It’s not every book that can be trite, dull, sexist, gross, kissy, violent, nondiverse, and replete with misspellings.
Of course Gravel does it all deliberately and to such comical effect that “I’m wondering if anyone is still reading this book!” from one of the motley blobs providing reactions to each successive literary malfeasance will definitely be a rhetorical question. The storyline features a “brave prinse” named Putrick, the “beautiful prinsess” Barbarotte, a monster roaring “POOPIE PEEPEE FART BOOGER!” and a closing revelation that it was all a dream. It is played out by anthropomorphic sausages as the trio of critics (a red spider, black inkblot, and lump of what could be silly putty or perhaps a pink turd) offer individual, often conflicting takes and observations: The inkblot celebrates the potty humor, for instance, even as the silly putty (or turd) decries it, for instance. Even they don’t catch everything, though, as in the simply drawn cartoon scenes such details as the number of legs beneath Barbarotte’s gown or the message on Putrick’s shirt are subject to abrupt shifts that go unnoted, as do the decidedly gender-stereotypical decorative motifs on the final scene’s twin beds. Once they pick up what’s going on, young readers should have no trouble picking up the slack and pondering the many implications.
A clever, ingenious author’s “wurst” work yet. (Picture book. 6-8)