Billy Plonka and the Grot Laboratory – Ian Billings

“Marley came from an entire family of thieves. There were hundreds of them. I could tell you more, but I really can’t be bothered to do the research.”

Billy Plonk and the Grot Laboratory is the yuckiest book you can imagine. It made my stomach turn, and that says a lot! The main character, Marley, is used to grot, so maybe that is why he does so well on the Grot Laboratory tour. Of course, he first has to get the ticket, and with his family traditions, that turns out to be quite easy.

Ian Billings, the author, has written an absolutely gross book as a parody of the famous chocolate factory story written by Roald Dahl. The book starts with Marley and his family, then explains about the Grot Laboratory tickets. There are other winners, so they all have a place in the book. The other characters are hilarious, and even before the tour starts, you know they’re going to be in trouble.

Ian Billings, the author

The characters all have great names, like Orson Ploop, Victoria Scab and Spike Peecee. I love the way Ian Billings describes them, using his fast-paced language. He tries to get the reader involved with the story, using dialogue to engage. It’s not my favourite kind of style, but Ian does it in such a funny way, I had to smile. There are a lot of made-up words in the book, some are more memorable than others. They all have a great sense of their meaning though, like Mr Plonka’s favourite word, Scumpiddlinoxious. It adds to the book’s quirkiness.

Not only are there some fantastic words in Billy Plonka and the Grot Laboratory, but there are also clever usages of the typical cartoon expletives. Combined with some brilliant drawings, done by Mike Bryson, the book is great fun to look at. Some of the happenings are rather grim, similar to the Chocolate Factory, I suppose.

The book has a brilliant ending, with a wonderful twist I didn’t see coming!

I received a copy of the book via Love Books Tours but was under no pressure or obligation to write a favourable review.

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