Children’s Book of the Week: Edwardo, The Horriblest Boy in the Whole Wide World

by | May 11, 2009 | Children's Book of the Week | 4 comments

Edwardo, The Horriblest Boy in the Whole Wide World by John Burningham

Oh boy, here is a book that came right in time. Eli and I read it, snapped it shut, and both nodded to each other, as if to say, “Yup. Ok, I get it. I’ll ease up.”

Edwardo, see, he’s not a bad kid, but, like any kid, he sometimes does things that are a little bit bad, like kick things or be a bit mean or have a messy room. But all the hyperbolic adults in Edwardo’s life tell him things like, “You are the roughest boy in the whole wide world!” and as they keep throwing these labels at him, he gets meaner and rougher and sloppier and soon he’s just awful. The horriblest.

But then one day he kicks a flower pot, and someone says, “Hey! Great! I see you’re planting a garden!” And then he dumps water on a dog, meanly, but the dog’s owner thanks him profusely for washing his dog. Edwardo listens to all the nice labels and soon enough he is planting gardens and caring for pets and babysitting. Eventually leading the adults to pronounce him the nicest boy in the whole wide world.

It may be a hit-you-over-the-head message of not labelling kids, of accepting them for the messy bit of contradictions they are. But since often Eli and all his contradictions make me insane, and I think his own mixed-up feelings (which are completely normal for a 3-year-old) confuse him a bit too, it was very nice to read about Edwardo and his exaggerated version of our life. And to know it all turned out ok in the end.


  1. Sarah

    Julie – have you read “Raven”, by Gerald McDermott? It’s very good, and he has a whole series on other tricksters like Coyote and Zomo,
    I just made a list of your books to get from the library today.

  2. Elizabeth

    We need this book. I am reserving it at the library TODAY. It sounds like Eli and Isaac have a lot in common these days. I am tearing out my hair!

  3. Julie

    Elizabeth, I keep thinking Eli is going through a phase, but I’m realizing that it’s actually his personality. I was saying to Dave that I totally get where Henry comes from, because he’s a total mix of my and Dave’s personalities, but that Eli is totally unfamiliar. And so I tend to view Eli as, like, my boyfriend instead of my kid.

    Sarah, I’ll check out “Raven.” It sounds familiar.

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