Spider Sandwiches by Sue Hendra and Claire Freedman
Christmas has come early! Two of the biggest and most colourful-est poeple in the picturebook world have combined otgteher to create a smorgasboard of brightly coloured grossed-out goodies!
Max loves all things gross, gooey, gunky and gloopy. He loves to munch on squidged grasshopper legs, lice and toenails but what he really loves to get his choppers round are spider sandwiches! Munching and crunching, snapping, guzzling, there’s nothing too horrible for Max to gobble … or is there?
It’s easy to see the influence of both writers in Spider Sandwiches, not just in the bold bright and vibrant illustrations but also in the way the words are great fun to read aloud. The names of all the slimy foostuffs trip off the tongue (even if they turn the stomach) so that even the most timid of narrators can get drawn in and read aloud enthusiatically. You can really have fun playing with the story as you read it to your class – certainly I have been when reading it aloud to younger visitors in my workplace! It’s become a bit of a competition as to who can look more revolted, me or my listeners!
Cockroach curry is one of my favourites at the moment (and it’s not just because two of the little beasties are having fisticuffs in the corner of the page).
Then again, every time I reread it I find something else to appreciate (if that’s the right word for dreadful dinners) on a different page. I’m very fond of the multi-coloured lice rice that wander over the page from Max’s plate, and the picnic with Max’s friends looking on over their cupcakes as he slathers his crackers with fisheye cheese.
It strikes me that you could easily make more of this book than just a fun gross-out read at bedtime or at the end of the schoolday. You could turn it into a food project, with everyone designing their own yucky food (the moo-goo globs Max is so fond of could easily be impersonated by marshmallows after an attack of the food dye) and making up a class menu. Maybe you could try it out on another class, turn it into one big monsteriffic school picnic?
When I have a Year One class visit I usually do an activity I call the Witch’s Brew (in fact I did it this last World Book Week) which involves drawing the ingredients you’d put into your own witchy cauldron (usually after a quick read of Winnie the Witch or such like to get us in the mood). I think this book could very easily be making it into my repertoire, especially if I have a school that likes to avoid menton of things like witches and Halloween when they come to visit. Max’s dinner menu could be just the thing to give the recipe idea a twist!
Regardless of whether you take Max’s gastronomic adventures any furthur, it’s still fantastic fun to read and certainly worth adding to your library (if not your cookbook collection)!
Find Spider Sandwiches here.