One of the unexpected side effects of becoming a parent was that I ended up with 13,423 copies of Goodnight Moon and Guess How Much I Love You. If this also happened to you, all the saccharine sweetness may eventually make you loathe to pick up children’s books. To remedy this, I recommend this handful of slightly dark and edgy children’s books that are probably (some definitely) more appropriate for grown ups.
I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen
This is a book about street justice. The main character is an expressionless and polite bear that has lost his hat. He questions other animals in the forest, all who deny having seen his hat. The bear then realizes that the rabbit he questioned a few pages back (who was pictured wearing the headgear in question) STOLE his hat. The bear hunts the rabbit down. On the next page, the plants show signs of a scuffle, the rabbit is gone, the bear denies that he eats rabbits and tells you to stop asking him questions. While most parents I’ve talked to don’t actually like the moral of the story and won’t read it to their kids, it’s hilarious and the polite bear is pretty badass.
It’s A Book by Lane Smith
Go the F*ck to Sleep by Adam Mansbach
I’m thirsty. I want a hug. I’m hungry. I heard a noise. I’m thirsty again. I have to potty. I *insert excuse because I don’t want to go to sleep.* Parents of small children (or anyone who babysits) will be familiar with the agonizing and infuriating things kids say when they don’t want to go to bed. Mansbach’s parody of Goodnight Moon features sweet rhymes and super cute drawings, juxtaposed with lines like, “I know you’re not thirsty, that’s bullshit. Stop lying. Lie the f*ck down, my darling, and sleep.” The best way to experience this book is Samuel L. Jackson’s audio version. It is perfection.
The Princess and the Pig by Jonathan Emmett
What are your favorite kid’s books? Do you have any reserved for grown-ups only?