This week’s review is of a children’s classic title many of my parents of children may recognize. The library has had it most recently with an audio cassette companion, but we have decided to simply replace the original title with a new printing. The Giant Jam Sandwich by John Vernon Lord tells the tale of the unfortunate town of Itching Down, all in rhyming verse.
One day out of the blue the town is attacked by a swarm of four million wasps. No one knows where they came from, but they’re not leaving! The town is at a loss – no one can take picnics, farm their fields, or even walk in their gardens. At a town meeting a brilliant idea is posed by the baker. Wasps like jam sandwiches at picnics, so why not build a giant jam sandwich and trap all the wasps at once? The town comes together in record speed to implement the idea, with farmer seed supplying the field. The dough is mixed and the mountain of a loaf of bread is baked in an old mill. After carefully taking two slices with a giant saw the sandwich is laid out on a giant green and white checkered picnic cloth. The author doesn’t say where the enormous amounts of butter and strawberry jam come from, but by this time most kids will be more worried to see if the wasp lure works. The trap works and the villagers don’t even have to worry about carting the sandwich away – a flock of birds carried off their feast, which as the story says will last for a hundred weeks.
If your young reader likes this story, be sure to check out Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs and its sequels by Jill Barnett, or some of the picture books by Chris Van Allsburg, especially Just a Dream.
You can get the book reviewed here and more great titles to watch, read, listen to, or play with at the Port Library at 1718 N. Hersey in Beloit.