Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Book #3: The Hungry Thing by Jan Slepian & Ann Seidler, Illustrated by Richard Martin

Recently my mom decided to clean out the attic and found the boxes of books she had saved from when my brother and I were little. When my parents came to visit for Thanksgiving, they brought those boxes up for us to go through. And that’s how I found book #3, a book I haven’t thought of in years.

The Hungry Thing is about a starving monster-thing, who looks like a cross between a dinosaur, a dragon, and a shark. I’ve never been quite clear on what the hungry thing is; just that he/she/it is very, very hungry. The hungry thing sits in the middle of town with a sign around its neck proclaiming “Feed Me” while the nervous townspeople ask it what it wants to eat. “Shmancakes!” The town wiseman proclaims shmancakes to be a “small chicken that falls with the rain.” Naturally, it’s up to a little boy to set all the silly adults straight, “Shmacakes… sound like Fancakes… sound like Pancakes!” Exactly what the hungry thing was craving! The hungry thing goes on to ask for tickles (pickles), feetloaf (meatloaf), foodles (noodles), and a host of other slightly mispronounced foods. When the thing is finally full, he smiles and reverses the sign on his neck, which now says “Thank You.”

Obviously, this book is great for a storytime about food or rhyming. Kids will quickly get the idea and if you leave a pause before saying the food, they’ll probably shout it out for you. I remember feeling so smart because I could figure out what the hungry thing meant when he cried “Gollipops!” (lollipops). It’s also a great one to memorize and tell without the book. My mother used to tell the story with a large pad of paper on an easel. If I remember correctly, each page had the mispronounced food written on the sheet. Then she would flip the page to reveal a picture of the food and the correct name. I seem to remember that she also wore a “Feed Me” sign around her neck. 

This could easily be turned into a flannelboard, could be done with each word on a large reversible poster board, or you could write the words on a whiteboard as you go along and then hold up a picture of each food. Afterwards it’s fun to have the kids think of more foods for the hungry thing (slamburgers, fretzels, mopsicles, ramwiches, etc.). I also love the activity posted on the Not Just Cute blog about reading the story and then introducing a hungry thing puppet that the children have to feed.

It’s a great book to pair with the song Willoughby WallabyWoo, which allows you to change the lyrics to rhyme with the names of all the children in your group (much easier to do if your kids are wearing name tags). If your kids are older or know each other, you might try singing the first part of the rhyme and then see if they can fill in the name. If you’re reading at home you can try the names of family, friends, pets, TV characters (I find the idea of an elephant sitting on Sponge Bob hilarious).

Willoughby wallaby woo,
An elephant sat on you!

Willoughby wallaby wee,
An elephant sat on me!

Willoughby wallaby Wacob,
An elephant sat on Jacob!

[Change the names to include all the children singing]

Willoughby wallaby woo,
An elephant sat on you!

Willoughby wallaby wee,
An elephant sat on me!

If The Hungry Thing is a hit, check out the sequel The Hungry Thing Returns. By now the hungry thing is a daddy? (or a mommy? Hard to tell) and brings it’s daughter to a school to be fed. The hungry thing wears his traditional “Feed Me” sign, while the daughter’s sign reads “Me too.” Of course the school kids have to figure out the rhyming foods.

2 comments:

  1. Amy, I love your blog! What a great idea, you'll be busy keeping it up! I love picture books, so I look forward to reading all your reviews. I put your site on the blogroll of my blog, rainyleaf.wordpress.com
    Happy posting!
    Elaine

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  2. Thanks Elaine! I think maybe all those hours we spent working at the bookstore are paying off :)

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