Beware Books

dark humor books for kids

I am normally very protective of my kids. I am careful to not expose them to emotionally challenging topics especially if and when they are not prepared to handle them but as they get a little older, under the right circumstances, when we’ve read one too many feel good, predicable, happen ending stories something a little oddball can really shake things up at story time in a fun way!

Books to develop your child’s dark sense of humor…

Originally published in 1964 FORTUNATELY by Remy Charlip is a good one to start with. For every unfortunately there is a fortunately and fortunately it ends on a fortunately. But be warned. Some pretty perilous situations arise in this book!

Next is the Caldecott winner THIS IS NOT MY HAT by Jon Klassen. It is a cautionary tale about taking something that is not yours and getting caught. It is successful because it is not obvious in anyway. Love the illustrations too.

Then there’s TADPOLE’S PROMISE by Jeanne Willis, illustrated by Tony Ross that reminds us nature is not always about happy endings. It is a nice little story about friendship until promises are broken. I will say no more.

Next is WHATEVER by William Bee. My kids get such a kick out of this book! They love to call out “whatever” spoken by difficult to please Billy. What do you think his dad says at the end when Billy gets eaten by a tiger?! Read it, okay?!

And finally THE GASHLYCRUMB TINIES by Edward Gorey. Actually anything by Edward Gorey is fantastically funny, dark, and wonderful but this is a good one to start with. It is in the tradition of old timey cautionary tales for kids. Yes, your kids need to be a little older for this one for fear of turning them into goths prematurely. On second thought maybe you should save this one for yourself! It is an alphabet book too.

One of these days I will share a visit to his home which has been made into a museum. He lived in the same town as me! 

Please share your favorites offbeat books!


I'm a practical mom inspired by nature & I enjoy sharing ideas that encourage kids' innate curiosity & creativity. Interested in subscribing? Check out the blue box at the top of my sidebar. I'm also a wannabe author/illustrator & product designer by day. Let's connect! If you purchase through my Amazon links I get a small commission at no additional cost to you (thanks for supporting Doodles and Jots)! And remember to always credit your source here & elsewhere on the internet.


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