Morris reminds me of Raymond Briggs’ Fungus, but he goes even further in plumbing the depths of everything disgusting with his scab picking, armpit bugs and potato pants. The witty rhyming text is ably complemented by a scatty font and humorous illustrations. Morris’ face expresses all that is vile with an innocence that is endearing. Page after page he turns, scratches and picks – and then, alarmingly, moves towards the reader.
Children love this book and it is huge fun to read aloud to a group. Anyone can write a book with the words ‘pooh’ and ‘bum’ in the belief that this will hook young readers. Many try and such books end up being patronising with their attempts at revulsion. Those who wielded this art well – Roald Dahl being the whizzpopper – did it to a point and then sidestepped with a sweetness that left children feeling they’d had enough of the naughty to keep it naughty. Treading the tightrope between revolting and sweet is hard but Morris does it. What a gem!