The Worst Class in the World Gets Worse – Joanna Nadin

When it comes to early chapter books, aimed at 5-8 year old readers, it is important to offer them content that they can relate to, and that they can imagine without difficulty given the intended readers will have previously enjoyed sharing picture books before becoming independent readers of books that are predominantly picture based with minimal text. To access the next level of reading material in the form of early chapter books is the invaluable stepping stone towards middle grade content offered to confident and capable readers, and provides readers with the opportunity to experience the quality content and variety of stories that await them in bookshops and school libraries as they grow their interest in books and thus read for pleasure.

The latest installment in the Worst Class in the World series by Joanna Nadin is exactly the right content and quality that school librarians, teachers, and parents are looking for when recommending a book to those embarking on their early chapter book journey, with the cover of the book indicative of the fun, mischief, and chaotic classroom behaviour awaiting children inside. Illustrated by Rikin Parekh, the books cover depicts characters from the ‘Worst Class in the World’ undertaking some of the incidents referenced within the story, and draws your eye around the edge of the cover to take in the details of each of the children as you wonder who they are – and just what they have instigated. It is easy to see how the characters on the cover are members of ‘The Worst Class in the World‘ given that they look to be rule breakers that like to commit pranks at every opportunity.

The focus of the story is that of a class within a school which readers will immediately be able to recognise and relate to, and tells of the hilarious antics the children within the class – 4B – get up to during certain school related activities. The Playground Monitor is the first of two themed stories within the book, with this one focusing on playground antics and misdemeanors, and The School Trip is the second story that tells of Class 4B getting up to all sorts while visiting a Zoo.

The two stories link in content and flow from one to the next, but in splitting the two it allows young readers to get a sense of achievement as they complete one and move on to the other, and it also allows children to take a break if needed (such as if they are reading during allocated time in school). Combining this book layout with the large font and frequent illustrations will ensure that young readers looking to enjoy an early chapter book do not feel overwhelmed, leaving them feeling relaxed, engaged, and excited to read.

Told from the perspective of Stanley, a young boy in 4B at St Regina’s Primary, the narrative is often funny, always honest, and easy to navigate throughout. Stanley admits his class qualifies for the title of ‘The Worst Class in the World‘ as he details some of the incidents that have led to that tagline becoming relevant to 4B, and how this can be confirmed by being compared to the well behaved 4A. The class teacher Mr Nidgett has the patience of a saint as he is held accountable for the behaviours in his class, and often his answer to it all is to threaten to quit being a teacher and take up a new profession – and the suggested occupations he suggests will make readers laugh out loud every time!

After an initial ‘introduction’ to the class, which is particularly useful if readers haven’t read the first book in this hilarious series, readers get to witness the trouble 4B create and get themselves into on the playground during break time, as they accompany Stanley during his school day. 4B are tasked with showing they can behave responsibly by being tasked with monitoring the playground whilst behaving, and when Stanley and his classmates come up with a fool proof way of staying out of trouble it doesn’t take long before chaos ensues and the class are held to account. Stanley and his friends do appear to have logical reasons as to what they get up to, and you cannot help but empathise with them when it all goes so horribly wrong, especially as their intentions were good, but consequently flooding the school toilets will have readers giggling along the way.

When Stanley and his classmates head off on a school trip to the Zoo they don’t take long to descend into hilarious antics such as one of the class members sock being spotted in with the animals as they venture round spotting animals throughout the trip. To find that they have bought a Penguin onto the coach along they journey home sums up the level of naughtiness class 4B achieve whilst there. The antics make for captivating content, and with just over 110 pages in its entirety it is packed full of detail and depth that will have readers enraptured to the end.

The story does reference home life for Stanley too, which involves his parents and grandad giving their equivalent of the antics at school, relating it to their childhood or current working day, and this is not only humour filled, but is repeated within the book and offers a feel of continuity in the book, and makes the characters feel more genuine and relatable to readers too.

At a time when children are looking for escapism and humour this book is invaluable to school libraries, classrooms, and homes as it offers those in abundance. When reading the book I found myself smiling and laughing throughout, and when this book was shared with the intended audience age readers there was requests for more from the series, snorts and giggles, and the overall feel good aspect from this book makes it the perfect 2021 publication.

The Worst Class in the World titles by Joanna Nadin are published by Bloomsbury, and available to purchase from all good booksellers, with The Worst Class in the World gets Worse having published on 7th January 2021.

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