100 Scope Notes
Inside 100 Scope Notes

The Wildest Children’s Books of 2015

Salisbury Quote

For everyone out there who thinks that children’s literature is just a bunch of cute, harmless fluff, I disagree with you. Every year books arrive that seek to challenge young minds and the status quo.

Like these books below.

Click here for the Wildest Children’s Books of 2014

Click here for the Wildest Children’s Books of 2013

Click here for the Wildest Children’s Books of 2012

What Is Punk Cover

What Is Punk 1

What Is Punk? by Eric Morse; illustrated by Anny Yi

Akashic Books | October 6, 2015

Why It’s Wild: A history of punk music for kids illustrated in Gumby-esque claymation (minus the -mation)

Look! Cover

Look! 1

Look! by Édouard Manceau

OwlKids Books | March 17, 2015

Why It’s Wild: You know what’s amazing? Cutting a whole in a book and creating an experience that allows kids to see the world around them with fresh eyes.

Holy Bible for Minecrafters

The Unofficial Holy Bible for Minecrafters: A Children’s Guide to the Old and New Testament by Garrett Romines and Christopher Miko

Sky Pony Press | March 3, 2015

Why It’s Wild: If you’re like me, you saw the title and assumed this book was a “bible” in the sense that it was a comprehensive guide to all things Minecraft. No, it’s literally bible stories acted out by Minecraft characters. To say I didn’t see this coming is an understatement.

Bureau of Misplaced Dads Cover


The Bureau of Misplaced Dads by Éric Veillé

Kids Can Press | August 1, 2015

Why It’s Wild: A boy misplaces his dad, and meets a stranger who takes him to look for a new one. It’s just so … odd. So wonderfully odd.

Only Fish Fall from the Sky Cover

Only Fish Fall From the Sky 1

Only Fish Fall From the Sky by Leif Parsons

POW! Books | May 5, 2015

Why It’s Wild: A picture book by a philosopher where the main character lives in a world where fish, not rain, falls from the sky. I could go on, but I think you’re probably saying, “Yep, that book belongs here” by now.

Land of Lines Cover

Land of Lines 1

The Land of Lines by Victor Hussenot

Chronicle Books | June 2, 2015

Why It’s Wild: A Bic pen doodle love story on LSD

Sat on a Duck

Daddy Sat On a Duck 1

Daddy Sat on a Duck by Scott M. Cohn

Little, Brown | May 5, 2015

Why It’s Wild: It’s rare when a book from one of the Big Five publishers leaves me speechless. This book left me speechless. Daddy Sat on a Duck breaks more ground (on the subjects of bodily functions and, uh, other stuff) than any other book for children this year. Seriously, stuff I can’t even write about here without blushing.

The Yes Cover

The Yes by Sarah Bee; illustrated by Satoshi Kitamura

Eerdmans Books | February 16, 2015

Why It’s Wild: Anthropomorphizing the word “yes” – it’s a bold move that works. And I bet you can guess who the villain is…

Some Things I've Lost

Some Things I've Lost 2

Some Things I’ve Lost by Cybèle Young

Groundwood Books | September 15, 2015

Why It’s Wild: Everyday objects morph into underwater oddities – each one meticulously sculpted out of paper.

Random Body Parts

Random Body Parts 1

Random Body Parts: Gross Anatomy Riddles in Verse by Leslie Bulion; illustrated by Mike Lowery

Peachtree | March 1, 2015

Why It’s Wild: I direct you to the title of the book.

Bug in  a Vacuum

Bug in a Vacuum 1

Bug in a Vacuum by Mélanie Watt

Tundra Books | August 25, 2015

Why It’s Wild: Can’t say I’ve ever seen a picture book (and a 96 page picture book at that) deal with the Kübler-Ross five stages of grief.

About Travis Jonker

Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at scopenotes@gmail.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.


  1. Oooo…what is Ounk is going into my cart ASAP!

  2. Mr. Bill (“Oh, NOOOO!”) meets The Clash!? I must must must find that book.

    Thank you for this list. My To Read list just grew considerably.

  3. This is fabulous. Why do people think picture books are just for little kids? Hilarious, deep, wacky and subversive – this list is like the SNL of Picture Books. Love.

  4. These are always, always my favorite posts. Immediately ordering what we don’t carry!

  5. I love these! Thanks for showing them! Now I want to play around with bic pens and apologize to who ever is in my vacuum cleaner.

  6. Apparently, you aren’t aware that there is already a Lego Old/New Testament. The Minecraft Bible is a natural progression.

  7. Adrienne says

    I hadn’t seen any of these yet, but now I must see them all.

  8. Love this list–Leslie’s Random Body Parts is a fabulous book! And I just put Daddy Sat on a Duck on reserve. (I dare anyone to NOT get it after reading your teaser.) Thanks!

  9. Rachel Bishop says

    Random Body Parts is awesome!! There is too much fun in these books, I can’t wait for my kids to get a little older to appreciate them! Right now we are in the learning stage, reading Don’t Stick Sticks Up Your Nose! Don’t Stuff Stuff In Your Ears! by Jerald Altman MD. Hopefully we get through this stage before an ER visit! These hilarious books keep me entertained at least, since I have to read them hundreds of times!

  10. I’d mention also “Miramuri” (roughly translated as “Walls-sighting”), an italian book written by Massimiliano Tappari and illustratated by the artist and photographer Alessandro Sanna, it is a sort of a journey around the city discovering lines and breaks into the walls that remind of animals and new stories thanks to imagination.