Book Review: Giant Meatball
By Robert Weinstock
Harcourt Children’s Books
Note to authors: if you’re looking for a way to make your upcoming children’s book appeal to kids who dig the absurd, make your main character a food. It worked for “Arnie the Doughnut“. Honestly – is there a more surefire way to communicate that your story is out to have a good time? In the opinion of this simple librarian, no. “Giant Meatball” is an oddball of a book with a surprise ending that will score points with fans of silly.
The titular Meatball has been keeping to himself for years. He doesn’t know where *ahem* “whence” he came from, but he doesn’t seem to mind. Content bounding around the countryside, Meatball merrily destroys everything in his path. The townspeople try the polite approach to get him to stop, but when Meatball brings his brand of oblivious havoc-wreaking into the middle of town, they plead with the mayor to put an end to things. After the meeting between Meatball and the mayor doesn’t go as planned (see: squashed), the townspeople kick politeness to the curb. They fix up a dinner with an unconventional main dish. One that is usually served in a supporting role. With spaghetti. Hint: it’s round.
In other words, the ending has some guts.
The Adobe Illustrator and prismacolor pencil illustrations provide an appropriate element of breeziness to the tale. While it’s not perfect (I’m talking about you “shushing librarian” stereotype), “Giant Meatball” will make a jovial addition to your library.
Find this book at your local library with WorldCat.
(ImagesÂ Â© Robert Weinstock)
Filed under: Reviews
About Travis Jonker
Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at email@example.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.
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