The 15 Most Bizarre Illustrations From Children’s Books

Even the most esteemed kid's books of all time can have some really weird moments.

Originally Published: 
Random House

Children’s books teach kids wonderful lessons about life and feature fantastical characters going on incredible adventures. They also can be really fucking weird. Every once in a while, you might be reading your kid a classic book when suddenly an image or line pops up that makes do a double take. Sometimes it’s a random sex joke. Sometimes it’s a horrific picture. Other times it’s Curious George huffing ether. They may have flown over your head as a kid, but as an adult, they might stick with you forever. Here are 15 “what the hell?!” moments hidden in your favorite kid’s books.

15. Curious George Takes a Job

Houghton Miflin

Everyone’s favorite mischievous primate got himself into all sorts of wacky adventures, but things took a strange turn when George stumbled upon a bottle of ether and ends up feeling groooooooooovy.

14. Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs

Simon & Schuster

The tornado is technically made of tomato sauce, but at first glance, this looks like some apocalyptic shit that belongs in one of the Left Behind movies.

13. Moon Man

Roberts Rinehart Publishers

The weirdest thing about this photo is not that the Moon Man has been cut in half while he sits in a jail cell and a rat eats his food. It’s that he looks so happy about it. Be more upset about your circumstances, Moon Man!

12. The Rainbow Goblins

Thames & Hudson

These goblins get to taste the rainbow … while they’re drowning. Move over Bambi’s mom, this is the type of thing that could traumatize a kid for life.

11. Look What I’ve Got

Walker Books

Hitler is alive and apparently, he spends his days chasing pesky kids out of parks.

10. Henry the Green Engine

Egmont Childrens Books

We all know what’s in that special coal. All aboard the good vibes train.

9. Best Word Book Ever

Golden Press

In this anthropomorphic world, the pig is the local butcher and this cannibalistic monster sells sausage, ham, and bacon.

8. Love You Forever

Firefly Books

This book tugs at the heartstrings of moms and sons everywhere, but there is one unsettling moment when mom sneaks into her adult son’s room and cradles him like a baby. Really throws off the tone.

7. In the Night Kitchen


In this controversial Maurice Sendak book, our protagonist Mickey encounters plenty of weird shit when he visits his kitchen at night. But nothing beats his time in the giant milk-based cryogenic chamber.

6. Dr. Seuss’ ABC – An Amazing Alphabet Book

Random House

R is for “Red Rhino.” And for “Really Weird Looking Boner.”

5. There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly

Penguin Young Readers Group

The book based on the classic kid’s song features a very strange moment where the old lady takes a bite out of a cow’s backside, causing it to squirt milk?

4. My Teddy Bear

Golden Press

This sweet book about a girl and her teddy bear manages to work in one of the weirdest (and only) voyeurism references in the history of kid’s books.

3. Rest Rabbit Rest

Henry Holt & Co

Rabbit’s friend tries to get him to sleep by spraying him with a questionably placed hose that sprays a mysterious white substance.

2. Elephant Elephant – A Book of Opposites: Golden Showers

Harry N. Abrams

This book uses elephants to teach kids about opposites. But it becomes less educational and more confusing when it tries to teach kids about how men and women pee? Why is that a lesson anyway?

1. I’m Still in the Bathtub

Margaret K. McElderry Books

Aunt Bea trying to kiss her nephew bears an unfortunate resemblance to a certain human sphincter.

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