffers

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    This laugh-out-loud picture book puts a funny twist on a beloved childhood activity. When Duncan opens his box of crayons, all he finds are letters. The crayons became fed up with their jobs and went on strike. If Duncan wants to color, he’ll have to convince the crayons to set aside their grievances and return to the crayon box. 

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  • Don’t Blink!

    by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, illustrated by David Roberts

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    The late and prolific Rosenthal left behind a treasure trove of children’s books, some with important lessons and others that are just plain fun. In this one, kids who can avoid getting to the end of this book can avoid bedtime: The challenge is giggle-worthy in itself. But the deal is, each time a kid blinks, a page must be turned. Up the laughs by exclaiming, “Don’t blink!” with a premium on urgency.

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  • Sam and Dave Dig a Hole

    by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Jon Klassen

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    If you want to make your kids laugh, you can’t go wrong with this award-winning author and illustrator team. When Sam and Dave go outside to dig a hole in the backyard, they expect to find something incredible. But after a full day of digging, they find ... nothing. With its brilliant artwork and spare text, this unique book will have your kids in stitches. 

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  • The Book with No Pictures

    by B.J. Novak

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    When I asked my 7-year-old about the most hilarious books I’ve ever read him, within seconds he answered: The Book with No Pictures. The reason, of course, is that Novak builds in pages that — when read aloud — force the grown-up reading the book to be extra-silly. Fortunately, the book provides you with the exact cues you need to hear giggles, not groans.

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  • Ducks Run Amok!

    by J. E. Morris

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    A flock of ducks, a turtle, a pond, and a case of mistaken identity make this silly story a must-read for any humor-loving reader! When ducks invade a little turtle’s pond, his life gets turned upside down. To get his solitude back, the turtle must convince the ducks to leave. But first, he has to prove he’s not a green duck!

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  • Stuck

    by Oliver Jeffers

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    Ridiculously escalating actions are what make this picture book one of Jeffers’s funniest. When Floyd’s kite gets stuck in a tree, he tries to get it out with successively bigger and odder objects: each of which gets stuck itself. To get the best laughs, don’t ignore the clever little asides within some of the illustrations.

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  • Dragons Love Tacos

    by Adam Rubin, illustrated by Daniel Salmieri

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    There’s no question that kids and adults alike love this hilarious modern classic. With dragons, snacks, and spicy salsa wreaking havoc on every page, kids will want to read this bestseller again and again.

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  • Gilbert Goldfish Wants a Pet

    by Kelly DiPucchio, illustrated Bob Shea

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    A woe-is-me goldfish, Gilbert, knows he should be happy with all that he has: a castle, a treasure chest, and food that falls from above! But he wants a pet. Read this one with increasing exasperation at the search for a pet that’s right for Gilbert and let Shea’s vibrant illustrations do the rest to bring the funny.

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  • Alan's Big, Scary Teeth

    by Jarvis

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    If you’ve never read this book, do yourself a favor and add it to your “to-read” list. Alan is an alligator with one talent: scaring the jungle animals with his gigantic teeth. But when his false teeth get stolen, Alan isn’t so scary anymore. This hilarious story about a bully who loses his bite is both heartfelt and wildly entertaining.

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  • My Pillow Keeps Moving

    by Laura Gehl, illustrated by Christopher Weyant

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    The joke’s on you in this one — or, really, grown-ups in general. In other words, the kid laughs are guaranteed. Though this book has few words, charming illustrations by New Yorker cartoonist Weyant speak for themselves as a clever pup without a home finds its way into the house of an unsuspecting grown-up. Then a cat follows, and the two animals must use all their tricks and disguises to keep the human from noticing that they’ve moved in. To maximize the laughs, add a few sly dog noises to your reading.

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  • Snappsy the Alligator (Did Not Ask to Be in This Book)

    by Julie Falatko, illustrated by Tim J. Miller

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    While we try to encourage following the rules, breaking them can very often lead to fun results in storytelling. In this book, Snappsy is just going about his day when a narrator decides his life could be a little more … eventful. As the narrator makes up new truths about what Snappsy’s doing, the tension escalates — and so do the laughs.

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  • There’s a Monster in Your Book

    by Tom Fletcher, illustrated by Greg Abbott

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    Granted, most days at bedtime, we want to convince our kids there’s NOT a monster in their room. But in this interactive book, kids have to shake, wiggle, and tickle to get the monster to emerge. Children are sure to crack up, but the added bonus is kiddos will be extra-tired by the last page.

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  • The Alphabet from A to Y with Bonus Letter Z

    by Steve Martin, illustrated by Roz Chast

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    If you want comedy done right … get a comedian to write a kid’s book? Well, yeah. Martin, known for his kooky routines, tackles the alphabet with wacky couplets for each letter. Odd, alliterative, and sometimes even a little gross (basically, perfect for kids), each one is illustrated by renowned cartoonist Chast.

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  • Rhyme Crime

    by Jon Burgerman

    This rhyming romp has a sweet conceit: A robber keeps stealing a word or two and replacing the missing bits with something that rhymes. The switcheroos make for a rollicking adventure until the robber is stumped when he steals the word “orange.” Kids will have to take a deep breath and quell their giggles as they solve the mystery of the disappearing objects. Read this like you’re narrating a suspense movie, and you’re guaranteed to snag all the laughs.

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in 2018 and updated in 2021.