No Joke: Strange but Real Books We Love

By Amie Wright, MyLibraryNYC
March 31, 2014

In honor of April Fools' Day, we wanted to honor our favorite titles that seem like jokes—but aren't.

Some have titles that reflect their wacky and wonderful nature; others mask their eccentricity with innocuous titles that belie their singular outlandish interiors.

We love these quirky gems—and not just for April Fools' Day.

Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventure
Newbury award winning tale of a girl and her squirrel—who gains super squirrel powers after being sucked up by a vacuum.

Everyone Poops
Yep, everyone does and this picture book shows you exactly that.

The Hoboken Chicken Emergency
A 266 pound misunderstood chicken terrorizes Hoboken, NJ. Choosing love, the townsfolk placate this feathered Godzilla with a 'love Henrietta' campaign including banners flown by the goodyear blimp with the message, 'chickens need your love.'

Mannekin Pis: A Simple Story of a Boy Who Peed on a War
The title says it all. In the midst of war, one boy had an urgent need—a need so great that he peed on—and stopped—the war.

Arlene Sardine
Many classrooms read titles about the cycles of life; this is a shade darker than normal. In this title, we follow the adventures of Arlene, a young fish—her hopes, her dreams—and the process of her being caught, chopped, and preserved into a sardine can.

A new picture book with the simple message that we have all different talents. In this case, Henny the chicken discovers how having arms (yes, you heard that right—she is a chicken with HUMAN arms) has its benefits and makes her special.

[The title doesn't give it away]. Teenager Eva suffers a horrible accident that damages her body beyond repair. Trying a new, never before attempted procedure, scientists transplant her brain—into the body of chimpanzee.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
Elizabeth Bennett—avid reader, master wordsmith, and notable... ninja? Yep, zombie slaying ninja.

Going Bovine
The title is a big clue... sixteen year old Cameron Smith—already a disaffected teenager—is further impacted by his diagnosis of Creutzfeldt-Jakob's (aka mad cow) disease. What follows is either Cameron's descent into madness—or the coolest Don Quixonte inspired road trip ever.

Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer
No vampire hunting stakes needed—he impales them with his wooden nose.

Want more odd titles?

Check out NYPL librarian Jill Rothstein's blog post, "In Praise of Odd Children's Books" for further suggestions, or place a hold on five other titles we love that didn't make this list: