The Worst Class in the World is a raucous, fast-paced, joy of a book, that if it doesn't get your child snorting before the turn of the first page, I will personally and LITERALLY eat my imaginary lockdown hat. Stanley Bradshaw and his hapless classmates from 4B, are frequently reminded by their frequently annoyed headmistress, Mrs Bottomly-Blunt, that they are LITERALLY the worst class in the world. For example, there was the time Penelope Potts the Playground Monitor, reported them all for trying to tunnel to Finland, and the time they went on a school trip to Grimley Zoo and Harvey Barlow smuggled a penguin back on the bus. And try as they might, class 4B certainly don't win any prizes, unlike the exemplary 4A led by class captain Eustace Troy, president of chess club, first violin in the school orchestra and team leader on the Shining Examples competitive spelling squad. 4B's class captain Bruce Bingley on the other hand, can amongst one thing, burp the national anthem. But Stanley Bradshaw is eternally optimistic, because according to his form teacher Mr Nidgett, everyone excels at something...they just have to look very hard to find it, and anyway Stanley usually has a FOOLPROOF (i.e., it will almost certainly go horribly wrong) PLAN up his sleeve, just in case.
The book features two madcap tales, The Biscuit King and Show and Tell. These are narrated by Stanley using the type of communication so beloved by children under the age of ten, i.e., a stream of consciousness. In The Biscuit King, Stanley and his best friend Manjit, determine on making their own special brand of Patented Manley Biscuits (half Manjit, half Stanley). A sure-fire way of excelling at something so even Mrs Bottomley-Blunt will be pleased. However, this sets off a biscuit king war amongst their classmates, resulting in a spectacularly vomitus conclusion.
In the second story, headmistress Mrs Bottomley-Blunt swoops into class 4B for a SURPRISE INSPECTION of their Show and Tell. Appalled by their feeble offerings (crisps are neither informative, interesting nor OUTSTANDING) she announces there will be a Grand Show and Tell during assembly the next day, against their rivals 4A, for which they had better up their game, because whoever wins will get a prize. This leads Stanley to wonder whether it will be the Joy of Winning again. What follows next has the beleaguered Mr Nidgett proclaiming that he will 'LITERALLY resign from teaching and become a lion tamer, because it cannot be harder than this'.
A story that marches to the beat of its own bonkers drum, The Worst Class in the World captures the chaos and excitement of primary school with touches of real heart. Its eccentric cast of characters are brought to life by the illustrations of Rikin Parekh, which crackle and fizz with punchy energy. This is a book that will excite children about reading and there's no higher praise than that. I have my fingers crossed that Joanna Nadin will bestow on us further adventures of the irrepressible class of 4B.