Edwardo: the horriblest boy in the whole wide world

Edwardo: the horriblest boy in the whole wide world by John Burningham.

It is always a treat to see a book by Burningham.  With his own unique illustrative style and his clear language, you know it is going to be something special that stands entirely on its own. 

This book is no exception.  Edwardo is a normal child.  He can be noisy sometimes, messy sometimes, and mean sometimes.  All he hears from the grown-ups around him is that he is a “nasty bully” or “the noisiest boy in the whole wide world.”  So Edwardo listens to the adults and becomes noisier, meaner, ruder, messier.  Until he hears something different one day when he is being rude.  And under the appreciation and praise, Edwardo returns to being what he always was:  a normal child with some good and some bad about him.

I really enjoyed this story.  The matter-of-fact tone carries the story forward as Edwardo becomes more and more horrible and less and less of himself.  Just as the horrible factor becomes overwhelming, the author pulls back and switches the tone.  Just as clean and clear in the praise part, we get to watch as Edwardo returns to being himself. 

This will be a great one to share with a group of kids who will all see themselves in Edwardo and wonder if they too are the most horrible child in the whole wide world.  They will be happy to see the turn around to praise and accomplishments.  It is the type of book that children will want to talk about afterwards even in the most simple terms.  I can see it being used for guidance classes or units on self.  But don’t wait for that!  Share this one with your group of kindergarteners or first graders and they will appreciate it.

American Born Chinese

American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang.

I don’t think I can add anything about how wonderful this book is.  It is an incredible creation by a gifted author and illustrator.  I only wish I had read it earlier in the year so that I could have rooted for it to win the Printz ahead of time! 

If you don’t usually like graphic novels, this is one that you should try.  Not because it won an award, but because it is accessible even to those who don’t read comics regularly.  It goes so far beyond comics with its commentary on stereotypes alone, not to mention the inclusion of the Monkey King.  It is simply amazing.

Buy this one for your libraries, share it with teens, but most of all, read it yourself.  If you are anything like me, you will start looking around for other great graphic novels to immerse yourself in.