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The Runaway Dinner
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The Runaway Dinner

3.79 of 5 stars 3.79  ·  rating details  ·  321 ratings  ·  69 reviews
Talk about fast food! A hilarious, high-speed tale from the inimitable Allan Ahlberg — catch it if you can!

What happens if someone's dinner decides that, well, it doesn't want to be eaten? For a hungry little boy named Banjo and a savory sausage named Melvin, it's a plight that can only result in a breathless escape — and what a chase it is! Off speeds the sturdy sausage —
Paperback, 40 pages
Published August 12th 2008 by Candlewick Press (first published June 5th 2006)
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I am so not sure whether this book is just completely random and odd or whether it is some seriously genius imagination--I was amused and bemused all at the same time. Some parts seemed a bit redundant, but a few parts were hilarious (when the boy finds the runaway sausage by the tree in the park and plans to finish what he started... HAHA!) and a few parts were just so... um... well, the fate of the peas!? Then again, I could totally see kids loving this so maybe I'm just being a Big Boring Gro ...more
Well... huh. I can't decide if this book was absolutely absurd or totally brilliant...

The book is, really, a bunch of nonsense with no "purpose" or "message" that I can find. However, sometimes it's fun to read a book that's just meant to bring a smile and a laugh.

I shan't divulge the ending (which did have me guessing all the way to the very last page!) but I shall say this on the plus side: clever, well illustrated, amusing, unpredictable, funny, and entertaining.

On the negatives: Unfortunate
Matt Davies
A little boy's dinner runs away and he chases it across the road, waiting for the green light of course, and all the way through the park. Actually, that's not quite true. In fact the table and chair and knife and fork and his parents also chase the runaway dinner. And it was the sausage, Melvin by name, that started it all and who finally escapes with the cricket ball. This is a picture book with a lot of text, no really a lot of extremely verbose text, that has a very chatty feel to it, which ...more
Lisa Vegan
Mar 10, 2010 Lisa Vegan rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: children who enjoy the ridiculous
Completely bizarre.

This story is a complete hoot and both the story and pictures are very amusing. The illustrations work very well with this book, even though they’re not my favorite when standing on their own.

I think for children who are particularly empathetic, haven’t developed past the normal “psychotic” stage, or are very literal minded, after having this read to them, they might be a tad haunted by all of their food for a long time. It’s probably worth the read anyway though.

As a vegan, I
My second of the 'series' - though apparently this is the first, as we are introduced to Banjo & co. I see it as if Rene Magritte (is he the one I'm thinking of?) reworked The Gingerbread Man. Iow, surreal, with a significance that I'm sure is there but which I'm not catching. I'm going to read other reviews and suggest you do too. ;)
Hilarious use of rhythm and syntax. It reads as if someone were speaking and not writing the words. The story line is busy and funny. By giving nearly every object a name and gender, they are all personified and appeal to children. There are several clever plays on words, such as the French Fries having French names. I thought this was a very silly story and a lot of fun to read.
When I first heard my husband reading this book aloud to our son I thought it was dumb. Then I read it and looked at the pictures and really liked it. Funny, especially the names of the food. I thought the ending was kind of anticlimactic but the picture on the very last page made up for it pretty well. My three year old thought it was really funny.
Willie Butts
Picture Book
Ahlberg, Allan. The Run Away Dinner. Massachusetts: Candlewick Press, 2006
Genre: Children’s Books
This book tells the story of a boy name Banjo who is preparing to eat his dinner. After sitting at the table his sausage jumps up and starts s running away. All of the other food items and the table and chair follow the sausage out the door and the journey throughout the neighbor hood begins as Banjo chases them in an attempt to capture his dinner. Most of the food items get eaten or disa
Amusing story, if not quite as funny as I was expecting. This book seemed like a logical choice, after reading the hilariously funny Spoon by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. We've been reading a few Allan Ahlberg books, including for instance The Jolly Postman, which I can heartily recommend. I'm beginning to appreciate the recurring characters in many of Ahlberg's books, such as Each Peach Pear Plum and The Baby's Catalogue, although these have Ahlberg's drawings whereas this one does not. My son, like m ...more
Vicki Kier
A quirky take on the classic gingerbread boy tale, Ahlberg's rendering features a little boy Banjo, who takes off in pursuit of a cheeky sausage named Melvin after he escapes the dinner-plate one evening. Mayhem ensues as others, on and off the plate, follow Melvin's lead. Caution: although Ahlberg's outrageously long sentences drive the energetic flow of the text, and his excessive use of interrupting conjunctive adverbs is greatly responsible for the humor in this tale, some readers may find t ...more
Nov 03, 2011 Dolly rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
We've read several stories by Allan Ahlberg and we love the silliness and the funny twists and turns the stories take. This book was recommended by another reviewer here, so we decided to check it out. It is certainly an absurdly entertaining story and a lot of fun to read aloud. The illustrations are very comic and the narrative is strange, but in a very fantastic, tall tale kind of way. The anthropomorphism of the food could be disturbing, but we just found it to be funny. The story begs to be ...more
I haven't tried this with a class yet, but I think upper elementary students would get a big kick out of this story, especially since it's "true".
Julie Grasso
My 2 1/2 year old loves this book and I have to say it is growing on me, but I am at a loss as to why it is so lengthy. The premise is so witty and I love that in a kids book. We originally got this from the library and had to eventually put it on the Christmas list as it was requested so often. The illustrations are quirky and engaging, and as I said my little G loves it, so we will have to give it 4.5 stars, minus 0.5 for the excess word limit.
Now I'm going to name random items that I find around the house, especially if it's food! :-) Funny book.
Emily Farmer
Dec 04, 2012 Emily Farmer rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: 1st - 4th graders
Shelves: fantasy
Banjo a little normal boy was eating his sausage just like he normally does until his dinner ran away. He had to chase them down the street as veggies were getting eat and chairs were getting sat on. When Banjo was finally able to catch the sausage he couldn't eat it since it has been on the groud, so he ran off again. The story end with Banjo's food running away again! This is a clever written story where you can just hear someone telling this story. Everyone in the stroy has fun names and I ca ...more
This book was just a little too weird for me. It was essentially about nothing at all.
Hannah Jane
What I liked: Some of the illustrations were pretty darn funny. And the pea on the front reminds me of myself maybe. I think we can all see a little bit of ourselves in the pea. I also liked the name of the cat. Mildred has been added to my Names for Future Cats list.
What I didn't like: It was super choppy and kind of drawn out.

