Rot, the Cutest in the World! by Ben Clanton

[Review Copy Courtesy of Simon & Schuster/Atheneum Books for Young Readers]

Rot Cover

Released out into the world yesterday – Rot, the Cutest in the World! is a picture book about a mutant potato entering a cuteness contest. It expertly touches on themes of beauty, high self-confidence, context, and who’s to judge. Rot explains these complex lessons in a fun, honest, and hilarious way.

In Rot, the Cutest in the World!, Ben Clanton uses tons of humor to send a clear message that sometimes winning and losing has nothing to do with you and everything to do with who’s judging. Rot is full of surprises, excellent lessons for young and old, and gives us lots of laughs and giggles.


Where to Get Rot, the Cutest in the World!:

[Affiliate Link]: Amazon.com

[Local Bookstore]: Addendum Books

[Public Library]: Worldcat.org


Rot may be a mutant potato, but he thinks he’s pretty cute – if he does say so himself. He’s not so different than other mutant potatoes. He likes to eat, play games, and do staring contests with himself in the mirror. When he sees that there’s a contest to determine who is The Cutest in the World — he’s totally in. He going to win, he just knows it! I mean, he is the cutest in the world, there’s no doubt, and now it’s time for it to be officially declared by way of a third-party competition.

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From Rot, the Cutest in the World! by Ben Clanton. © 2017 Simon & Schuster/Atheneum Books for Young Readers. Image courtesy of Simon & Schuster/Atheneum Books for Young Readers.

The contestants line up to get on stage and — oh no! They’re all so cute! The bunny, the kitten, and the jellyfish are beyond-words adorable. They’re fluffy! They’re bewitching! They’re peppy! You’ll involuntarily say “Awwwww,” and want to cuddle them the moment you see them.

The only things is… they’re not very nice to our dearest Rot. They point at him, they yell at him, and they call him mean names. (Suddenly they’re looking kinda icky.)

At first, Rot thinks maybe he should eat them. Then he’d definitely win, but upon concluding it wouldn’t be a nice thing to do and he’d probably get a tummy ache, he opts to…

rot-the-cutest-in-the-world-9781481467629.in05

From Rot, the Cutest in the World! by Ben Clanton. © 2017 Simon & Schuster/Atheneum Books for Young Readers. Image courtesy of Simon & Schuster/Atheneum Books for Young Readers.

Try to be more like the conventionally cute contestants. He dons a pair of bunny ears, adds some whiskers, and paints himself pink. But, it doesn’t make him feel any cuter and it isn’t really him. So on to…

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From Rot, the Cutest in the World! by Ben Clanton. © 2017 Simon & Schuster/Atheneum Books for Young Readers. Image courtesy of Simon & Schuster/Atheneum Books for Young Readers.

Being himself!

Even with the other contestants saying out loud that he doesn’t stand a chance, he gets up on that stage, gives the judges a huge smile, and shows them his best side. What will the judges say? Is our dear Rot delusional? Is he, in fact, ugly and disgusting? Is his high level of self-confidence well-meaning but otherwise misplaced? Are the other conventionally-cute contestants not so much mean as they are piercingly honest? You’ll have to read to find out because it is downright ingenious. My kids love this book and it makes for a fantastic family reading experience. It is thoughtful and hilarious, endearing and wonderfully absurd.

Rot, the Cutest in the World! is a fantastic picture book for everyone – but especially for anyone who has had a hard time after losing a competition. It also puts winning into a much-needed perspective and teaches some important life lessons in the way only a mutant potato can.

I never imagined that I’d happily read a book to my children that features a mutant potato showing off his butt crack to judges on a stage. I also never imagined that such a book could perfectly illustrate and explain to my children better than I can why you can’t take winning and losing personally – but here we are. Sometimes life can be very strange, but Rot is only fabulous.

Here’s to Rot!

Recommended Ages 4 to 8. Simon & Schuster/Atheneum Books for Young Readers. December 2017. 40 pages. ISBN: 978-1481467629 Fiction.

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Where Obtained:  I received a review copy from the publisher. No other compensation was received.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

FTC Disclosures:  Some of the links in the post above are Amazon affiliate links and others are IndieBound affiliate links. If you click on the link and purchase something, I will receive an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you. Which goes to fund my family’s picture book habit.  It’s a vicious cycle, but we manage.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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