Written by William Bee, illustrated by Kate Hindley
Published by Walker Books Ltd ISBN 978-4063-3869-0
Review by Sarah Gordon
The narrative in Worst In Show centers around a boy called Albert and his pet monster Sidney. Sidney is not quite the scary, smelly, hair-raising monster that is expected of him by others. We follow their experience entering the ʻBest Pet Monster in the World Competitionʼ and the challenges they must undertake, alongside their fellow competitors. Rounds include the Hairiest Wart, the Most Parasites, the Smelliest Fart and the Hottest Breath, all of which Sidney the monster fails to place anything above last. However, the competition takes a surprising turn, when a new record is set involving Albert and his “big, cuddly and loveable pet monster”.
I test ran this book whilst babysitting and it’s no surprise that anything involving smelly farts, bottoms, monsters and dragons is an immediate attention grabber and entertainer. Whilst reading to the two children, aged 3 and 6 years, we stumbled across some phrases and words that required more than a brief explanation. “Whatʼs a parasite?” “whats a wart?” “do they mean spot?” “whats a dignitary?”…. Ok, so now youʼve thrown me too. Iʼm sure there could have been a number of child friendly, replacement words for a ʻdignitaryʼ person and I do believe that in some places, the storyline is more wordy than it essentially needs to be in order to grab a young audience.
The illustrations by Kate Hindley are packed with character and expression. The colour palette is relatively dark, meaning there isnʼt a great deal of eye catching vibrancy in dim bedtime lighting. We did however thoroughly enjoy the varying characters and their appearances, outfits and detail. Our favourite element to the book had to be the fold out section that opened up into a double sized layout, after the drum roll and at the moment of the stories climax.
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