Four Clever Animal Tales for Kids into 'The Bad Guys' | Read-Alikes

Hand these books to elementary readers who like the clever, fast-paced movie about animal predators trying to be nice. 

The Bad Guys

 PG. DreamWorks. In Theaters. April 22.

This animated feature film stars Sam Rockwell, Awkwafina, Craig Robinson, and others as a team of notorious predators trying to improve their reputations. It’s based on the hilarious, highly illustrated chapter book series by Aaron Blabey.


Carnivores by Aaron Reynolds, illus by Dan Santat. Chronicle. 2013.
Gr K-2–Misunderstood carnivores (a lion, a shark, and a wolf) form a support group to deal with the pain of being rejected by plant-eating acquaintances in this darkly humorous picture book. Though more gruesome than The Bad Guys, this funny book also delves into the question of whether animals can change their stripes.

The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs! by Jon Scieszka. Viking. 1989.
Gr 1 Up–Alexander T. Wolf explains how the world got it wrong when it comes to the story of the Three Little Pigs in this fractured fairy tale. He says he was framed! Readers who enjoy seeing the other side of traditional bad guys will love this side-splitting picture book.

Bad Kitty Gets a Bath by Nick Bruel. Roaring Book. 2008.
Gr 2-4–In this tongue-in-cheek graphic novel hybrid, Bruel describes how to give a cat a bath, going into hilarious detail amidst much hissing and spitting. Kids who appreciate the laugh-out-loud humor of The Bad Guys will enjoy Bad Kitty’s adventures, too.

Real Pigeons Fight Crime by Andrew McDonald. Random House. 2020.
Gr 2-5–If you’ve ever wondered why pigeons act so strange, it’s because they fight crime, of course. And this wacky graphic novel hybrid explains how. The pigeons' adventure will appeal to readers who like the goofy humor and hijinks of The Bad Guys.


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