9 Irreverent Picture Books For Adults That Are Painfully Relatable
Pressures of the adult world getting to you? Pretty much every book offers the reader a brief respite from the demands of their everyday life, but irreverent picture books for grownups go the extra mile, packaging a lot of inappropriate fun into a few short pages. I've put together a list of nine picture books for grownups you should check out below, so keep reading.
Now, there's a big difference between children's books that adults can enjoy and those made especially for the 18-and-older crowd. We can all agree that Oh, the Places You'll Go! and The Giving Tree have important lessons for people of any age, after all. But grownups take joy in reading titles like A Child's First Book of Trump for . . . different reasons.
The books on this list are all part of that latter category, although the argument could be made that some of them would be appropriate for children to read. One or two are originally intended for kids, but will be more relatable to adults who are overworked, underpaid, or just generally stressed out.
Check out the irreverent picture books for grownups I've picked out for you below:
'Are You My Boyfriend?' by C.B. Bryza and Simon Greiner
This parody of P.D. Eastman's Are You My Mother? will resonate with anyone who has found themself stuck in the modern dating game.
'All My Friends Are Dead' by Avery Monsen and Jory John
After opening with the last dinosaur uttering its depressing title, this irreverent picture book gets a little further away from its original premise with each turn of the page, but remains fun throughout.
'Leave Me Alone!' by Vera Brosgol
All the old woman at the heart of this picture book wants is a little bit of peace and quiet time to herself. But the lengths she must go in order to find solitude, and what she discovers once she gets there, are what make this picture book a worthwhile read for adults.
'Do You Want to Play with My Balls?' by The Cifaldi Brothers and Santiago Elizalde
To answer your question, no, this book was never intended for children. Although there's nothing inherently inappropriate in Do You Want to Play with My Balls? the heavy dose of double entendre will have adult readers rolling in the bookstore aisles.
'What Are We Even Doing with Our Lives?' by Chelsea Marshall and Mary Dauterman
This take on The Busy World of Richard Scarry is perfect for adult readers who have fond memories of Lowly Worm, Huckle Cat, and their friends.
'The Gashlycrumb Tinies' by Edward Gorey
An alphabet book with a grisly twist, The Gashlycrumb Tinies works its way from A to Z using the terrible fates met by 26 children. From "A is for Amy who fell down the stairs" to "Z is for Zillah who drank too much gin," this morbid take on the English alphabet will please you right down to your emo roots.
'The Beach at Night' by Elena Ferrante and Mara Cerri
A tie-in to Elena Ferrante's The Story of the Lost Child, The Beach at Night follows a doll named Celina who is separated from her owner after a day at the shore goes awry. Although this one has technically been marketed toward children, it's more than a little dark — in case Celina's glassy-eyed stare didn't clue you in.
'It's Never Too Late' by Dallas Clayton
Drawing comparisons to Dr. Seuss, Dallas Clayton's It's Never Too Late is the perfect book for someone who's hit their quarter-life crisis and worries that opportunity may be passing them by.
'Where the Wild Mums Are' by Katie Blackburn and Sholto Walker
All dressed up and nowhere to go? Not if you're one of the eponymous Wild Mums from this picture book for grownups. Tired of being unappreciated by children and partners, these moms stomp out of their real lives and into a better place where there's nothing to do but enjoy themselves.