Bad habits (or the taming of Lucretzia Crum) ISBN: 9780140564518
Published by Puffin, 1999
Lucretzia Crum is a typical Babette Cole monster! She has no inhibitions. She spits and farts and swears, she screams if she doesn't get her own way, and she refuses to eat anything that might be good for her. The trouble is, the other children enjoy all this and begin copying her. Everyone is appalled, and the other children's parents demand that Lucretzia's parents control her. Her father is a mad scientist, and he invents all sorts of weird and wonderful gadgets to stop her. Unfortunately, they don't last long, and when she demands a birthday party, her parents say, 'Of course, dear'. The party is a disaster. The children behave abominably - until the door opens, letting in a gang of large monsters, who wreck the party, eat all the food and snatch the presents. The children are appalled and frightened, and Lucretzia's parents explain that the monsters were once badly behaved children who grew up to be monsters. Everyone, including Lucretzia, decides they don't want to grow up like that, and they all become quite civilized. We find out that it was the parents dressed as monsters who have turned the trick! A truly funny, far-out tale with a moral.