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VILE by Mark Robinson


A Cautionary Tale for Little Monsters

by Mark Robinson & illustrated by Sarah Horne

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-7459-6254-2
Publisher: Lion/Trafalgar

Two rival Academies in the town of Beastieville counterintuitively offer either training in good manners for the already-virtuous or a bad-behavior curriculum tailored to students who “pester, pinch, and push, / who sniffle in their snot.” Unsurprisingly, it’s the University of Vile that takes center stage in this import, as variously hairy, blobby, garishly colored cartoon monsters crowd through the doors for encouragement in disruption (“It’s vital in the classroom to be messy, loud, and spiteful. / ‘More volume, class,’ the teacher calls. / ‘A racket is delightful’ ”). Then two Viles fall into a deep hole, and have to help each other to get out. They’re summarily expelled, of course, and a page turn later have been transformed into little angels (more or less) through instruction in making “right choices every day” at the other school. Though not really “cautionary” in the Beastly Boys and Ghastly Girls sense, this does offer some memorable lines (“Even if I haven’t picked the right school, I’ll have picked the right nostril”) and acting out to counter the bland modeling more common in standard manner manuals. (Picture book. 6-8)