Make Me Laugh: The Epic Librarian List of Funny Books for Kids

By Lynn Ann Lobash, Associate Director, Readers Services and Engagement
July 10, 2018

Alvin Irvy, founder of the wonderful Barbershop Books spoke at the Why Reading Matters conference this year.  The slide below was part of his presentation.  When asked what they want from a book, parents most often say they want a book to build character or inspire goodness in their child. You know what kids want? Something to make them laugh. Let's give them what they want. Our staff name their young patron’s laugh-out-loud favorites. 

Scholastic. Kids and Family Reading Report. Retrieved from: (


Toot by Leslie Patricelli (Ages 0-4)

Funny even for kids who've outgrown board books, because how can a book about farts not be funny? In fact, all the board books by Leslie Patricelli are super-funny.

Katrina Ortega, Hamilton Grange

Click, Clack, Moo

Click, Clack, Moo by Doreen Cronin (Ages 0-4)

I got a big kick out of the cows striking for better working conditions.

Melissa Scheurer, Mid-Manhattan

Unicorn Thinks He's Pretty Great

Unicorn Thinks He's Pretty Great by Bob Shea (Ages 2-6)

Ever since Unicorn moved into the neighborhood, Goat has been feeling out of sorts. Goat thought his bike was cool-until he saw that Unicorn could fly to school! Goat made marshmallow squares that almost came out right, but Unicorn made it rain cupcakes! Unicorn is such a show-off, how can Goat compete? When Goat and Unicorn share a piece of pizza, Goat learns that being a unicorn might not be all it's cracked up to be. And when Unicorn shows his admiration for Goat, it looks like the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Rachael Wettenstein, Grand Concourse

Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus

Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems (Ages 2-6)

Anything by Mo Willems, but this is my personal favorite. There is something about reading this book aloud that always has the kids laughing and rolling on the floor. 

Virginial Bartow, Special Collections

How Do Dinosaurs...? series

How Do Dinosaurs...? series by Jane Yolen, ill. Mark Teague  (Ages 3-5)

Seeing these giant creatures go through everyday tasks like riding a bus, bubble the milk, go to the doctor makes the pictures look so silly that children laugh out loud. There are also parts in them where children learn how to not behave! They are funny, causing more laughter.

Adriana Blancarte-Hayward, Outreach Services

Jeremy Draws a Monster

Jeremy Draws a Monster by Peter McCarty (Ages 3-6)

This one is bound to crack smiles when read with a grouchy and demanding monster voice.  Bonus: Jeremy learns how to stand up to a bully and make friends. :)

Susan Tucker Heimbach, Mulberry Street

Polar Bear's Underwear

Polar Bear's Underwear by Tupera Tupera (Ages 3-6)

Polar bear forgot his underwear and his friend mouse tries to help him find it by looking at different pairs. Children will have fun guessing which animal owns each pair of underwear. As anyone who works with children can tell you stories with underwear usually create a lot of giggles.

Chelsea Arnold, Hunts Point


I Don't Want To Be Big

I Don't Want to be Bigby Dev Petty, ill. Mike Boldt (Ages 3-7)

A young frog enumerates why small is best, until his porcine pal reveals that growing older does not mean you have to stop being silly.

Jessica Agudelo, St. Agnes

The Day the Crayons Quit

The Day the Crayons Quitby Drew Daywalt, ill. by Oliver Jeffers (Ages 3-7)

An hysterical epistolary picture book in which Duncan's crayons write letters to him explaining why they feel mistreated by his inability to use their colors the way they think he should.

Katrina Ortega, Hamilton Grange

The Monster at the End of This Book

The Monster at the End of This Bookby Jon Stone, ill. Michael Smollin (Ages 3-7)

A children's classic starring lovable, furry old Grover from "Sesame Street," who begs readers not to turn the page with increasingly hysterical results.

Gregory Stall, Grand Central

My Little Sister Ate One Hare

My Little Sister Ate One Hare by Bill Grossman (Ages 3-7)

The narrator tells a strange story that just gets stranger as it goes along, involving all of the bizarre things that a little girl eats and whether or not those bizarre things make her throw up.