I might read this to a kid because I think we would end up talking about something else, like foods the kid doesn't like. And if my future kids like this I will not giv
Jessie Reed
This is a family favorite.
Sarah George
1) Genre: Picture Book
2) This picture book is about a boy who's dinner unexpectedly gets up and runs away. The boy is so hungry but now has to chase his dinner to eat it.
3) a. Humor
b. The humor within this story makes a somewhat strange idea very funny.
c. For example, the faces on the spoon and silver ware made the inanimate objects have life-like features.
4) I would use this story to teach story sequence, because the boy is running through the town and goes through sequences to reach his d
This books is awesome! Really funny, lyrical writing and illustrations you can really pour over. It's about a boy named freakin' BANJO and his dinner, which incidentally runs away. Hence the title. It's a retelling of an old story... but done better! And with some of the most clever illustrations I've seen. Lots of small but perfect details, like Banjo's Spiderman costume hanging on a clothesline in his backyard, seen as he's chasing after Melvin, the sausage that got away and started this whole ...more
Leke Akinyemi
I enjoyed this story. It was pretty abstract and quite unconvential. THe ocncept of dinner running away gave enough suspense as to what the outcome of the story would be. Though the outcome was pretty unfortunate for the cutlery, crockery and dining furntiture, Ahlberg managed to retain a wholesome atmosphere throughout the story.

Children may find it hard understanding the story so they may need some interactive annotating.
Poor Banjo. He sits down to eat his dinner, the same dinner he eats every night, at his own little table... and it runs away. All of it.

So we read through the whole chase scene, with every (named) bit of furniture or food either ending up happily escaped or unhappily eaten.

It's written in a very talking-aloud style, lots of little asides and such.

I really recommend this one.
Jillian Warren
My daughter brought this book home from her school library and it is an awful book for children. The idea is novel enough to interest children but it is an incredibly rough read because it doesn't follow the conventions of the English language. A child that is trying to read this book would have an awful hard time making sense of the words because it will sound strange to them. I don't recommend.
I just read this to the kids, they enjoyed it, but I loved it, the writing was really good, it was my kind of sense of humor, I was thinking that I would want to read more from the same author, keep in mind this was a kids illustrated book!
The three stars is because in the end there was no point to the book, nothing to learn!

It was just pure fun!
Blythe Jewell
Second only to The Pencil (another Ahlberg/Ingman book), this is one of my very favorite stories to read to my four-year old son. It's wonderfully written and drawn, a whimsical story, fantastically fun to read aloud, and interactive. I will treasure this book forever as something my son and I shared together.
Quite an oddball story. Light-hearted and fast-paced, the concept, illustration and dynamics are quite refreshing, silly even, and it's not one to easily be forgotten.
P.S. Some children may find the idea that the sausage is "running for his life" is upsetting. Others won't be fazed a bit.
This is an odd little book that I really enjoyed! Reminiscent of the gingerbread man stories, but also with a touch of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs whimsy thrown in!
I think this book's okay, but Sydney absolutely LOVES it! We got it from the library & she's already had us read it like 5x & normally we don't read library books more than once or twice, so therefore her asking for repeats is a glowing recommendation!
This one was a winner for my preschool daughter. It was ridiculous, unpredictable, and totally silly. She loved it. I enjoyed all the zany antics and the climax of the story when the Mom says "You can't eat that--It's been on the floor!" (just hilarious!).
Cole Finnian
Zoom crash crash bang. Cross the street at the crosswalk. Go. Stop. And crash. Go. Faster faster faster. You can do it, you can do it. Go go go go. Crash crash. Bang. Boom. Go go. Oh no. You can do it. Climb. Whew. Go. Faster. 50 miles per hour. Stop.
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Allan Ahlberg, one of the most acclaimed and successful authors of children's books - including the best-selling Jolly Postman series - says that he dreamed of becoming a writer since the age of twelve. But his route to that goal was somewhat circuitous.

Other jobs along the way included postman (not an especially jolly one, he recalls), gravedigger, plumber, and teacher.

The author wrote his firs
More about Allan Ahlberg...
Funnybones (Picture Puffin) The Pencil Please Mrs Butler Previously The Jolly Postman, or Other People's Letters

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