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The Worst Breakfast

By: and

A gorgeous and hilarious picture book about the most unusual breakfast two sisters ever ate.

$16.95 $12.71

Available as an e-book for:

What people are saying…

Named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2016

“Miéville, known for his genre-defying fantasy novels for adults, makes a splash with his picture book debut. Smith’s illustrations, filled with geometric shapes and patterns, are the perfect complement to the text . . . This is a subversive delight.”
School Library Journal

A Mississippi Clarion-Ledger best seller!

“Miéville and Smith’s dialogue is fantastic: witty, smart, with great rhythm that doesn’t sacrifice artful turns of phrase to reach for an internal rhyme . . . Smith’s artwork keeps pace with the text, which the artist sets into little rectangles to contrast with the jaggedly flamboyant paintings that get increasingly manic as the girl goes on, incorporating tentacles and pterodactyls as well as piled-high foodstuffs . . . This should be in the hands of all kids who aren’t easily satiated by tamer picture books and who would engage with a real work of art that they can revisit over and over. None of the artwork is too gross to behold, even for the squeamish, but it does perfectly illustrate the culinary horrors the girl is trying to convey to her sister. A brilliant, original, infinitely rereadable book that can sit alongside Sendak and Dahl.”
Kirkus Reviews, Starred review

“Miéville lets it rip in this stomping, howling rant about a bad meal of legendary proportions . . . Punk artist Smith’s neatly framed dialogue boxes and crisp black contours have a buttoned-up look, but no: tentacles wave from inside bowls, monsters smile amid mountains of vile sausages, and a blue alien juggles cherry tomatoes. As the pages turn, the towers of bad food grow ever loftier. In the end, a simple tea strainer saves the sisters from another terrible meal. This one’s for families enamored of new words, exotic foods, and strong opinions.”
Publishers Weekly

“This is a child’s imagination come to life, where a good thing can be the greatest thing in existence and a minor inconvenience snowballs into the most horrendous, atrocious, appalling, not good, very bad meal you’ve ever had.”
San Francisco Book Review

“Deftly written by the exceptionally talented China Miéville and shockingly but gifted illustrated by Zak Smith, The Worst Breakfast is a unique picture book that will be enduringly popular . . . Very highly recommended.”
Midwest Book Review

“Imaginative and fun, The Worst Breakfast is perfect for any picky eater out there. A rhyming scheme and inventive text kept up the giggles and the pace. The text is best read aloud going along with all of the suggestions, with emphasis placed on capitalized words and pauses between syllables when they are spaced out. The illustrations are very different than what you typically see in children’s books; they are bright and fun, but edgier and begged to be looked at deeper. You can spend time on each page trying to find each food and a series of silly little monsters.”
100 Pages a Day

“This book is just too much fun to read by yourself . . . This will be a story time mainstay for me. This would be great for a food story time . . . I was reminded of Sendak . . . This is a fun tale that’s sure to get the kids interacting during a story time. If you’ve got readers who enjoy gross humor—and who doesn’t?—this will build their vocabularies and make them howl with disgusted delight.”
Mom Read It


Interest level: 2–6 | Grade level: 3 | Lexile Level: AD510L | Guided Reading Level/F&P: O

Part of Akashic’s Black Sheep imprint.

Two sisters sit down one morning and begin describing all of the really gross things that were in the worst breakfast they ever had, until all they can picture is a table piled sky-high with the weirdest, yuckiest, slimiest, slickest, stinkiest breakfast possible. And then they have the best breakfast ever . . . almost.

Book Details

  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Published: 10/4/16
  • IBSN: 9781617754869
  • e-IBSN: 9781617755170


China Miéville is the author of numerous books, including The City & The City, Embassytown, Railsea, and Perdido Street Station. His works have won the World Fantasy Award, the Hugo Award, and the Arthur C. Clarke Award (three times). He lives and works in London. The Worst Breakfast is his latest work.

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Zak Smith is an artist who first came to prominence with his mammoth work Pictures Showing What Happens on Each Page of Thomas Pynchon’s Novel Gravity’s Rainbow. Smith’s paintings and drawings are held in major public and private collections worldwide, including the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art. He lives and works in Los Angeles and tries to answer all of his mail. With China Miéville, he is the cocreator of The Worst Breakfast.

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