Young readers, and all seekers of comic relief, should investigate Elise Gravel’s laugh-per-page The Worst Book Ever, a meta exercise in creating exactly what its title claims.The Montreal Gazette
Elise Gravel wants to write a totally drab book; her characters want to let loose. Who’s gonna win?
Don’t take the title as a metaphor: it really is the worst book ever. Governor General Literary Award winning children’s book author and illustrator Elise Gravel takes readers on an unexpected journey through the world’s most boring book. The story’s characters and omniscient readers alike quickly become annoyed by the author’s bland imagination and rebel against her tired tropes and stale character choices, spouting sass in an attempt to get her attention and steer the narrative in a more interesting direction. After all, you don’t even have to buy the book, but the characters? They’re stuck in there for an eternity, and they’re going to do their best to make the most of it, or at least have a little fun where they can.
As the charming and bizarre true nature of the characters overpowers the dry attributes given to them by the author, this once blasé story quickly picks up speed, transforming the story into something much more unique than originally promised. With Gravel’s signature goofy characters behind the wheel, no silly twist or rude body function is off the table!
Praise for The Worst Book Ever
Discerning readers of any age should find plenty to like about The Worst Book Ever, which is, in actuality, the very best kind of worst book —the kind that is actually secretly good.J. Caleb Mozzocco, School Library Journal
A laugh-out-loud comic with intentional spelling mistakes, rudimentary drawings, an idiotic sexist hero, and a Greek chorus of blob-like monsters that introduces young readers to literary criticism.Quill and Quire, best-of 2019
A fourth-wall-breaking showcase of picture book “don’t”s... an intentionally dull fairy tale [introduced] with great skepticism.Publishers Weekly
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... A clever, ingenious author's "wurst" work yet.Kirkus Reviews
[The Worst Book Ever is] cute and funny, but it also helps readers to be more explicitly aware of the messages we’re presented with in other stories, which I think is a valuable lesson.Geek Dad
The characters in Elise Gravel's book The Worst Book Ever positively hate the journey she's taking them on. Sick of the boring adventure and tired character tropes, they decide to take matters into their own hands.CBC Books