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The Giant Jam Sandwich

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  2,505 ratings  ·  182 reviews
It's a dark day for Itching Down. Four million wasps have just descended on the town, and the pests are relentless! What can be done? Bap the Baker has a crazy idea that just might work . . .

Young readers will love this lyrical, rhyming text as they watch the industrious citizens of Itching Down knead, bake, and slather the biggest wasp trap there ever was! John Vernon
Paperback, 32 pages
Published April 27th 1987 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published 1972)
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Average rating 4.24  · 
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 ·  2,505 ratings  ·  182 reviews

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OMG! How have I not known about this book? This is a story about giant food and it beat 'Cloudy with a chance of Meatballs' by 4 years. This book enchanted me and has been soaked in Cupids arrow juice for I fell in love with this story. It is so cute, so whimsical, and surreal.

A town is attacked by wasps, about 4 million. The story is told in verse, love it. The town has a meeting and the baker comes up with the answer. They will use bread and strawberry jam to trap them. You should see them
Jun 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
What a funny verse story about a giant jam sandwich that is made and used because of an invaded by wasps. Nice 70 ties like drawings and good imagination for the story.

This book is in the 1001 Children's Books You Must Read Before You Grow Up challenge I am doing.
Kate Sarkar
Sep 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
One hot summer, the poor villagers of Itching down are bombarded with wasps. Three million to be precise. These pesky stingers wreak havoc in the town, until something has to be done.. It is decided that a giant jam sandwich be constructed, to lure and trap the naughty nuisances in. This, however proves to be no mean feat. The villagers must all take part at various stages to pull the plan off successfully. Mayor Muddlenut gathers suggestions, Baker Bap orders the making of the bread, Farmer ...more
Jun 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
Another childhood classic that sticks with you even long after you have read this book. Children who are learning to read will enjoy this book and watching the means to making such big food for such a witty trap.

The illustrations were intriguing mostly in their own right since the people presented were given in such weird facial shapes that it was easy to follow along with the different members of the town. And the wasps? They were fun to track all over the page, especially where they seem to
Welcome to Itching Down.
take a journey to a flustered town.

The citizens have a problem:
little wasps swarm everywhere.
So the people decide to build a sandwich
that will rid these bugs from their hair.

The loaf of bread is huge.
The jam is sticky and sweet.
The insects saw a banquet
and landed on it with their feet.

And splat!

Three survived and took off for who-knows-where,
but the people no longer care.
So welcome to Itching Down.
A now very happy town.
Oct 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The Giant Jam Sandwich by John Vernon Lord

The town of Itching Down has been swarmed in by four million wasps. They cause havoc and cause misery to the villagers. However, Bap the baker comes up with a wacky idea, of constructing a jam sandwich to lure and trap the naughty nuisances in. But this can only be done with the help of all the villagers to create the biggest jam sandwich, which they all agree to. Bap the baker orders the making of the bread and Farmer Seed allows his field to be used as
Skye Kilaen
May 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
The town of Itching Down has a problem. It's been invaded by wasps. After a community meeting, it's decided the ONLY logical way to handle this is to make a giant jam sandwich to trap the wasps. Strangely, I have not tried this at our house (though wasps love to build nests on our front porch), but the book is extremely funny, especially the various characters and the creative problem-solving the town has to use to make their project a reality. Fans of British humor should pick this one up.
Aug 04, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: EVERYONE ON EARTH
This is seriously one of the best books ever. I read it while I was visiting the Museum of Play with Rup in Rochester, and the title caught my eye. It is FANTASTIC. It's a picture book that tells the story of a bunch of townspeople who have a problem with something like four million wasps, and one brilliant person has the idea of producing a giant jam sandwich to trap all the wasps. Could there possibly be a better idea for a book???? I don't think so. Winner.
May 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I completely by accident found this book at the library & was so excited! I loved this book as a child! And I'm happy to report that I still do 😊
Feb 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
this was one of my favorite books as a child. I loved looking at the detailed illustrations and finding all of the villagers at work and play. An AWESOME children's book!!!
First sentence: One hot summer in Itching Down, Four million wasps flew into town.

Premise/plot: I would NOT want to be in Itching Down when FOUR MILLION wasps flew into town. I wouldn't want to be there for even ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND wasps. Would you? This classic picture book is told in rhyme. Though the situation is far from ideal, the text is DELIGHTFUL.

My thoughts: I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this one. It is so much fun. I love the rhythm and rhyme of it. From cover to cover it just works. Not all
Gabrielle Sandford-Marshall
Jul 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Giant Jam Sandwich is such a lovely book, perfect for incorporating algorithms/computing work into English (e.g. Jam Sandwiches and instructional writing). A funny story with illustrations - ideal for KS1
Aug 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Charming illustrations and story by John Vernon Lord, about a town that vanquishes a plague of wasps, with a giant jam sandwich. The verses are by Janet Burroway and they are fun to read.
Kathleen Dixon
Aug 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Kathleen by: the Bookshop
Shelves: children-s
Believe it or not, I'd never read this book before today. I've known of it, I could tell you the author, but I've not ever sat down (or even stood at the shelf) and read it cover to cover. It doesn't even have that many pages!