Andrea Lipinski, Kingsbridge

I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie

I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie by Alison Jackson, ill. Judy Schachner (Ages 3-7)

"I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly" gets a funny and crazy holiday twist, as the old lady eats more and more food from the Thanksgiving table.

Andrea Lipinski, Kingsbridge

Billy Twitters and His Blue Whale Problem

Billy Twitters and His Blue Whale Problem by Mac Barnett, ill. Adam Rex (Ages 3-7)

To teach him responsibility Billy Twitters' parents get him a blue whale. Now Billy has to take care of his whale which is hard work.

Clarissa Cooke, 96th Street

Me Want Pet!

Me Want Pet! by Tammi Sauer, ill. Bob Shea (Ages 3-8)

An hilarious picture book about a Cave Boy who wants a pet, but his family is not very supportive of the prehistoric animals he brings home. Be sure to read it out loud!

David Nochimson, Pelham Parkway-Van Nest

Let's Sing a Lullaby with the Brave Cowboy

Let's Sing a Lullaby with the Brave Cowboy by Jan Thomas (or really anything by Jan Thomas!) (Ages 3-8)

I love to sing the lullaby parts of this story about a not-so-brave cowboy who's trying to help his cows go to sleep.

Susan Tucker Heimbach, Mulberry Street

The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales

The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales  by Jon Scieszka (Ages 4-7)

Madcap revisions of 10 familiar fairy tales.

Ronnie Krasnow, Morningside Heights

Math Curse

Math Curse by Jon Scieszka (Ages 4-7)

When the teacher tells her class that they can think of almost everything as a math problem, one student acquires a math anxiety which becomes a real curse.

Ronnie Krasnow, Morningside Heights

Big Bunny

Big Bunny by Rowboat Watkins (Ages 4-7)

A parent tells a scary story of a giant bunny to a child, who is not scared. The story includes funny scenarios like penguins driving trucks of vegetables and ends in a laugh out loud reveal of who the narrators are-lettuce!

Chelsea Arnold, Hunts Point

Tacky the Penguin

Tacky the Penguinby Helen Lester, ill. Lynn Munsinger (Ages 4-7)

I enjoy all the titles in this series.

Beverly McLay, Morningside Heights

Mother Bruce

Mother Bruceby Ryan Higgins (Ages 4-7)

Bruce is a grumpy bear who likes no one and nothing but cooked eggs, but when some eggs he was planning to boil hatch and the goslings believe he is their mother, he must try to make the best of the situation.

Rachael Wettenstein, Grand Concourse

Dear Mrs. Larue

Dear Mrs.Larue: Letters From Obedience School by Mark Teague (Ages 4-8)

A fun picture book told from the perspective of a naughty dog sent to obedience school who writes letters to his owner pleading to come home. Kids will love hearing Ike's pleas to get out of school and hearing him claim his innocence.

Tiffany James, School Outreach

Is That Wise Pig?

Is That Wise Pig?by Jan Thomas (Ages 4-8)

Cooking with unconventional ingredients is always a fun premise, and Thomas is a master at coupling classic comedy with vibrant cartoon illustrations.

Jessica Agudelo, St. Agnes


Robo-Sauce by Adam Rubin, ill. Daniel Salmieri (Ages 4-8)

A special sauce turns a boy into a robot, and he then transforms everyone and everything into robots, including the book! Robo-domination is near.

Rachael Wettenstein, Grand Concourse

King Baby

King Babyby Kate Beaton (Ages 4-8)

A "king" baby arrives and his parents are at his beck and call for demands like feeding and burping. Both children and adults will find the baby's demands and knowledge of his own importance funny.

Chelsea Arnold, Hunts Point

Goodnight Already!

Goodnight Already! by Jory John, ill. Benji Davies (Ages 4-8)

Poor bear is trying to get some sleep but his neighbor Duck keeps trying to come over-even climbing outside of his window. Bear's grumpy responses and Duck's constant questions create a funny story complete with a cute ending where now Bear is wide awake and Duck is sleepy.

