Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to mischief. To help you find the right books for you and your young reader, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about mischief.
Our list includes board books, picture books, and chapter books. Board books are best for babies and toddlers from ages newborn to 2 or 3. Picture books are generally great options for toddlers and for preschool and kindergarten age children. Picture books are especially enjoyable for adults to read aloud with young kids. The chapter books on our list are generally best for elementary through early middle school age tween kids. You can filter to sort by the best book type for your kid, and you can also use our table of contents to jump to particular topics you think your kid will enjoy.
When it comes to children’s stories about mischief, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like Monkey’s Clever Tale to popular sellers like The Twits to some of our favorite hidden gems like The Bear Ate Your Sandwich.
We hope this list of kids books about mischief can be a helpful resource for parents, teachers, and others searching for a new book! As you explore the list, please comment below to let us know what books you would add.
Tom Weekly 6: My Life and Other Failed Experiments - Discover what happens when you mix one kid with nine attack possums. Observe the result of a guinea pig hostage situation. Learn from my get-rich-quick scheme to put Australia’s angriest ice-cream man out of business. Get ready to judge the world’s deadliest fruitcake competition. And if I survive it all, let’s call the experiment a success. More handy stuff inside- 1. Tips on avoiding household chores 2. Weird facts about guinea pigs 3. How to eat a car
Captain Underpants and the Invasion of the Incredibly Naughty Cafeteria Ladies From Outer Space (And the ... the Equally Evil Lunchroom Zombie Nerds) - Alien lunch ladies attack in the third book in this #1 New York Times bestselling series by Dav Pilkey, the creator of Dog Man!George and Harold have played a trick or two on nearly everyone at Jerome Horwitz Elementary. When their latest prank causes the school’s cranky cafeteria ladies to quit, Mr. Krupp hires a trio of unusual replacements — who happen to look an awful lot like aliens! Will that curtain-caped crusader, Captain Underpants, save the day once more? Or will those outer-space cafeteria ladies have him for lunch?
Inky the Octopus - Out of this tank, I must be free.I must explore the open sea!Inky the octopus is bored with aquarium life and wants to escape to the ocean! But just how can an octopus in a tank get to the open seas? Find out in Inky the Octopus, the only tale of the mischievous octopus to be officially endorsed by the National Aquarium of New Zealand.
Captain Underpants and the Attack of the Talking Toilets - George and Harold are usually responsible kids — whenever anything bad happens, George and Harold are usually responsible! This time, their latest prank backfires, and they accidentally invent an army of terrifying talking toilets. Luckily, they know a superhero with enough snap in his waistband to save the day! This looks like another job for the amazing Captain Underpants!
Ginger Green is Absolutely MAD for Birthday Parties (Mostly) - Ginger is turning EIGHT and she’s having an exceptionally royal princess party! There will be crowns, a fancy castle cake, and even SPARKLE SLIME. But what happens when Crazy Maisy and No-Pants Penny get out of control?
I Want My Hat Back - The bear’s hat is gone, and he wants it back. Patiently and politely, he asks the animals he comes across, one by one, whether they have seen it. Each animal says no, some more elaborately than others. But just as the bear begins to despond, a deer comes by and asks a simple question that sparks the bear’s memory and renews his search with a vengeance. Told completely in dialogue, this delicious take on the classic repetitive tale plays out in sly illustrations laced with visual humor — and winks at the reader with a wry irreverence that will have kids of all ages thrilled to be in on the joke. A New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Book of 2011! A picture-book delight by a rising talent tells a cumulative tale with a mischievous twist.
What the Ladybug Heard at the Zoo - Ladybug is ready for a vacation! When she flies into the city, the last thing she expects is to run into those no-good robbers Hefty Hugh and Lanky Len. This time, the dastardly duo have their sights set on Monkey Joe, resident of the local zoo—with his help, they hope to break into the Queen’s palace! It will take all the animals, including the Queen’s famous corgis, to put an end to this royal mischief. Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks have done it again in this latest laugh-out-loud romp!
