Nasty Book



Wicked, wildly funny stories with gross-out humor.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The book is called "nasty" for a reason: the stories revolve around those who behave in ways that are generally not acceptable in society, though they do make for funny stories.


Decapitations, murder, theft, and general naughty behavior are often displayed in a humorous and creepy light.

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Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Several adults drink alcohol through the collection.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this book is specifically designed to entertain in a campy, horror style. There are killer pets, ghosts, uncaring parents, decapitations, murders, thefts, and other unpleasant events. The stories are designed to be unnerving, so if you have a sensitive child you may want to read along with caution.

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What's the story?

This collection of off-beat stories range in their subjects -- skateboarding ghosts, killer pets, murderous kids, goofball criminals -- but all have a basic premise: they are funny, creepy, and nasty.

Is it any good?


NASTY BOOK will capture the attention and imagination of a wide variety of readers, including reluctant ones, who will like the short, attention-grabbing scenarios. Author Barry Yourgrau's work is often compared to quirky Shel Silverstein's, but Yourgrau's stories are much more cynical and feel more like mini-scripts for "Tales from the Crypt." There are a lot of stories of "people getting what's coming to them," and then there are some that are just so bizarre that readers will find themselves giggling and shaking their heads at the twisted subjects, events, and outcomes.

The book fits right in with its target audience's idea of humor, and though some situations -- like a kid freezing to death or an escaped convict threatening two kids and their mom -- might make parents think twice, there really is no need to worry. The stories are so wildly weird and extraordinary that there's little chance kids will take them to heart.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about humor. What makes a book funny? Why are gross things like gas or dark themes like murder sometimes used to make people laugh? When does funny cross the line?

Book details

Author:Barry Yourgrau
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:HarperCollins Children's Books
Publication date:May 1, 2007
Number of pages:192
Publisher's recommended age(s):9 - 12

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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