The latest in the unquenchable who’s-the-most horrible, hideous, revolting, repulsive, disgusting, gross, and vile genre.
Goblin wakes in his cave. “Who’s the nastiest, most horrible creature in the forest?” he asks the mirror. “I am!” Not if his nattiness has anything to say about it: top hat, vest, string tie. He takes a neighborhood stroll and relishes how the witch and the wolf recoil at his nastiness. He thinks. Coming to a bridge he hears a challenge to his boasting. “I, Troll, am the nastiest, most horrible creature in the forest.” The dialogue doesn’t even offer an exclamation mark, but what readers do get is a pair of yellow eyes in the darkness of the span’s shadows: Ben-Day–dot yellow eyes, as in the Sunday funnies, a conspicuous quirk that characterizes all the art. Goblin and Troll ask a couple passers-by who is more grotesque. A wayfarer chooses the troll (because he is “puke-purple”); an old woman chooses the goblin (due to his underarm farts). Along comes a little white girl in a red hood. Pondering the question, she mines her nozzle for a good booger. She carelessly gets some on her chin, then swipes the remainder down her sweater. Thankfully, she does not eat any. Who’s the grossest? Nothing beats a booger.
Since the most natural audience for a grossness contest is typically past picture books, subject and format seem to be a classic mismatch. (Picture book. 3-7)