Category Archives: Picture Book Reviews

Picture Book Reviews- Worst in Show by William Bee and Kate Hindley

Worst in Show TITLE: Worst in Show
AUTHOR: William Bee
Whatever              and the train goes…
Beware of the Frog        Digger Dog
Stanley the Builder      Stanley’s Cafe
Stanley the Farmer      Stanley’s Garage
Migloo’s Day
Don’t call me Choochie Pooh!
Oliver and Patch      Jumble Cat
How to Wash a Woolly Mammoth
and many more…
Candlewick Press
SYNOPSIS:  Take one boy , his beloved
pet monster & a monster
talent show. What do you get?
A witty & wiffy tale for both
boys, girls & the child at heart!

Worst in Show (Book Depository affiliate link)

For the fun writing and illustration style which
has appeal to both children
and adults
(who don’t mind a bit of toilet humor).
Thumbs up for the level of detail
in the illustrations with
each turn of the page
I love the composition of this book cover design. The dark contrasting stage curtains and theatre seating, act as a boarder around the light colours of the stage from where the two main characters stand. Stage lights from up above, further direct the reader’s attention onto Albert and his pet monster, Sidney.

Kate seems to like including amusing details in her illustrations. On the front book cover there are 16 parasites to be found. Each has their own individual personality, appearance and are up to different antics. On the back book cover, poking their heads out from the stage curtains are 5 of the other pet monsters you can spot throughout the story.

The expressions of Albert and Sidney are also amusing with Albert in an embarrassed pose and Sidney holding a trophy with a look of shock that he has won a prize, even if it for the worst in show.I enjoy Kate’s choose of font type and how it is incorporated into the illustrations.  The title, ‘Worst in Show’ is coloured in red which I associate with being a ‘naughty’ colour, when someone has done something wrong. The font has this slightly shaky outline, far from perfect. The illustrator and author’s names that sit at the bottom of the design, are in a sunny yellow which matches the colour of the stage.

Thumbs up for the end pages design.  Kate has included a little subplot within the end pages. All is calm in the front end pages. A stage hand is about to climb up a ladder on the side of the stage. One little parasite character hides within the curtains and two others hang around on the signage. Then in the back end pages, the curtains are all torn, the parasite characters are running after the stage hand who is escaping with the ladder in hand. You wonder what has just happened.

Besides the subplot, I enjoy very much how Kate integrates the text into the illustration design. The synopsis and the short author and illustrator biography are included in tall rope pulley signs which I have sighted previously at theatre plays as part of the staging design.

I do enjoy William’s writing style as it is reminiscent of the style of writing I enjoyed as a child particularly authors like Roald Dahl, Lewis Carroll and C.S Lewis. It is descriptive, what you could call ‘proper’ English with a hint of mischief and sarcasm at the end of each sentence.

I do like how with each round of the competition, William uses repetition to great impact. He starts with the monsters competing against each other, the reaction of the judges with one judge always fainting. It is then Sidney’s turn to perform which ends with Albert being embarrassed about the his pet monster’s attempt.  This repetition technique and having the story break up into rounds helps to build the story to a climax: the announcement of the final round.In conclusion I think William’s writing style is a perfect match with the illustrations. The subject matter that includes farts, gross warts and parasites that make you want to scratch, appeal to both boys and girls and adults too.

I love this type of illustration style with lots of detail to look at on each page from
1) the different monster characters
2) the funny TV references ( ie Oinkingham TV and Silence in the Wings)
3) an imaginative array of parasites up to mischief
4) humorous objects throughout the book like the Fartometer and Fart Buster 2000
5) the subtle emotions of Albert and his pet monster, Sidney expressed through the eyes and hand gestures.

The scenery and clothing attire of the adults and children seems very British in that there is a lot of tartan, knee high socks, scarves and caps.  The British style appears to carry through into the writing with proper polite words used like “goodness”, “the embarrassment” and “bottom”.What I’m most impressed by with Kate’s illustration style is how she is able to combine digital colouring with traditional methods of creating her illustrations through pencil and paint. You have to be impressed with how her work doesn’t have that too perfect look that often is created through digital Photoshop and Illustrator. I think it has a lot to do with her line work which has the hand drawn feel and how she has tried to create texture within her digital colouring.

William Bee lives in the virtual world here:

Kate Hindley meanwhile lives here: