CM . . . . Volume XVI Number 17. . . .January 8, 2010.
Monster Lunch. (Orca Echoes).
Pat Skene. Illustrated by Graham Ross.
Victoria, BC: Orca Books, 2008.
59 pp., pbk., $6.95.
Children’s stories, Canadian (English).
Stories in rhyme.
Grades 1-4 / Ages 6-9.
Review by Lisa O’Hara.
Monster Lunch is a collection of poems by Pat Skene. Each poem is related in some way to food, and each one is followed by a Q&A with the main character or with facts related to the poem. The poems, themselves, are appealing and funny, and they cover such varied topics as a lunch with Frankenstein, a modern take on nursery rhymes, a grumpy gardener and a really bad-tempered birthday girl. The Q&A section answers lots of questions, such as, “What are curds and whey?” and “What’s the difference between Angel Food Cake and Devil’s Food Cake?”
So now this grumpy garden-dude,
is really into growing food.
I grew a cuke –– big as a log!
I grew a gourd –– shaped like a hog!
I tried to plant a pizza crust,
but all I got was dirt and dust.
Now just how tricky could it be
to grow a pepperoni tree?
This poem is followed by interesting information, such as the fact that a radish is the fastest growing vegetable, how to plant potatoes, how ladybugs and toads actually help a garden grow by eating bugs that would eat your plants, and more.
Pat Skene’s poems and information are enjoyable reads, both funny and informative. They can be read as a book, or poem by poem as time permits; these would be great in a classroom for when the teacher has a few free minutes (before the bell rings or otherwise). Graham Ross’s pen and ink illustrations are liberally scattered throughout the book and are a humorous accompaniment to the poems.
Lisa O’Hara is a librarian and mother of three in Winnipeg, MB.
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