Little Willy took a match
And set fire to the cat.
Said Little Willy as it burnt,
‘I bet the cat hates that.’
Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton are two of the best-known names in the children’s publishing industry in recent years, both individually and as a team. Whilst each new offering is greeted enthusiastically by young readers, adult critics are not always positive about what is produced. This latest collaboration, The Bad Book is no exception, with newspapers around the country running stories about reactions to the book, which have included some bookstores refusing to stock it, recommended reading lists being amended to exclude it, and parent groups up in arms.
Despite all the fuss, it must be said that this is a book for kids, not adults, and kids will love its silliness and complete irreverence. From cover to cover there are rude jokes, messy jokes and (of course) bad jokes. There are jokes about bodily functions, jokes about bad parents and loads of violence. So, while adults may have their doubts, very few kids will. They will laugh, they will share it with their friends and they will read it – probably over and over.
The Bad Book will appeal to kids. Adult purchasers – parents, teachers and librarians – will want to make their own decision about its appropriateness or otherwise for their young charges.
The Bad Book, by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton
Pan Macmillan, 2004
Penny McRose picked her nose
Morning, noon and night.
She picked it until her head caved in
And her family died of fright.