Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Parents' Choice Awards : Books : Picture Books
Edwardo: The Horriblest Boy in the Whole Wide World

Edwardo: The Horriblest Boy in the Whole Wide World

Spring 2007 Picture Books
Ages: 4 - 8 yrs.
Author: John Burningham
Illustrator: John Burningham
ISBN: 978-0-375-84053-1
Hardcover Price: $16.99
This cautionary tale about the power of negative and positive reinforcement sweetens the lesson with plenty of visual humor of the type only John Burningham creates. When Edwardo kicks things, makes noise, chases the cat, and forgets to bathe, the world is quick to point out his shortcomings. The result? He fulfills the expectations of all those critical adults by becoming rougher, noisier, crueler and dirtier...until he is finally labeled “the horriblest boy in the whole wide world.” Then, quite fortuitously, the world (not Edwardo) changes. When he dumps a bucket of water on a passing dog, the owner thanks him for giving his dog a bath. When he roughs up another boy, he winds up a hero for miraculously pushing his classmate out of the way of a falling light fixture. The result? Edwardo begins to see himself differently, and to act differently as well. Burningham’s illustrations may be sketchy, but his intent is clear. In this sly homily aimed at adults as well as children, the world tells us what we are, and, for better of worse, we become what the world tells us.
Kristi Elle Jemtegaard   ©2007 Parents' Choice
Kristi Elle Jemtegaard is the Coordinator of Youth Services for the Arlington Public Library system. She has taught courses on children’s and young adult literature at the Catholic University of America and the University of Virginia. She has served on both the Newbery and Caldecott Award Committees of the American Library Association and has chaired the Notable Children’s Recordings Committee and the May Hill Arbuthnot Award Committee. She is a member and past president of the Children’s Book Guild of Washington DC and has chaired the Washington Post–Book Guild Nonfiction Award Committee. She is a founding member of Capitol Choices, an organization of professionals in the field of children’s literature in the greater Washington DC area. She regularly reviews children’s literature and audio productions for a variety of national publications.

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