Sometimes, children's books can be really weird. You probably read some bizarre literature as a kid, but you didn’t question it, because at the time you figured it was normal. And then as the years went by, the books — and, specifically, their very strange covers — became so familiar, that you became completely desensitized to their oddness. Or the fact that the cover had nothing to do with the actual plot.
But then one day you find a shelf of books you loved when you were younger. Nostalgia hits, and you start flipping through a few of the books. You can’t help cracking up at stories you once considered perfectly normal. And then you look at the covers, and realize just how bizarre these books really were.
Of course, the strangeness of some children’s book covers can’t diminish your love for what’s inside. After all, even at a young age you knew the old adage: “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” A lot of times, authors don’t even have much control over what’s pictured there, and hey — if it’s weird, it’s attention-grabbing, right? Something made you select that book and beg your parents to buy it for you. Maybe the bizarre cover is partly responsible for your love of reading today. So in celebration of weird children’s book covers, here are some of the strangest.
1. Everyone Poops By Taro Gomi
This is the classic kids' book you loved to laugh at as a child. The cover, though, is a bit misleading: a kid poops, a horse poops, a duck poops, and... an apple poops? Obviously, the point is that food will go through your digestive system, but it's still a "what doesn't belong" situation going on with this cover.
2. The Berenstain Bears' Trouble With Money By Stan & Jan Berenstain
At first glance, this cover doesn't seem too crazy. Brother and Sister Bear want to smash their piggy bank and get some cash, right? But WHY IS THE PIGGY BANK SENTIENT??? It's staring at their (overwhelmingly evil) faces with the saddest, most scared look, and suddenly I feel terrified for the poor pig's LIFE.
3. Cooking With Pooh By Mouse Works
An unfortunate title combined with Pooh stirring something containing chocolate chips equals an awful cover. One Amazon review called this is a cookbook for those with "an acquired taste."
4. Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark By Alvin Schwartz
This cover is probably intentionally disturbing to as to scare off kids like me who can't handle the creepy contents.
5. Chicken Chicken By R.L. Stine
Most Goosebumps covers are creepy, but this one is just plain bizarre. It's made even better by the tagline: "It's a finger lickin' nightmare!"
6. And The Dish Ran Away With The Spoon By Janet Stevens And Susan Stevens Crummel
The dish and the spoon are up to something, judging by the outrageously mischievous looks on their faces...
7. The Long Journey Of Mister Poop By Angèle Delaunois
Yet another #2 graces the cover of a children's book.
8. The Gingerbread Boy By Paul Galdone
I'm sure the Gingerbread Boy just wants to frolic in the field, but his menacing smile gives a creepy vibe to the otherwise cheery children's story.
9. The Twits By Roald Dahl
What child wouldn't want to read this as a lovely bedtime story?
10. The Boxcar Children By Gertrude Chandler Warner
I owned the copy of this book that had children happily playing in a boxcar. This foreboding alternate cover might have scared me off from reading the series as a child. It definitely adds a sense of urgency to a story that's a lot lighter than this cover leads you to believe.
11. Sideways Stories From Wayside School By Louis Sachar
This isn't a misleading cover, because the book itself is delightfully bizarre. One look at Mrs. Gorf on the cover will hint at the strange stories within.
12. Bunnicula By Deborah And James Howe
Was anyone else extremely afraid of this book cover as a kid? Maybe I was just a jumpy child, but the idea of a vampiric rabbit might be what made me ask for a dog instead of a pet bunny.
13. Jennifer Murdley's Toad By Bruce Coville
Speaking of pets, how about this cover for Bruce Coville's Jennifer Murdley's Toad? I don't think I've ever seen a sassier amphibian. As a kid, I owned a different copy of this book, but now I'm kind of sad I never had Sassy Toad version.
14. Animorphs By K.A. Applegate
The winner for strangest children's book cover goes to the Animorphs series. It's not the person on the cover or the animal that warrants the prize, it's the stages in between. I actually remember walking past these books in the store and covering my eyes because I was so disturbed. #TrueStory