Dream Big and Other Life Lessons from the Enormous Crocodile - A darkly funny gift book based on Roald Dahl’s beloved story The Enormous Crocodile, featuring art by Quentin Blake. The Enormous Crocodile has been employing “secret plans and clever tricks” for years, hoping to one day score his favorite meal: a juicy little child. And finally, he shares his wit and wisdom with a world hungry for his sage advice. Find out all of our devious villain’s tips and advice in this grim, but humorous gift book perfect for fans of All My Friends Are Dead. And with Quentin Blake’s illustrations, this full-color book will have readers plotting their own clever tricks in no time.
Anna, Banana, and the Little Lost Kitten - Anna and Banana rescue a stray kitten in the fifth book of this “fast-paced, fun, and funny” (Megan McDonald, bestselling author of the Judy Moody series) illustrated chapter book series about the joys and challenges of elementary school friendships. Anna and Banana have found a kitten! But when Banana accidentally scares the kitten away during their afternoon walk, Anna enlists her two best friends, Sadie and Isabel, for OPERATION CATCH THE KITTEN. Anna can’t image such a tiny kitten living outside all by himself, and she’s determined to find him a good home. But catching a kitten is trickier than Anna thought—kittens are easily scared and very stealthy. Then there’s the problem of finding him a good home. Sadie’s mom has a “No Pets” rule, Isabel’s cat, Mewsic, does not play well with other animals, and Anna’s dad is allergic to cats! Anna and her friends desperately want to help, but will they be able to find the kitten a good home?
Madame Martine Breaks the Rules - Madame Martine’s friend Louis works at the Louvre Museum. When he suggests Madame Martine and her dog Max come visit him and see the works of art, Madame declines his invitation—she knows dogs are not allowed at the museum. But Max has a different plan! He sneaks into the Louvre and sends Madame and Louis on a chase around some of the world’s most beautiful works of art.
Want to see books about dogs?
Prince Bertram the Bad - Once upon a time a prince was born. The kingdom was excited and proud. But Prince Betram was not a good boy. He put spiders in the soup, pulled up the roses in the royal garden, and broke all of his toys. As each year passed, he grew meaner and naughtier . . . until one day, a witch cast a spell on Bertram to punish his bad behavior. Can Bertram learn to be kind and break the curse? This timeless fable perfectly embodies the golden rule: always treat others the way you would like to be treated. The child-friendly illustrations, complete with the detailed, cross-hatching lines, reveal Lobel’s great talent as an artist and a master storyteller. Arnold’s daughter and renowned theater designer, Adriane Lobel, wrote an introductory note to celebrate the return of this charming tale.
Wizardmatch - Twelve-year-old Lennie Mercado’s grandfather, the current Prime Wizard of Pomporromp, is retiring and decides to host a tournament for Lennie and her cousins to compete to win his title, land, position, castle, and unlimited magical powers, but when Poppop introduces new rules to eliminate sibling rivalry, Lennie decides the games are unfair and makes plans to sabotage the event.
Heidi Heckelbeck Is So Totally Grounded! - When a cleaning spell goes awry, Heidi gets so totally grounded in the twenty-fourth Heidi Heckelbeck adventure! When Mom asks for help cleaning the house, Heidi takes her magic a little too far. After all, who really wants to deal with all that dust, dirt, and grime? Not Heidi, that’s who! So she creates a cleaning helper named Dusty to do her dirty work. There’s only one problem: Dusty isn’t the most careful cleaner, and when he accidentally breaks Mom’s favorite vase, Heidi gets so totally grounded. With easy-to-read language and illustrations on almost every page, the Heidi Heckelbeck chapter books are perfect for beginning readers.
Miniwings: Glitterwing's Book Week Blunder - Sshh… not for parents! You can keep a secret, right? Clara and I have a herd of tiny, talking, glitter-twinkly flying horses - and they’re real! It’s true! Those naughty Miniwings get us into so much trouble. Who would have thought Book Week could end up such a magical mess!