Chelsea Arnold, Hunts Point

Interrupting Chicken

Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein (Ages 4-8)

Little Red Chicken keeps interrupting his bedtime tales as each stories begins.

Kim Barrett, Yorkville

Amelia Bedelia

Amelia Bedelia series by Peggy Parish (Ages 4-8)

She's always misunderstanding / misinterpreting something.

Helen Broady, Harry Belafonte 115th Street

The Retired Kid

The Retired Kid by Jon Agee (Ages 4-8)

Exhausted by his hectic life, eight-year-old Brian moves to the Happy Sunset Retirement home in Florida.

Lynn Lobash, Readers Services

Bark George

Bark George by Jules Feiffer (Ages 4-8)

George's mother can't get him to bark so she takes him to the doctor. ​What follows is a kind of broad physical comedy that many children love.

Lynn Lobash, Readers Services

Charlie and Lola

Charlie and Lola series by Lauren Child (Ages 4-8)

One of my all time favorite character duos. This brother and sister team are sweet and funny and the art is a knockout with gorgeous textile patterns mixed with line drawn characters.

Lynn Lobash, Readers Services

Brief Thief

Brief Thief by Michaël Escoffier, ill. Kris Di Giacomo (Ages 4-8)

Leon the lizard discovers that all the toilet paper is gone, so he makes use of a pair of underwear that is just hanging there in the tree where he is. The underwear has holes in it surely no one could want it?

Clarissa Cooke, 96th Street

The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors

The Legend of Rock, Paper, Scissors by Drew Daywalt, ill. Adam Rex  (Ages 4-8)

This book was such a homerun when we were promoting Summer Reading last year.  It hilariously details the origins of the game, Rock, Paper, Scissors... Choice lines include, "You, sir, look like a fuzzy little butt" and "Ahhhh! Foul wizard! He's blotted out the sun! Run for your lives, laddies!"

Susan Tucker Heimbach, Mulberry Street

My Lucky Day

My Lucky Dayby Keiko Kasza (Ages 4-8)

A clever pig tricks a big bad wolf into giving him a bubble bath, feeding him a gourmet meal, and even massaging him.

Susan Tucker Heimbach, Mulberry Street

Little Rooster's Diamond Button

Little Rooster's Diamond Button by Margaret Read MacDonald, ill. Will Terry (Ages 4-8)

Who can resist a story with a magic rooster and a mean king who winds up with a pants full of bees?

Susan Tucker Heimbach, Mulberry Street

Someone Farted

Someone Farted by Eric Bruce Kaplan (Ages 4-8)

Whoever smelt it dealt it, right?  The answer is not as obvious as it seems.  You may want to roll down the windows for this car ride.

Jenny Rosenoff, 42nd Street Children’s Center

A Pig Parade is a Terrible Idea

A Pig Parade is a Terrible Idea by Michael Ian Black, ill. Kevin Hawkes (Ages 4-8)

Find out why.  Kevin Hawkes' illustrations add to the comedy and make this one of my favorite read-alouds.

Jenny Rosenoff, 42nd Street Children’s Center

Once I Ate a Pie

Once I Ate a Pie by Patricia MacLachlan & Emily MacLachlan Charest, ill. Katy Schneider (Ages 4-8)

You just need to see the guilty little pug face on the cover of this book to know you're in for some silly puppy poems.

Jenny Rosenoff, 42nd Street Children’s Center

This is Not My Hat

This is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen (4-8)

A small fish steals a big fish's hat and is sure he'll get away with it. The expressions on the character's faces as well as the ridiculousness of fish wearing hats underwater creates a humorous story.

Chelsea Arnold, Hunts Point

We Found a Hat

We Found a Hat by Jon Klassen (Ages 4-8)

Klassen's deadpan game is SO strong and kids love being in on the joke.

Lynn Lobash, Readers Services

Elephant and Piggie

Elephant & Piggie series  by Mo Willems (Ages 4-8)

Silly (and sometimes educational) stories between two bffs, Gerald (the elephant) and Piggie (the pig), and takes readers on the very funny and fantastic adventures that happen to these two friends.

