I don’t know about you, but when I pick up a kids’ book published by McSweeney’s McMullens, and endorsed by the likes of Maira KalmanLemony Snicket, and Patton Oswald, it’s a pretty good bet that I will need to bring it home immediately, hand it to my children, and insist that they declare it their favorite. Enter: Crabtree by Jon and Tucker Nichols.

Fortunately I didn’t have to insist on such a thing, since my children, especially my six-year-old, fell immediately, madly in love with the quirky, hilarious story of Alfred Crabtree’s search for his missing false teeth. His quest requires him to sort through an outrageous collection of belongings, which are laid out on each page like a Richard Scarry book on acid.

Kids will giggle at the visual gags, they’ll laugh at his family portraits and favorite foods (“pork on a spork”), and they’ll inevitably make up their own “which of these things is not like the other” games with each page of collections.

Crabtree is mesmerizing and ridiculous in the most perfect way. Right down to the the strange place where his teeth are found at last.

Crabtree book cover | McSweeney's | Cool Mom Picks


This is the kind of book your three-year-old can take to bed to study the illustrations and learn the words, while older kids will make up their own games and stories inspired by the book and feel smug for getting some of the jokes. Hey, maybe they’ll even be motivated to clean up their own belongings without me asking. Or, heaven forbid, start collecting even more.

Find the ridiculously funny kids’ book Crabtree by Jon and Tucker Nichols at the McSweeney’s store, from our affiliate Amazon, or at your local indie bookseller. Bonus: The book jacket unfolds into a neat wall poster.