Want to see books about magic?
Ghosts Don't Ride Bikes, Do They? - Desmond and Andres are in for a bike-riding adventure in the second book of the Desmond Cole Ghost Patrol chapter book series! Welcome to Kersville, a town with a spooky history and a collection of ghosts and spirits who are major mischief-makers. Most kids spend their days without ever seeing or dealing with a ghost, but some kids get stuck with a haunt. When that happens, they call Desmond Cole Ghost Patrol. There’s no job too spooky, icky, or risky for Desmond. I’m not like that at all. My name’s Andres Miedoso. I’m Desmond’s best friend and ghost patrol partner. So when Desmond and I are called to track down a ghost on wheels, Desmond is sure that ghosts don’t ride bikes. Here’s why: they float everywhere. Makes sense, right? But if there’s one thing I’ve learned during my Ghost Patrol days, it’s this: Never tell a ghost what they can or can’t do. With easy-to-read language and illustrations on almost every page, the Desmond Cole Ghost Patrol chapter books are perfect for emerging readers.
I'm Afraid Your Teddy Is in the Principal's Office - What do your favorite toys get up to when you’re at school? Teddy and friends bring their creative mayhem to the classroom in a gleefully vicarious comic romp. What would happen if your teddy bear stowed away in your backpack and followed you to school? And what if your teddy convinced all your friends’ stuffed animals to come along for the party? Would you believe they might sneak into the cafeteria to play Pizza Disc, head to the band room to put bubbles in the wind instruments, make a clever glue trap for the art teacher, and roll around in finger paint as well? Luckily, the principal remembers what it was like to be young and may let the rambunctious teddy bear and crew off just this once. Author Jancee Dunn and illustrator Scott Nash bring Teddy and friends back for more mischief in a high-spirited tale of uninhibited fun.
Too Much Glue - Matty LOVES glue. At home with Dad, he makes glue glasses, glue mustaches, and glue bouncy balls. But at school, Matty’s art teacher worries and warns, “Too much glue never dries.” In art class one day, Matty decides to make the most fantastic glue project ever, with a super-special ingredient – himself! Ignoring his teacher’s warnings, Matty belly-flops onto the glue-covered table, rolls all around in the sequins and glitter, and encounters an unexpected glitch – when he tries to get up, he boings right back into the slippery, sticky mess! This calls for a dose of imagination and a little help from friends. They try a gigantic tow truck, some yarn lassoes, and dabbing Matty with everything in the nurse’s bag – but each wacky attempt only makes things worse! Finally Matty gets an idea from his hyperventilating teacher. Will it work, or will Matty be a half-boy, half-art project stuck- to-a-table forever?
Sweet Dreaming - “I can’t sleep!” said Molly. “You can,” said her Mom. “Just think of a story and sleep will soon come…” When Molly can’t fall asleep, her Mom has the perfect remedy: a soothing bedtime story! Mom dreams up a variety of sleep-inducing scenarios, but Molly manages to find something exciting and energizing in each one. Eventually, Mom’s stories work, just not in the way she expects…
Want to see books about imagination and play?
Captain Underpants and the Sensational Saga of Sir Stinks-A-Lot - There’s something rotten in the state of Ohio, and it’s smellier than a pile of putrid gym socks! Steer clear — it’s Sir Stinks-A-Lot! George and Harold, and their doubles, Yesterday George and Yesterday Harold, have a good thing going. Two of them go to school, while the other two hide in the tree house and play video games all day — then they switch! But when their malicious gym teacher, Mr. Meaner, creates a method of mind-control that turns their fellow students into attentive, obedient, perfect children, the future of all humanity will be in their hands!
My Weirder-est School #1: Dr. Snow Has Got to Go! - In this first book in the My Weirder-est School series, Ella Mentry School is having a science fair! Guest scientist Dr. Snow has arrived to help A.J. and his friends conduct their own cool experiments. But what is “the Snowman” really planning? And what does S.T.E.M. even stand for, anyway? Perfect for reluctant readers and all kids hungry for funny school stories, Dan Gutman’s hugely popular My Weird School chapter book series has something for everyone. Don’t miss the hilarious adventures of A.J. and the gang!