Well, I've read it now, and I'm borrowing a copy from the library to read to my grandchildren. They will have lots of fun looking at all the characters in the village, and they will enjoy the story.
Aug 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
If I had to choose on of my favorite books growing up, this one would be in the top 5. I remember pulling it off the shelf and noticing the edges were a little worn and the spine was a little loose. This is a great story about all the people pulling together to make a GIANT jam sandwich to trap the nasty wasps that were terrorizing them. They could not fix the problem one man alone but together, they were able to bake a huge loaf of bread. Together they were able to churn a massive amount of ...more
Nov 08, 2009 rated it really liked it
There's not much to say that hasn't been said. A zillion and a half wasps invade the town of Itching Downs (really, with a name like that, what do you expect? So it's not a waspish sort of town, the wopsies clearly think it is!), and, having apparently depleted the options of "evacuate" and "wait for the first killing frost" and "use up our hoarded stores of illegal DDT" the townspeople decide to get rid of the wasps with - get this - a GIANT JAM SANDWICH. (You didn't see that one coming, did ...more
Feb 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens-books
Apparently this book has been around longer than I have, but it took me this long to find it! This is a terrific childrens book! It was enjoyable for me, at least as much as it was for my kids when we read it together (maybe more!). The rhyming couplets are fantastic, the meter is perfect and the words trip right off your tongue when read aloud. The story is fantastical - wasps invade the town and the only way to get rid of them is to trap them in a GIANT JAM SANDWICH! - of course! The images ...more
Apr 27, 2015 rated it liked it
This book is about a town who was infested by four million wasps, who were quite a nuisance. So they made a huge loaf of bread, and they cut a slice, put jelly on it, and as soon as the wasps were all stuck in the jelly, they put a slice of bread on top. They fixed the problem.
This book was great! The pictures look a little old, but the story is cute. All the townspeople look a little crazy, but they were smart when they came up with their excellent plan. The text fits perfectly with the
Jan 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s
"An oldie but a goodie." Good for asking questions and making will they catch the wasps? How will they make a sandwich big enough? Will it work? What will happen to the sandwich after they catch the wasps? I actually learned a new vocabulary word from this book. It was a good opportunity to teach Mackenzie how to use the context and the pictures to figure out a word we didn't know. Plua a good discussion of how to look words up in a dictionary. The word was "pate" which is the ...more
Mar 22, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
Shelves: childrens, favorites, 2010
I remember this book so completely vividly from my childhood. I have no idea how many times I read it, but it must've been several, since the images are so ingrained in my head. I had forgotten about this book and when I discovered it on the shelf at the "Kids for All Seasons" camp at the Four Seasons resort at Manele Bay on Lana'i, I was soooo excited to read it to our girls. Just a simple, fantastic story about a sandwich solution to a large pest problem. But indeed, I felt like I was sharing ...more
Aug 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The town of Itching's that delightful musical word use that makes this my all time favorite children's book! The colorful prose is only bolstered by the whimsical arwhork in this book. I just recently retold this story to a friend's daughter as we watched a few pesky wasps while on vacation. The story is simple and practical, and yet seems impossible and amazing as a child! It was such a part of my childhood memories, that I searched out two copies for my sons ( it is out of print). ...more
Nov 26, 2015 added it
Shelves: 2015
My brother was raving about this book the other day as apparently he had and loved it as a child. My sister and I didn't remember it but both thought it sounded familiar when he described the plot. And apparently my nephew (6 weeks old as of this writing) would really like it as a Christmas present so I bought it for him and couldn't resist a read. It's cute and fun. I think I'm going to like having a nephew to read kids books too.
Oct 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is a classic in the canon of children's literature and picture books. It tells the story of how, as a collective, the people of Itching Down solve the problem of a wasp invasion. The verses are catchy and children always like the sense of rhythm that the bring but it has always been John Vernon Lord's coloured ink and crayon pictures that always captured me. So many little stories taking place and a proper sense of middle-England feel to it.
Nov 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Haha, I love this book! Throughout this class, looking through books, I keep seeing books that I remember loving... for no apparent reason. This book, was one of those. It's rhyming, it's silly, and has great illustrations. I think this book would be great to read to any elementary class, it's just fun! The enemy is a wildly-disliked creature, wasps; and the heroes are townspeople. A very simple, yet outrageous book.
I see this on the shelves and my childhood launches itself at me. I loved this story. I still love this story. It has the logic of a child and so it makes utter complete sense. Still makes me a bit peckish tho......
Both boys loved it - laughed and puzzled about the logistics through the whole thing. Still perfectly logical to them.
A thought the tractor/helicopter was brilliant and C loved the image of the wasps all 'jammed' together. Knew they'd love it!
Jan 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
My seven year old brought this book home from the school library-- we enjoyed it the first time when he read it to me, but the vocabulary in it is extensive (and excellent!), and we couldn't resist having me read it back to him immediately after so that we could enjoy the delightful rhythm. Not only is the poem/ story well written, but the pictures are fantastically funny in a "How the Trollusk Got His Hat" kind of way and we loved really looking through them to see what was going on.
Jul 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Great book! I enjoyed it when I was a child, now I read to my son who also loves it. It has a great rhythmic pattern throughout the book which makes it an enjoyable and fun read. The author has an interesting idea to get rid of wasps in their small town. The story and illustrations have led to many interesting and inquisitive discussions between my son and I.
Aug 26, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I squealed when I ran across this at our library. My Mom used to read this to my sister and me when we were younger, and I couldn't wait to share it with Jordan as well. Just as I remembered, the views of the giant pieces of jammed bread made me yearn for a post-story snack (before the wasps arrive, of course!).
Apr 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-ya
Another of the children's book I still own that I read to my children so many times. I can still recite many of the rhymes in my head. My daughter recently said she remembers loving it; she is in her 40s now. I love these books written in rhyme with colorful stories and beautiful illustrations in color. This is a classic.
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