Hello, friends! Our book today is The Grossest Picture Book Ever, written by Derek Taylor Kent and illustrated by Lynx Studios, a book that definitely – unfortunately – lives up to its title.
In the town of Gross live a collection of the grossest people you’ve ever met. I’m not really going to describe the plot more, because there isn’t one. After a short introduction by two young residents of Gross, the rest of the book is an attempt to disgust and nauseate the reader as thoroughly as possible, using triggers and set pieces such as a car made of feces (“As he drives around town; all the streets turn to brown”), a house made of dripping green mucous, and a particularly memorable scene in which a chef serves up a massive pile of blood-colored vomit – complete with carefully detailed illustration – which is happily consumed by a group that includes young children.
It’s not often we give a book a truly bad review; most children’s picture books have some manner of redeeming quality. However, it’s also not often that we are unable to finish a book because a) I had no desire to expose JJ to the rest of the contents therein and b) I was about to be physically sick. Indeed, the backmatter congratulates those with stomachs strong enough to complete the book, which certainly begs a question: should a children’s book really be so disgusting that it discourages readers from completing it? The author’s intent seems to be comedy – indeed, he offers a social media challenge in the backmatter to record oneself reading the entire book without “laughing”. Well, mission success. This book is not funny, nor does it have value beyond a mindless and tasteless attempt at gross-out humor. It lacks style, substance, and any educational qualities; it simply embodies the type of lowbrow and lazy comedy that does nothing to challenge or encourage young readers’ development. It’s just gross for the sake of being gross, and we do NOT recommend it.
(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the author in exchange for an honest review.)