Pilfer Academy - Troublemaking George has never heard of Pilfer Academy, a top-secret school for training young crooks, until he’s kidnapped as its newest student. Between disguise classes, cracking safes, and DIY gadgets, George becomes an expert bandit and finds true friendship with Tabitha, his new partner-in-crime. But everything is ruined when George realizes he’s just too good-hearted to be a thief! Unfortunately, not thieving is not an option at Pilfer Academy. In order to gain their freedom, George and Tabitha must pull the biggest heist the school has ever seen and reveal their true colors not as thieves, but as kind (and, okay, mischievous) kids.
Captain Underpants and the Perilous Plot of Professor Poopypants - Professor Pippy P. Poopypants takes over science class at Jerome Horwitz Elementary in the fourth book in this #1 New York Times bestselling series by Dav Pilkey, the creator of Dog Man!George and Harold are fourth-grade buddies with a penchant for practical jokes. When the boys’ latest prank drives their science teacher over the edge, their clueless principal, Mr. Krupp, quickly hires a replacement: Professor Pippy P. Poopypants. Of course, George and Harold can’t resist making fun of the Professor’s silly name. But then the Professor retaliates by forcing everyone in town to change their own names to be equally silly, with colossal consequences!
The Unteachables - A hilarious new middle grade novel from beloved and bestselling author Gordan Korman about what happens when the worst class of kids in school is paired with the worst teacher—perfect for fans of Ms. Bixby’s Last Day. The Unteachables are a notorious class of misfits, delinquents, and academic train wrecks. Like Aldo, with anger management issues; Parker, who can’t read; Kiana, who doesn’t even belong in the class—or any class; and Elaine (rhymes with pain). The Unteachables have been removed from the student body and isolated in room 117. Their teacher is Mr. Zachary Kermit, the most burned-out teacher in all of Greenwich. He was once a rising star, but his career was shattered by a cheating scandal that still haunts him. After years of phoning it in, he is finally one year away from early retirement. But the superintendent has his own plans to torpedo that idea—and it involves assigning Mr. Kermit to the Unteachables. The Unteachables never thought they’d find a teacher who had a worse attitude than they did. And Mr. Kermit never thought he would actually care about teaching again. Over the course of a school year, though, room 117 will experience mayhem, destruction—and maybe even a shot at redemption.
Zach King: Mirror Magic - Zach King, the award-winning social media superstar with nearly 25 MILLION fans, is back with the third and final magical installment in his hilarious, fun-filled trilogy about Zach, a seventh grader trying to control his new magical powers. Features color graphic novel sections and an augmented reality app that brings the illustrations to three-dimensional life! BIG NATE meets DANTDM in the third magical middle grade adventure by social media superstar Zach King. Since Zach finally recovered his magical powers, middle school has never been better—he’s teaming up with his best friend, Aaron, on their super-popular YouTube channel and talking to the nicest, smartest, prettiest girl in school, Rachel. But when Zach magically “passes through” a magical mirror, he lands in a world that is the exact opposite of everything he’s ever known. Instead of finding himself at Horace Greeley Middle School, he’s at Horace Greeley MAGIC School. And in this world of opposites, everyone here has magic except him. Even worse, Zach is stuck in this world AND his alter-ego, the newly magical Jack, has passed in to Zach’s world and now living his life and getting into all sorts of trouble. Fortunately, Zach can always count on his friends—even this mixed-up magical world’s versions of them! If he can just convince the guys about the truth of his world-jumping misadventure, Zach knows, they’ll work together to figure out how to put everyone back where they belong—before it’s too late. It’s another hilarious adventure from the online and Instagram sensation Zach King. The book comes complete with a free downloadable augmented reality app that animates the illustrations in the book, bringing them to full three-dimensional life.
Big Nate: Silent But Deadly - “These strips appeared in newspapers from October 6, 2013, through March 29, 2014.”—Copyright page.
