Fall is here and I’m so excited to share all the strange, bizarre, and creepy picture books I’ve found with you.
You might recognize some of these, but others will probably be new to you.
A couple of years ago, I discovered a small publishing company that specializes in weird and creepy picture books called One Peace Books. They publish some Japanese titles in the US and they also publish some original work, too. I’ve read quite a few of their original picture books and let me tell you, they are WEIRD. In a good way. We all need a little weird in our lives, right?
Anyway, several of the books on this list are from that publisher. I’ve been wanting to do a roundup of all the fun and strange books I’ve found and fall seemed like the perfect time to do it.
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Strange, Bizarre, and Creepy Picture Books That are Totally Awesome
Creepy, strange, and outrageously odd, this book will either terrify you or delight you (or maybe both). It’s about a little girl who accepts a dare to go into a haunted house and risk being turned into a stump forever.
I love this book because it’s so frightfully strange. It’s a creepy story and (spoiler alert) it doesn’t have a happy ending.
This is not a cute Halloween book you find in libraries and bookstores. With both feet in the “scare-the-pants-off-you” camp, it’s unlikely that you’ll have neutral feelings about this book. You’ll either love the gorgeous artwork and bizarre story or you’ll shudder and hide the book under your mattress so your kids can’t find it.
While this book isn’t as strange as some of the others on this list, it’s definitely a resident of camp weird.
Herbie and his parents live on a space station. When it becomes infested with Gobblings (metal eating aliens), Herbie is the only one that can save them.
Strange? Yes. But the illustrations are well-done and the story is pretty interesting (and pretty suspenseful, for a picture book). My oldest daughter really enjoyed reading it and I like the way Herbie takes things into his own hands and saves his family.
This book is big. It’s definitely for older picture book readers in the 6-8 age range. As an 80-page science fiction adventure story, it’s definitely on the bizarre side when it comes to children’s books. But again, the artwork and the story are both amazing if you can look past the oddness of it.
Strongly influenced by comic books and song lyrics (the book was originally written as a song), this story is a unique and interesting fantasy book for kids.
Do you want to read a totally creepy picture book? Here you go. Holy smokes, this book gave me nightmares when I was a kid. I can’t believe my mom actually read it to me (several times!). She totally deserved all those nights that she had to sit up with me because I couldn’t sleep.
Creepiness and nightmares aside, this is actually a really good book. The story has stayed with me all these years. It’s about a girl who escapes from a cannibalistic witch with the help of some objects and kindness repaid.
I believe it’s out of print now, but you can still get a few copies on Amazon.
Yet another totally creepy picture book. This story is for older picture book readers that can handle dark themes and don’t scare easily.
It’s full of legend, mystery, magic, and very creepy cats. The artwork is stunning. There’s no other word for it. And as for the story…well, H.P. Lovecraft isn’t known for creating warm and fuzzy picture books that make you feel toasty inside. Prepare for a spooky tale that will haunt your imagination (and your kids’ dreams) for a long time afterward.
As long as we’re on the topic of creepy cats, we need to talk about Maude The Not-So-Noticeable Shrimpton.
While the rest of her family likes to stand out and be noticed, Maude is quite happy blending into the background.
When she gets a tiger for her birthday, Maude is happy to be overlooked. The tiger gobbles up the rest of her family while Maude passively looks on.
Totally creepy, right? Who just sits there and watches as a tiger eats all the members of your family?
BUT, this book is also brilliant. It’s a cautionary tale, but it’s also a story about introverts, extroverts, and vanity. Plus, the artwork is gorgeous and stylized. A fascinating (and odd) book for shy kids.
Speaking of creepy picture books…
I know you’re probably thinking, WTF is Love You Forever doing on this list? It’s a classic about parental love!
This is a classic about parental love gone too far. Be honest—you were totally creeped out by the mom driving all the way across town, climbing a ladder to her adult son’s window, sneaking inside, and rocking him back and forth while he slumbers.
Regardless, I read this book to all my kids. My dad gave it to me when my first child was born and it makes me cry every time I read it. Yes, it’s creepy. And yes, I love it. Every child should have it on their shelf.
And I’m not alone in my love of this awesome-weird book. It has over 100,000 five-star ratings on Goodreads.
This strange picture book is written in nonsense verse! The illustrations are odd and the story doesn’t make much sense, but that’s half the fun. If you liked the Jabberwocky poem, this should be right up your alley.
It’s about a bunch of kids who have to take back Halloween after their parents cancel trick-or-treating. This book definitely falls into the “creepy picture books” category!
A fun concept told in an unusual way with fun and expressive illustrations.
This almost wordless picture book is a graphic novel at the same time. It’s about a boy learning to overcome his fears and insecurities. I read this with my kids and they really enjoyed the story and the illustrations.
Even though this is a picture book, a lot of story is packed into the pages. You get a good sense for what the boy is like and what his challenges are. I love that this story is about a child dealing with a real-life issue in a fantastical way.
It’s an unusual, interesting, and beautifully illustrated book.
**There are other strange and creepy picture books that I’ve read in the past but are now out of print or unavailable, so I chose not to include them.
What weird and creepy picture books would you add to this list? Let me know in the comments!
Every Kid Needs a Halloween T-Shirt
Not book-related exactly, but since Halloween t-shirts are generally awesome-sauce, I included some of them too. Every kid needs a Halloween shirt or two. Here are a few to help your child celebrate with humor and style.
FYI, all the shirts are available in adult sizes and multiple colors too.
Pictures link to Amazon.
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