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THE HUNGRIEST BOY IN THE WORLD by Lensey Namioka

THE HUNGRIEST BOY IN THE WORLD

By Lensey Namioka (Author) , Aki Sogabe (Illustrator)

Age Range: 5 - 7

Pub Date: March 15th, 2001
ISBN: 0-8234-1542-2
Publisher: Holiday House

From the creators of The Loyal Cat (1995), a mild cautionary tale with a traditional Japanese setting. Young Jiro's bad habit of putting into his mouth any old thing that looks interesting comes home to roost when he swallows a "purple blob" that turns out to be the Hunger Monster. Suddenly, he's very, very hungry—to the point where not even a net, a bucket of fish guts, his quilt, a pillow, a doctor's box of medicine, or a priest's beads are safe. What's his family to do? Using strong, dark lines of cut paper and subtly modulated colors, Sogabe offers uncrowded, sharply detailed scenes of a chubby-cheeked lad cheerfully stuffing his face as worried or dismayed adults look on. Jiro's brother Taro provides the solution at last; tying Jiro to a nearby post, the family lays out a feast, then invites a puppet master to bring one of his beautiful creations to "enjoy" it. Unbearably tempted, the Hunger Monster leaps from Jiro's mouth to the puppet's—and falls through to the ground. Other renditions of the "Fat Cat" story, such as Ginsburg's Clay Boy (1997) or Hardendorf's Slip, Slop, Gobble (1970) can be frightening to younger children; here the monster, seen at last on the final page, is decidedly unthreatening. Yummy. (Picture book. 5-7)