Big Nate: a Good Old-Fashioned Wedgie - Join the unstoppable Big Nate for another round of middle school adventures! From homework and hygiene to hilarious hiijnks - no one quite does sixth grade like Nate and his friends. Need a way to shut up some snooty kid when he gloats about his private school? Looking for the perfect response when your best friend joins the grammar police? Want a quick and easy way to out-snap even the snappiest comeback? Nate Wright has the answer: a good old-fashioned wedgie! The whole gang from P.S. 38 is back for more hijinks, hilarity, and underwear hoisting in this new collection of Big Nate comics. Can Chad somehow survive on a diet of kale and soy nuts? Are Jenny and Artur EVER going to break up? And how is Nate supposed to concentrate on baseball when he’s got a crush on his team’s new pitcher? See for yourself! Join Nate and the rest of the crew for another unforgettable round of middle school adventures!
Want to see books about middle school?
To Night Owl from Dogfish - Unhappy about being sent to the same summer camp after their fathers start dating, Bett and Avery, eleven, eventually begin scheming to get the couple back together after a break-up. Told entirely through text messages.
Microsaurs: Tiny-Stego Stampede - Get ready for more microsaur mayhem (and a bit of babysitting!) in the fourth installment of Hansen’s action-packed illustrated chapter book series. Illustrations.
Pete Milano's Guide to Being a Movie Star - Pete Milano has always been the class clown and proud of it. What’s the point of having friends if you can’t make them laugh, right? Even if doing so has the unfortunate side effect of constantly getting him into trouble. But, for once, Pete’s tricks have led him to just the right place at just the right time. Now he’s about to become famous, because he’s been asked to audition for the hottest new movie with the hottest girl costar. But balancing real life with movie life is way harder than it sounds. Will Pete’s newfound fame mean losing his girlfriend and all his friends?
Microsaurs: That's MY Tiny-Saurus Rex - Danny and Lin are determined to be the best Microsaur sitters ever! Sure, things got a little out of control with the tiny-raptors and the Professor’s lab might have gotten a bit… destroyed. BUT it’s all going to be absolutely fine. After all, they have a plan!
Oh No! Look What the Cat Dragged in - “Grandma’s acting worried, and looking very grim. She never knows each morning, just what the cat dragged in!” Mice and lizards and bats . . . EEEW! What will the cat drag in next? This hilarious picture book has a fun “yuck” factor that will make kids laugh again and again! A week at Grandma’s house descends into chaos when her adventurous kitty—who sneaks out every night through a flap in the door—drags in an assortment of increasingly icky creatures. From creepy crawlies and hissing snakes to an angry, snarling weasel and a load of dirty laundry, each day’s “gifts” grow wilder and wilder . . . until Grandma comes up with an ingenious way to put a stop to her wandering feline’s nighttime fun. Children will love chanting along with the refrain “OH NO NO NO! Look what the cat dragged in” and will delight in Jenny Cooper’s gleefully gory illustrations.
Microsaurs: Tiny-Raptor Pack Attack - Tiny dinosaurs lead to big adventures in this second action-packed Microsaurs chapter book.
Maximillian Villainous - For anyone who loved Leonardo, the Terrible Monster, this is a humorous and important book about learning to follow your heart and proving that kindness can outweigh villainy any day. Maximillian Villainous is a monster who doesn’t have the heart to be a villain. His famous family pulls pranks on the likes of Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy, and Max spends his time undoing them. So when he brings home a bunny to be his sidekick, Max’s disapproving mother hatches a plan. She challenges Max and the bunny to become a devious duo; otherwise . . . the bunny hops. If they want to stay together, Max and the bunny have no choice but to go against their nature. They blunder into villainy with comical effect until Max discovers that embracing his good heart may just be the key to pulling off the most devious deed of all and winning his family’s acceptance. Delightfully fun and irreverent, Maximillian Villainous is an empowering story about embracing one’s true self and finding acceptance. Up and coming illustrator Lesley Breen Withrow brings the characters to life with bold and colorful illustrations in a style reminiscent of Richard Scarry.
