j's Reviews > The Giant Jam Sandwich

The Giant Jam Sandwich by John Vernon Lord
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's review
Jun 27, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: 30-day-book-challenge, childhood

As a kid, I was pretty much fascinated with any book that had giant, colorful pictures of food, so it only makes sense that my two favorites were Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs and this, The Giant Jam Sandwich. Despite the more varied foodstuffs on display in the former, I have to give the edge to the latter, because it actually showed people making the giant food instead of just being pelted with it from above. Kids like to know the process, I guess.

So the idea here is that all these wasps have descended upon a sleepy hamlet like a biblical plague, and the best plan the townsfolk can come up with is to make a giant jam sandwich. This will attract all the wasps, who will be stuck in the jam, squished by the top piece of bread, and carted away. These people are to be praised for an environmentally friendly (though hardly cruelty-free) solution, even if it is a bit wasteful, considering the global starvation epidemic (possible metaphorical exploration for later: wasps = undesirable ethnic communities, story as gentrification parable?).

Making a giant sandwich isn't as easy as you'd think, though, and it is really a team effort: the dough-making operation fills an entire room, and later it is left to rise on flatbed trucks. An oven is constructed, the size of a warehouse. Jam is carted in dump trucks and spread over the bread with trowels. The top piece of bread is suspended in midair by helicopters, waiting for the trap to be sprung.

I probably liked this book because I liked sandwiches, so found the idea of a giant one quite appealing. Somehow, despite the presence of this image, which is really, really disgusting when you think about it:

It kind of reminds me of the time I went to Cedar Point amusement park on the one day of the year all the mayflies hatch. You could see big clouds of them roiling in the air, and sometimes while on the roller coasters, you would zoom through the swarms at 75 mph. So, keep that mouth closed. Might want to shut your eyes too.

Facebook 30 Day Book Challenge Day 21: Favorite picture book from childhood.
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Comments (showing 1-12 of 12) (12 new)

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message 1: by Ian (new)

Ian Gawd-dangit I love this book.

message 2: by j (new) - rated it 5 stars

j but not this review. :(

(just kidding.)

message 3: by Ben (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ben Dude! My favorite childhood book. AWESOME.

message 4: by j (new) - rated it 5 stars

j you have excellent taste.

message 5: by Ian (new)

Ian Joel wrote: "but not this review. :("

There, I've clicked "like" you dork! Better now?

message 6: by j (new) - rated it 5 stars

j no.

i floated it to fix the image by the way. people don't like me hotlinking.

message 7: by Ben (last edited Jun 29, 2011 05:55AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ben God, it's so nice seeing an illustration from this. I think I'm gonna nab it from the rents next time I'm home. Amazing how a simple illustration from childhood can induce floods of a rare type of feeling not known since -- well -- childhood. Lovely.

message 8: by j (new) - rated it 5 stars

j yeah, that's why i named this one my favorite versus cloudy with a cahnce of meatballs, which i actually like better. i read this one at a younger age and we had a copy (i just saw cloudy at school as a film strip), so it made a more indelible impression.

message 9: by Flannery (new)

Flannery Ew about the bugs. I love Cedar Point. I think there must've been a hole in my childhood reading history because I can't remember ever seeing this book, though I loved Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.

message 10: by j (new) - rated it 5 stars

j i don't think it was a touchstone the way CwaCoM was...

message 11: by Kammera (new)

Kammera OH YEAH! i worked there for several summers after highschool. We all call them muffleheads around here. Don't ask me why! After the park would spray every day, we would walk to our various jobs and see the huge mounds of dead mufflehead bodies. grossly fascinating

message 12: by j (new) - rated it 5 stars

j it didn't make for the best day at the park.

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