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10 Funniest Picture Books To Read Out Loud For World Read Aloud Day

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Get thee to a library, or local bookstore, or (if you must) Amazon: World Read Aloud Day is here again! Celebrated annually on February 5, it's a great excuse to get cozy with your little one and a stack of stories (not that you needed an excuse, of course). That's when this list of the funniest children's books to read out loud will come in handy.

For those unfamiliar, World Read Aloud Day was founded by the literacy organization Litworld, and is sponsored by Scholastic books. The idea is to shine a light on the importance of sharing stories and, obviously, reading aloud. This year marks the 10th anniversary of this global movement, which is celebrated in more than a hundred countries around the world.

There are of course loads of reasons to read aloud to your kids. We know there are clear cognitive benefits, and in fact, the landmark 1985 study "Becoming a Nation of Readers" found that reading aloud is truly one of the absolute best things we can do as parents. The study called it “the single most important activity for building knowledge for their eventual success in reading is reading aloud to children.”

And let's not forget the benefits to parents... I mean really, is there anything more delightful and cozy than curling up with a little one and listening to them giggle through Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus?

1. 'Wordy Birdy' by Tammi Sauer & Dave Mottram (Illustrator)

This charming story of a ditzy, chatterbox bird is perfect for reading aloud, as the character's nonsensical ramblings are bizarre and hilarious. "I don't like tall grass or turtlenecks or tuna salad or losing my balloon... " the cheerful bird squawks. Actually, the rando chit chat might just remind you of someone... specifically the little chatterbox sitting in your lap.

2. 'Don't Push the Button' by Bill Cotter

Larry the purple monster has but one simple request: please don't push the button. Of course, asking a child not to push a specific button is an exercise in futility, and your kid's tiny finger will immediately commence pressing away. Children will love seeing what happens to 'ol Larry every time they push the big red button.

3. 'Nanette's Baguette' by Mo Willems

This is hands down one of my fave Mo Willems titles. It follows a little French girl/creature as she takes her very first solo trip to the bakery to purchase a baguette. Of course, the tasty loaf proves too tempting, and she ends up scarfing the whole thing before she gets home. This book has lots of funny sound effects, and the surprise twist at the end will likely shock and delight little readers.

4. 'Rhyme Crime' by Jon Burgerman

A head turns into bread... a cake is mistaken for a snake... This bright, colorful read is full of loads of goofball rhymes, as well as amusing illustrations of oddball creatures. This is a good one for kids who appreciate the absurd and surreal. By which I mean all kids.

5. 'The Book with No Pictures' by B.J. Novak

While it might seem like a book without pictures would be a snooze for littles, the writer and comedian B.J. Novak totally brings the laughs with this super fun read. It turns the reader into an instant comedian, and features lines like: "My head is made of blueberry pizza." Which, I mean, for 5 year-olds is essentially on par with the likes of Dave Chapelle and Sarah Silverman.

6. 'Frog on a Log' by Kes Gray & Jim Field (Illustrator)

Hares on chairs, mules on stools, and gophers on sofas... this is a simple, silly book about a frog searching for the appropriate place to sit. It gets progressively goofier the further along you get, and is the kind of story little ones will encourage you to read faster and faster.

7. 'Rhyming Dust Bunnies' by Jan Thomas

A totally cute tale of three little dust bunnies who love to rhyme, and one little dust bunny who keeps ruining their rhyme schemes by trying to warn them of the great dangers that lie ahead (i.e. vacuum cleaners and brooms).

8. 'Ssh! We Have a Plan' by Chris Haughton

Similar to the rhyming dust bunnies, this story follows four buddies as they creep through the woods trying to capture a beautiful bird. Three of the friends opt for more aggressive measures, ignoring the gentle suggestions of the fourth friend. (Who of course, is right in the end.) With bright, vivid illustrations, this one is pleasing to both the eyes and ears.

9. 'Pig the Pug' by Aaron Blabey

This tale of Pig (a selfish pug dog) is both adorable and funny, and offers a relatable lesson about the importance of sharing. If the text of this one doesn't make kids laugh, then the illustrations of Pig's big 'ol anxious face and bugged out eyes most certainly will.

10. 'Be Quiet!' by Ryan T. Higgins

Rupert is a mouse with a very simple dream. He wants to be in a picture book that doesn't contain any words. Unfortunately for Rupert, his friends didn't get the memo. They keep ruining things with their non-stop chatter, forcing Rupert to keep shouting for them to please be quiet! Lots here for kiddos to chuckle over, as children of course are huge fans of making noise after someone has just requested silence.

Studies referenced:

Richard C. Anderson, 1985, "Becoming a Nation of Readers: The Report of the Commission on Reading," The National Academy of Education, https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED253865