Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Giant Jam Sandwich

The Giant Jam Sandwich
story and pictures by John Vernon Lord
verses by Janet Burroway
Houghton Mifflin, 1975


If your library doesn't have an online "on hold" mechanism, you should really drop them a line and tell them to get with the program. I love browsing the shelves at our gorgeous Landa Library, but when you are in want of something specific, I hate looking it up only to find out it is across town at another branch. The San Antonio Library system allows you to log on and place a book on hold and pick which location you want the book delivered to. It's awesome. CDs... movies... books. When I hear about a book that intrigues me that I have to see right now, I used to log on and buy it no matter what the cost, but far too many times I ended up with books my son didn't really like. Since times are tight and the economy is in a shambles, I've been more selective about my online purchases, and have been using the library hold system whenever I can. Then, once we've had a chance to get to know each other better, I can make my purchase.Which brings me to the review today, one of a handful I ordered online this week. Probably more than any other book, The Giant Jam Sandwich gets suggested to me the most. It seems everyone has fond memories of the town that build a huge "and J" to control its wasp population. I didn't recognize it from the title, but once I saw the drawings, I do have vague memories of reading this book at the library when I was wee. And all I can say is, wow.

One hot summer in Itching Down,
Four million wasps flew into town.
They drove the picnickers away,
They chased the farmers from their hay,
They stung Lord Swell on fit fat bald pate,
They dived and hummed and buzzed and ate,
And the noisy, nasty nuisance grew
Till the villagers cried, "What can we do?"


The villagers do the only logical thing they can do and make a giant jam sandwich from scratch with which to lure and ultimately capture the offending creatures. My son thinks the whole thing is hysterical and particular loves the end when the sandwich is carted off by (of course) a flock of hungry birds. I'm not sure why it took me so long to look this one up, but now that I've seen it, I'm off to purchase a copy of my very own, for sure. Having been in print for more than 30 years, it shouldn't be too hard to find.

8 comments:

Pardon My French said...

Hm. I am sure I read that when I was teaching, and may even have a copy somewhere. Good luck with the search; I'm sure it's definitely findable.

Cissy said...

This pick reminds me of elementary school. I think it was part of the ubiquitous mail-order book club. Strange that I haven't read it to my children yet.

Emily Harris said...

I just stumbled upon your blog through Stickers and Stuff (one of my favs!). Your blog is great-I am so obsessed with all things vintage and children's books in particular!

I have heard so much about this Jam Sandwich book but have yet to read it. I heart Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and this looks somewhat similar.

scribbler said...

You know. Sometimes I hesitate to do reviews on stuff that is too popular, forgetting that everyone is not as research-ish as me and might need a blog post to help them along in remembering.

Nan said...

Maybe devote one day every two weeks to a book you think is popular - chances are some of us will have missed 'em. For instance I have never picked up a copy of "Where the Wild Things Are."

(Just scooted over to the SAPL and put that and Giant Jam Sandwich on hold.)

Thanks for such a fabulous blog. I love to come over here and let my mind delight.

Roberta said...

This was one of my favorites as well...got it from the library to read to my 4 year old recently and fell in love with it all over again.

I also had a memory of another book from about that same time in my own childhood--The Clay Pot Boy--I just ordered it online and it came yesterday and my son LOVES it--wondered if you had reviewed? It is out of print but I did find a copy for sale that had been withdrawn from a library.

I also found a used and vintage bookstore near my office recently that has a children's section--and inspired by your blog, picked up a few for my own kids!

Anonymous said...

This book is available at Barnes and Noble. My oldest little boy would run in to my mom's house and grab this book first thing, every visit. When she passed away, it went to its rightful owner, my brother. I ran right to a book store and picked up a copy for my boys. We love it!

Anonymous said...

I loved reading this book as a child. I think it belonged to my brother. Now as a school counselor, I read it to my classes. Every October we talk about Cooperation so every couple of years (so it doesnt' repeat for any classes) I read it to our 2nd and 3rd graders and we look at all of the examples of cooperation and teamwork. The kids love to hear the story. For me, seeing the pictures that I remember from my childhood takes me back.

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