Katrina Ortega, Hamilton Grange


Have You Seen Elephant?

Have You Seen Elephant? by David Barrow (Ages 5-6)

An elephant plays hide and seek with a little boy and claims to be a great hider. Even as elephant hides behind small objects and is clearly visible the boy cannot seem to see the huge animal.

Chelsea Arnold, Hunts Point

Dog Breath

Dog Breath: The Horrible Terrible Trouble With Hally Tosisby Dav Pilkey (Ages 5-8)

An hilarious tale of a dog named Hally Tosis whose breath is so bad her family has to figure out creative and funny ways to live with her and her bad breath. This one is laugh out loud funny.

Tiffany James, School Outreach


It’s Only Stanley

It’s Only Stanley by Jon Agee (Ages 5-8)

A family is repeatedly woken up during the night, but it’s only Stanley, the dog, doing more and more bizarre things. Guaranteed giggles!

Kate Fais, Bloomingdale

The Book With No Pictures

The Book With No Pictures by B.J Novak (Ages 5-8)

Metafiction for the elementary school set. This reader plays the straight man and it if you read it well everyone will laugh at you.

Lynn Lobash, Readers Services

Battle Bunny

Battle Bunny by Jon Scieszka & Mac Barnett, ill. Matthew Myers (Ages 5-9)

Battle Bunny appears to be a book called Birthday Bunny that has had words crossed out and replaced with funny alternatives. Battle bunny eats brains not carrots.

Clarissa Cooke, 96th Street

The True Story of the Three Little Pigs

The True Story of the Three Little Pigsby Jon Scieszka, ill. Lane Smith (Ages 5-9)

An uproarious riff on the classic fairy tale where the Three Little Pigs are brutish and rude neighbors and the poor wolf, who has a terrible cold, keeps accidentally sneezing houses down while going around the neighborhood asking for a simple cup of sugar.

Katrina Ortega, Hamilton Grange

The Dog Who Sailed the Seas

Captain Pug: The Dog Who Sailed the Seasby Laura James, ill. Eglantine Ceulemans (Ages 6-9)

Maybe I'm just a fool for puppy humor, but this young reader about a cream puff eating pug really tickled my funny bone.

Jenny Rosenoff, 42nd Street Children’s Center

Captain Pug

Frankenstein Makes a Sandwichby Adam Rex (Ages 6-9)

Do you think Frankenstein's monster is scary? What if he's just making a sandwich? Do you think the Phantom of the Opera is scary? Is he still scary if he can't get the song "It's a Small World" out of his head?

Andrea Lipinski, Kingsbridge

The Yark

The Yark by Bertrand Santini, ill. Laurent Gapaillard (Ages 6-10)

The Yark loves children . . . with the love of a gourmand! This hairy monster dreams of child buffets—ham of boy, orphan gratin, breaded babies, girl rillettes. But he has a problem: his delicate stomach can only tolerate nice children; liars give him heartburn and savages spoil his teeth. There are not nearly enough good, edible children around to keep him from starvation.  

Rachael Wettenstein, Grand Concourse

Time Warp Trio

Time Warp Trioseries by Jon Scieszka, ill. Lane Smith (Ages 7-9)

Three boys open a magic book which transports them in time and space, leading to impossible adventures in medieval times, ancient Egypt, prehistory, and even the future!

Andrea Lipinski, Kingsbridge

The Bad Guys

The Bad Guys by Aaron Blabey (Ages 7-10)

A fun young reader told by 4 bad guys- a wolf, a snake, a piranha, and a shark who try to find a way to change their reputation and go from bad guys to good guys. Kids will laugh out loud as this group struggles to do good and work together as a team.

Tiffany James, School Outreach


Arabel's Raven

Arabel's Ravenby Joan Aiken, Ill. Quentin Blake (Ages 7-10)

Mortimer is Arabel's pet raven. Somehow mayhem follows Mortimer wherever he goes, burglars, escaped snakes, and more.

