Edwardo: The Horriblest Boy in the Whole Wide World

Edwardo: The Horriblest Boy in the Whole Wide World

by John Burningham
     
 

Edwardo is an ordinary boy who does his best to live up to grown-ups' expectations. So when they rant at him for being the clumsiest, noisiest, nastiest, cruelest, messiest, and dirtiest boy in the whole wide world, he becomes all those things with a vengence, thus earning the title of the horriblest boy in the whole wide world. How Edwardo becomes the nicest boy in… See more details below

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Overview

Edwardo is an ordinary boy who does his best to live up to grown-ups' expectations. So when they rant at him for being the clumsiest, noisiest, nastiest, cruelest, messiest, and dirtiest boy in the whole wide world, he becomes all those things with a vengence, thus earning the title of the horriblest boy in the whole wide world. How Edwardo becomes the nicest boy in the whole wide world will be appreciated by ordinary little boys everywhere. John Burningham's amusing illustrations bring a lighthearted touch to the power of positive reinforcement.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Burningham's (Hushabye) delightfully inverted cautionary tale introduces an "ordinary boy" whose less than exemplary behavior elicits a host of hyperbolic responses that only exacerbate the problem. When Edwardo makes noise, he is called "the noisiest boy in the whole wide world," after which the lad "became noisier and noisier"; when he chases the cat, he is accused of being "the cruelest boy in the whole wide world" and then becomes "more and more cruel." The admonitions culminate in the moniker revealed in the book's subtitle--but then a series of inadvertent good deeds comically turns the tide of opinion. After Edwardo maliciously tosses a bucket of water over a dog, its owner thanks him for washing his muddy pooch and the boy begins to take care of other people's pets. The clutter that the untidy child tosses out of his bedroom window happens to land in a donations truck and Edwardo is praised for his generosity. Readers may not be surprised but will surely be satisfied when the seemingly reformed Edwardo is finally heralded as "the nicest boy in the whole wide world." Burningham's spare, whimsical watercolors amplify the wry humor of this look at the effects of actions and reactions--misguided or not. Ages 4-8. (Mar.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature - Mary Hynes-Berry
Ever since Mr. Gumpy's Outing, published in 1971, adults and young children alike delight in returning again and again to John Burningham's books. He has a remarkable gift for making his wry spare text and sketchy watercolor illustrations say a great deal. In this case, he describes Edwardo, "an ordinary boy." But when adults label his ordinary less-than-perfect behavior as incredibly rough, noisy, or cruel, Edwardo becomes increasingly rough, noisy, cruel, and dirty until everyone agrees he is the "horriblest" boy in the world. But when Edwardo by chance does things that an adult labels as being positive, he begins to act in more positive ways until everyone agrees that he is "the nicest boy in the world." Burningham does not labor his point, but he makes it wonderfully clear that a child is very responsive to the way important adults perceive him and that much harm is done when we forget to "hate the sin, love the sinner." The lesson we can take from Edwardo is that if we want to have the nicest children in the world, we have to be very focused on their positive behavior.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3
A thinly disguised discourse on the dangers of a discouraging word and on living up (or down) to labels. Edwardo appears to be the most ordinary of healthy, energetic boys-full of standard-issue snips and snails and puppy-dog tails-doing the most ordinary of things: making noise and messes, eschewing soap and water, and occasionally being not in the best of tempers. It's only when the negative grown-ups around him assert that he is the noisiest, nastiest, dirtiest boy ever that Edwardo turns terrible. In fact, as long as they already think it, he might as well be "the horriblest boy in the whole wide world." Can a kind word from a thoughtful adult nurture what's nice in little Edwardo (still occasionally dirty, clumsy, noisy, and rude)? You betcha. Fans of Burningham will delight in his witty, winsome pictures, so full of animation and expression, and perhaps all readers will take a second or two to consider the impact of hastily chosen words. An important message with a special delivery.
—Kathy KrasniewiczCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Burningham definitely has his eye on an adult audience with this take on the effects of positive and negative reinforcement. When a parade of grownups overreacts at young Edwardo's occasional childlike bouts of dirtiness, noise-making and misbehavior, he responds by becoming even dirtier, noisier and so forth. Then he throws a flowerpot down on the ground, and instead of complaining, a passerby compliments him on starting a garden. Similarly, when he douses a dog with water, he gets a commendation rather than a protest-and suddenly his pranks are all turning out for the better, his whole nature changes and he becomes a paragon of good behavior: "THE NICEST BOY IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD." Illustrated with very simply drawn and colored scenes featuring a bristly haired, surly looking lad whose scowls gradually change to smiles as his reputation improves, this is a cautionary tale that children may want to bring to their parents, rather than the other way around. (Picture book. 6-8)
From the Publisher
Starred Review, School Library Journal, February 2007:
"Fans of Burningham will delight in his witty, winsome pictures . . . An important message with a special delivery."

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780375940538
Publisher:
Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
03/13/2007
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
8.75(w) x 11.38(h) x 0.39(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

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