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Whenever I go travelling I try to get into what the locals are into, you know, “When in Rome” and all that so now that we are on a family trip to the U, S and A to visit my parents, I figured I could introduce you to some of America’s gifts to children’s literature.

On day two of our trip, Oma whisked Miss Mouse to her local library for a pre-school program of songs, crafts, stories and movement (see it’s really a learned behavior). She loves that stuff, it’s adorable to see and they were able to grab some great reads for bedtime and naptime so that we didn’t have to cart books with us (we already had to pay over-weight charges on our bag!)

Her new instant classic is a delightfully silly book called The Giant Meatball by Robert Weinstock (ISBN: 9780152055950, Harcourt, 2008) and I have to admit I look forward to reading it.

Cover Image Copyright@2008 Robert Weinstock

In this wonderfully absurd (well to adults anyway as to my daughter it makes complete sense) a narcissistic and vain giant pink meatball wrecks havoc on a snoozy little town, causing all sorts of chaos until the locals have enough.

I am enamoured with the words in this book, slightly silly, mostly high brow and the hilarious pictures.

I love that there is a diplomatic if slightly naïve mayor who tries to negotiate a peaceful coexistence of the provisional pest and the townsfolk and really believes that peace is possible (they should’ve got Hazel McCallion in there but I digress) and there are lovable local characters with clever names and jobs.

Plus, I love a completely satisfying ending….

This is a great tale to discuss bullying or anyone who loves all things Swedish!

Images & Text all Copyright@2008 Robert Weinstock

Another moral of this tale, that the world does not revolve around you, could not be more timely for a visit to the grandparents where I overhear conversations such as this:

OPA:  Emme, what’s my job?

EMME: To spoil Emme rotten!

OPA: You got it! Now where were those [insert treat item here]?

Weinstock is also probably the most likeable and self-deprecating American I have ever read about (at least according to his charmingly humble and hilarious bio on his fun website – how someone manages to insert the word lederhosen into their “About Me” section is downright impressive).

A graphic and web designer, former editor of children’s books and now author and illustrator I love that he admits to enjoying TV way more than books as a child and didn’t get into reading until way later in life (moral: don’t give up hope parents!) and that he describes himself as “boring”.

I find that rather hard to believe as I don’t think anyone such an imagination could be but what do I know, I’m just a Canadian!

And from what I overhear, from the inebriated college guys sitting behind us at the Stars vs. Leafs game on Friday night, Canada isn’t even part of the US!

Imagine my surprise! The things you learn when travelling abroad.


PS. I just realized I have no category for stories about giant meat…food for thought?!


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