PLANTZILLA by Jerdine Nolen


by & illustrated by
Age Range: 6 - 8
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“Little Shop of Horrors” for the teddy bear set? Not at all, despite similarities: in this warmhearted tale, a tropical plant with a taste for meat goes from scary houseguest to beloved family member. Nolen (Max and Jax in Second Grade, p. 342, etc.) sketches the plot in a series of letters from young Mortimer Henryson and his parents to Mortimer’s science teacher, Mr. Lester. Having sat next to “Plantcilia” all through third grade, Mortimer begs permission to bring it home for the summer, but after it proves to be both mobile and carnivorous (the family Chihuahua vanishes), his mother is beseeching Mr. Lester to take it back. With characteristic comic extravagance, Catrow (We the Kids, p. 564, etc.) fleshes out the details in a series of frenetic scenes increasingly crowded with long, snaky tendrils, ragged leaves, and bulbous green appendages with ominously toothy rims. As the summer goes on, however, Plantzilla proves less a menace than an eager asset, as capable of playing field hockey with Mortimer as jazz for his boogying parents—even spitting out the unharmed dog and, ultimately, writing a letter of its own: “PEEEple Gooood. I wil sta widdem fro ever!” Readers, plant-lovers or otherwise, will find this vegetative visitor taking root in their affections too. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-15-202412-3
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Silver Whistle/Harcourt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 2002


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