Henry Huggins - This special edition of Henry Huggins features the original illustrations by Louis Darling—the first artist to ever render Henry, Ribsy, Ramona, and Beezus—as well as a foreword written by New York Times bestselling author and illustrator Tony DiTerlizzi. In Newbery Medal-winning author Beverly Cleary’s first novel, boys and girls alike will instantly be charmed by an average boy whose life is turned upside-down when he meets a loveable puppy with a nose for mischief. Just as Henry Huggins is complaining that nothing exciting ever happens, a friendly dog sits down beside him and looks pleadingly at his ice-cream cone. From that moment on, the two are inseparable. But when Ribsy’s original owner appears, trying to reclaim his dog, Henry’s faced with the possibility of losing his new best friend. Has Klickitat Street seen the last of rambunctious Ribsy?
Want to see books about pets?
Hi, Jack! - From New York Times bestselling author Mac Barnett and Geisel Award-winning illustrator Greg Pizzoli, an uproarious early reader series about a mischievous rabbit, a cranky old lady, and a lovable dog. Meet Jack: He lives in a tree house. His interests include snacks, petty theft, and lipstick graffiti. Jack also loves his friends, he just has a funny way of showing it sometimes . . . A perfect read-aloud with snappy, rhythmic text, this series will bridge the gap between picture books and chapter books and fill the Elephant-and-Piggie-shaped hole in young readers’ hearts.
Roxie and the Hooligans at Buzzard's Roost - Roxie and the Hooligans are back and this time, Smoky Jo is swiped by a kidnapper who is as blunder-prone as Roxie, Uncle Dangerfoot, and Lord Thistlebottom are clever.
Five Little Monkeys 5-Minute Stories - Eight exciting adventures with the five little monkeys are packed into one beautiful treasury. Each story can be read aloud in just five minutes! There’s plenty of monkey business in this collection of eight funny stories about the five little monkeys by best-selling author-illustrator Eileen Christelow. Come along with the lovable monkeys on their mischievous adventures as they do everything from jump on the bed to bake a cake to tease a hungry crocodile—and much more. With a padded cover, full-color illustrations, and stories that can be read aloud in just five minutes, this is the perfect book for bedtime, storytime, anytime!
Want to see books about habits and behavior?
Unstoppable Max - Max is a four-year-old whirlwind who doesn’t have an off switch! His socks are odd, his bedroom is chaotic, and his mind is so full of imaginative schemes that following even the simplest of instructions can end in mayhem. Max’s bedtime routine, so seemingly simple, becomes a military operation for Max with many obstacles to overcome - tidying his bedroom, putting on his pyjamas, and feeding his pet goldfish! Illustrated with non-stop energy by exciting new author/illustrator, Julia Patton.
Goodnight Already! - Meet Bear. He’s exhausted. All he wants is to go to sleep. Meet Duck, Bear’s persistent next-door neighbor. All he wants is to hang out . . . with Bear. Jory John, author of Penguin Problems and The Bad Seed, and Benji Davies, creator of The Storm Whale, join together to create this standout hilarious picture book that will make bedtime memorable.
Want to see books about bedtime?
Tales for the Perfect Child - Sergio Ruzzier brings his mischievous touch to a timeless favorite by Florence Parry Heide, beloved author of The Shrinking of Treehorn. This delightful new edition includes one never-before-published story. Ruby is reliable (kinda). Arthur is careful (sorta). Harry eats his carrots (though it depends on what you mean by “eat”). And just like all perfect children, Gloria helps her mother (well, that might be an exaggeration). As the eight deliciously wicked tales featured in this hilarious chapter book prove, it’s perfectly nice to be a perfect child—but where’s the fun in that?
Pedro Goes Buggy - Pedro collects a lot of different bugs for a class assignment, but when his brother lets them out in the house their parents are furious, and ban any further collecting.
Want to see books about siblings?