Monday, September 23, 2019

Review - Hungry Jim

Hungry Jim
by Laurel Snyder
illustrated by Chuck Groenink
Date: 2019
Publisher: Chronicle Books LLC
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 56
Format: e-book
Source: library

When Jim wakes up one Tuesday morning, he doesn't feel like eating his pancakes. In fact, Jim doesn't feel like Jim. He feels rather, well, beastly. But he is hungry. Very hungry....This clever and relatable tale of moods from Laurel Snyder and Chuck Groenink offers a lighthearted depiction of the beastliness that lives inside all of us—and the power we have to put it in its place. Surprising yet satisfying, this richly illustrated book brims with humor that readers of all ages will be roaring to devour.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

Maybe this is supposed to be about hunger... but I don't like the way it's handled. The child learns nothing, other than to give in to his hunger. Even if that means that others have to be eaten.

I suppose Jim is so hungry that he feels like a beast (so he envisions himself as a lion). His mother offers him pancakes, but Jim is too hungry for those. So he eats his mother instead. (Yikes.) Then he goes on a rampage through town, eating a dog and dog-walker, an old lady, a little girl, and the entire contents of a butcher shop. But he's still hungry. So he runs into the woods to grouse at his still-growling stomach. There, he meets a bear who threatens to eat him. But Jim eats the bear first. Finally sated, he returns home, barfing out the various people he consumed along the way. When he gets back to his room, he pukes up the bear. But the bear's pissed, so Jim has to eat him again. Then he's hungry for pancakes.

I don't even know what to make of this. On the surface, it's silly and kids might like it. But I bet psychologists could have a field day with this one. What's the symbolism behind devouring and then regurgitating one's own mother?

This one just isn't for me. I'm sure it will tickle some readers, but I found it a little disturbing. Jim doesn't even try to control himself. What other types of hunger will he give in to as he grows older?

Premise: 2/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 3/5
Illustrations: 3/5
Originality: 3/5

Enjoyment: 1/5

Overall Rating: 2.17 out of 5 ladybugs

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