Rundown of the Weirdest Classic Picture Books


Let’s face it, there are some weird picture books out there for kids. Classic picture books are mostly worth collecting, reading and savoring with your children, but there are a few lemons out there. Read on for my list of the weirdest ones, and apologies in advance if I ruin any of your favorites!

classic picture booksThe Cat in the Hat

Dr. Suess is wonderful and we love him in our house. This book however? Bizarre. Let me set the stage for you: young children are home alone with no one but their fish as counsel. Talking cat knocks on door and lets himself into the house against the good advice of the fish guardian. Same cat causes all sorts of trouble and creates mess in house devoid of two-legged, non-feline adults. While cat does eventually clean up the mayhem and leave, the book ends with an ominous question, “would you tell your mom that you had a strange visitor in your house?” That’s just weird, right? 

The Original Curious George

Oh my goodness, I just cannot with this book. We adore the PBS show and enjoy many of the books based on H.A. Rey’s original text, but the original? Skip it. If you want to hear how the Man with the Yellow Hat kidnaps a scared monkey from Africa, lets him smoke a pipe on the boat ride to the U.S. and then dumps him in a zoo, read on. There’s also a whole debacle with the fire department where George ends up in jail. I much prefer the 2006 animated movie’s take on George’s origin story rather than this one. This classic reads more like a section from our country’s history book–and not history about which we should feel any pride or nostalgia. Trust me, skip it. 

Goodnight Moon

There’s really nothing majorly wrong with this book, I just had to mention it because of this amazing blog about its wretched color scheme and quirks we willingly ignore as readers. I’m officially writing to this blogger in hopes that she become my best friend and we can make fun of weird children’s books together. It’s truly a fantastic pastime. 

classic picture booksAlexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

My mother-in-law has this book at her house and I read it to my four-year-old for the first time this past Christmas. That Alexander is one whiny kid. I kept waiting for the day to turn around for poor Alex but it never does. He learns no lesson about complaining. Hears no grief from his parents about his bad attitude. He finds nothing for which to be grateful. Indeed, Australia is looking pretty good to me Alexander, but only if I get to go without you. #sorrynotsorry #alltheeyerollemojis 

The Giving Tree

I love and hate this book. The tree gives and gives and gives like a freaking mother, doesn’t she? And gets no appreciation, no payback and ends up a stump. There should be a sequel called, “The Giving Tree Gets a Spa Vacation as Payback for Her Selflessness”. Now THAT’S a book I can get behind. 

There’s A Nightmare In My Closet

If you’d like your bedtime routine to last longer, read this book. If you have toddlers, I’m certain you want to lengthen your nighttime routine, right? Bedtime is so very easy, why not add a story about a monster living in a child’s closet into the mix. Sounds perfect! 

weirdest picture booksLove You Forever

Wives with overbearing mothers-in-law, this book is your nightmare come true. Talk about scaring the living daylights out of you before bedtime! Can you think of anything more terrifying than your mother-in-law sneaking into your bedroom in the middle of the night to cradle your spouse? Bolt your doors, ladies. Bolt your doors. I don’t care if he’s always going to be your baby, just get out of my bedroom at 2 a.m. 

In the Night Kitchen

My librarian friend told me about this super trippy book by Maurice Sendak, author of Where the Wild Things Are. The protagonist, a boy of about three, falls nude into cake batter in a dream sequence. Three bakers, with Hitler-esque mustaches, mix the batter and throw it in the oven to bake. While Mickey escapes and goes flying in a plane made of bread and eventually wakes, I can’t get over the eeriness. This book was initially controversial because Mickey is nude for much of it, but that was the least weird part about it. Watch the video version of the story below.

What are the weirdest picture books you’ve come across?

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Allison’s mission in life is to notice the extraordinary in the ordinary. Her commitment to see beyond what’s in front of her was fostered by her degree in Philosophy and Theology from Boston College. Allison’s a book nerd and credits her parents and inspiring English teachers for her love of reading and writing. She went on to earn her Master in Pastoral Ministry from Boston College and then taught high school for several years, both in New England and San Francisco. After moving from San Francisco to Boston with her engineer husband, she began teaching yoga and working as a social media marketing consultant. Now a Portsmouth resident, she spends most of her days with her three daughters (she does not have enough arms) and does her best to find the bliss amidst the endless snacking, dance parties and tiaras. With all the beautiful chaos in her life, she’s grateful to have her partner-in-crime (husband Charlie) and fellow movie quote enthusiast alongside her. Her passion for writing first drew her to Seacoast Moms as a contributing writer, and her desire to connect moms of the Seacoast with businesses who serve and interest them led her to become SM’s owner. Being able to write about the ordinary grace present in motherhood, while interacting with incredible Seacoast business owners is a dream come true.


  1. I clicked on this post to see if Giving Trer and Love You Forevet would be on your list. Both are so psychologically problematic! Glad I am not the only one who thinks so.

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