by Laurel Snyder
Illustrated by Chuck Groenink
ages 4 to 8
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 tale of moods from Laurel Snyder and Chuck Groenink offers a depiction of the beastliness that lives inside all of us—and the power we have to put it in its place.
With a twist of humor, the beastly nature comes out in all of its horribleness and breaks the normal mold of picture book material often seen today.
When Jim wakes up and hears his mother calling for breakfast, pancakes is the last thing he wants to eat. He feels beastly, and his stomach agrees. With a desire to devour far more than just a usual breakfast, Jim finds that no matter how much he tries to satisfy his beastly tummy, it demands more.
I wasn't sure what to expect when I picked up this one, and I'll admit that it left me a little surprised. It wasn't because I didn't like the tale...it is a treat!...but it doesn't follow the sweet, innocent, heavy, lovely message norms of modern picture books. In other words, it breaks past a few barriers and might even offend some adults. And it's good so! For what 'beastly' attitude sticks with prim-and-proper? The message is a little hidden but doesn't take much to realize what's being said. It does open up for discussions on how to deal with those more terrible feelings we might have—if the caretaker would like to do this.
When Jim devours his mother before heading out of the door, it's clear he's having an inner battle. Young listeners will feel his struggle and still gasp and giggle as he eats one thing/person after the next. The illustrations are well done and flow right with the story. Jim comes across as sweet despite his horrible urges. The twist at the end holds a little tension and more than a little surprise. It's sure to grab young listeners attention and have them demanding to hear the tale again.
And here the are...
Laurel Snyder is the author of many books for children, including the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award-Winning Charlie & Mouse. She lives and writes in a small yellow house in Atlanta, Georgia, which she shares with her husband and two sons.
Chuck Groenink hails from a village in the north of the Netherlands, where he spent his formative years clibing trees, drawing, reading, and cycling. He lives in Syracuse, New York.