Clarissa Cooke, 96th Street


The Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle

The Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle series by Betty Bard MacDonald (Ages 8-12)

The absurdity of solutions and situations always made me giggle as a child. I still have the copies my mother read to me, and they still make me laugh.

Rachael Berkey, Communications


The vicar of Nibbleswicke

The Vicar of Nibbleswicke by Roald Dahl, ill. Quentin Blake (Ages 8-12)

A newly appointed vicar suffers from Back-to-Front Dyslexia, a fictional type of dyslexia which causes him to unwittingly utter the most important word in a sentence backwards. Outrageous hilarity ensues.

Gregory Stall, Grand Central


The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson (Ages 8-12)

As a kid, I can remember laughing uproariously until my stomach hurt at the antics of the Herdman children. The horrible Herdmans come to church for the free snacks and end up in the Christmas pageant much to everyone's shock and chagrin. Oof the Herdman kids are soooo bad! But even they learn the true spirit of Christmas. Forty years later, the laughs are still there.

Anne Rouyer, Mulberry Street

Timmy Failure

Timmy Failure series by Stephan Pastis (Ages 8-12)

Stephan Pastis uses the same humor you'll find in his Pearls Before Swine comic strip to tell the story of a boy detective, his polar bear sidekick, and their crazy adventures.

Andrea Lipinski, Kingsbridge

The Twits

The Twits  and Matilda by Roald Dahl, ill. Quentin Blake (Ages 8-12)

Evil adults doing nasty pranks and hijinx?  It is so gratifying when they get a taste of their own medicine.

Leslie Bernstein, Mott Haven

Sideways Stories from Wayside School

Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar & Julie Brinckloe (Ages 8-12)

This collection of fun and zany stories about the strange happenings at Wayside School will have kids laughing out loud!

Follow it up with the sequels Wayside School Is Falling Down and Wayside School Gets a Little Stranger.

Crystal Chen, Woodstock

How to Eat Fried Worms

How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell (8-12)

Billy has to eat 15 worms in 15 days or lose a bet.

Clarissa Cooke, 96th Street

Fortunately the Milk

Fortunately the Milk by Neil Gaiman, ill. Skottie Young (Ages 8-12)

A wacky British story about time travel, aliens, and breakfast cerea.. When this book was first released Neil Gaiman did public readings of it to adults that were smash hits.

Clarissa Cooke, 96th Street

Dogs Don't Tell Jokes

Dogs Don't Tell Jokes by Louis Sachar (Ages 8-12)

One of the funniest books I’ve ever read.  I still tell the "Rude Officer Ed" joke to my friends, which I first read as a middle schooler, to their constant chagrin. Really, anything by Louis Sachar is a guaranteed laugh riot.

Elizabeth Baldwin, Mid-Manhattan

The Wee Free Men

The Wee Free Menby Terry Pratchett (Ages 9-12)

Young Tiffany Aching must defend her home against the Queen of the Elves and her sinister minions, with the help of the Feegle, sword wielding sheep stealing blue men who are six inches tall.

Clarissa Cooke, 96th Street


No More Dead Dogs

No More Dead Dogs  by Gordon Korman (Ages 9-12)

Hilarious story about a boy who's given detention and winds up totally changing the class play for the better.

Beverly McLay, Morningside Heights

Better Nate Than Ever

Better Nate Than Ever by Tim Federle (Ages 9-13)

Tag along with 13-year-old Nate Foster as he chases his Broadway dreams via bus from western Pennsylvania to New York City, armed with little more than a stash of donuts, a lucky rabbit's foot, a bit of hope mingled with desperation, and a lot of humor. If this book leaves them wanting more, then Five, six, seven, Nate! will satisfy their desire for a sequel.

Jennifer Brinley, Westchester Square


Have trouble reading standard print? Many of these titles are available in formats for patrons with print disabilities.

Staff picks are chosen by NYPL staff members and are not intended to be comprehensive lists. We'd love to hear your ideas too, so leave a comment and tell us what you’d recommend. And check out our Staff Picks browse tool for more recommendations!