I learned about this wonderful book as per the recommendation of Carrie Gelson of There’s a Book for That. She is absolutely right in noting that this is a perfect companion book to Oliver Jeffers’ The Incredible Book-Eating Boy (which I reviewed here).
As I was reading this book, I thought that it would be a perfect read-aloud to young children this Halloween – who would most likely scream and screech as they are given dire warnings that this is not a well-behaved book – as it eats people! Talk about a ‘monster’ book in the literal sense of the word.
If you hear growling while you’re reading it, stop reading, close the cover, and put something heavy on top of it.
I love how this insatiable, forever-hungry book, is able to taste peanut butter (or popcorn, or nachos dipped in salsa, or chocolate chip cookies) on the fingers of children who may be flipping the pages of the book. It has vampire-like heightened sensitivities and awareness as it smells something yummy from a mile away – and is not above devouring its fellow books within the library if not properly shelved or left to its own devices in a forgotten table somewhere. I also enjoyed how crafty and stealthy it can be as could be seen in the image below (poor sweet little Victoria Glassford with the bright blue eyes and sun-kissed hair):
The illustrations are glorious – I love its scrap-book-y vibe and the collage artistic style is perfect for the sinister, fanged, ravenous feel of this continually-famished book (who by the way eats people). Whether this monstrous, bad bad book was tamed – at all, I shall leave for you to discover, dear friends.
For teachers who may want to make use of this book in their classrooms, here is a downloadable pdf link created by Stephanie McKoy of Reading Resources that you may want to check out as it includes printable question cards that can be used for discussion.
I particularly loved this video clip where the author himself John Perry insists that this book be banned immediately as it is irredeemable and a danger to others – perfect for Banned Books Week. Enjoy!
The Book that Eats People by John Perry and Illustrations by Mark Fearing. Tricycle Press, an Imprint of Ten Speed Press, 2009. Book borrowed from the public library. Book photos taken by me.
2012 North Carolina Children’s Book Award. AWB Reading Challenge Update: 107 (35)
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