Elise Gravel’s work always makes me smile, and her newest book, The Worst Book Ever, made me laugh out loud. Three characters come together to comment on the worst fairy tale ever as it unfolds. They’re annoyed by standard fairy tale tropes, like the “beautiful prinsess and brave prinse”; they criticize typos, illustration, and writing style, all for laughs. The commentary is laugh-out-loud funny, and the visuals are bold, bright, and wonderfully odd. The fourth wall is more than broken; it’s demolished as coffee stains and cookie crumbs dot the pages and our main characters call out lack of diversity, literary clichés, and weak female characters. One character makes a list of all the spelling mistakes found in the book always good for a prize for anyone who can catch them all. As the story descends into madness, the characters become more confused, and your readers will laugh even harder.
The Worst Book Ever can be a good companion when talking about short story writing. Point out issues the characters have with the story as it develops, and see what your readers chime in with. Can they fix the narrative?
Lest I leave out the most important part: there’s bathroom humor. I quote: “Poopie Peepee Fart Booger”. So this is basically kid gold.
Add this to your graphic novel shelves and watch it fly.