In Durant's (Always and Forever) entertaining cautionary tale starring a picky eater, Benny's mother warns, "If you don't watch out, you'll turn into a burger one day." Sure enough, Benny does. In a comical Gingerbread Boy sequence, Benny ends up being chased up hill and down by a pack of hungry dogs, a herd of cows ("Don't you know what burgers are made of?" they moo) and even a gaggle of rowdy boys. When he finally finds refuge with the Bigga Burgers Restaurant manager, it's his mother who saves him from being exploited "That's no burger, that's my son!" Newcomer Matsuoka provides half the book's fun with her playful colored pencil, acrylics and cut-paper illustrations. Roly-poly Benny and his brown and yellow striped shirt slowly morph into a round mustard slathered burger with spindly legs. He desperately shouts, "I'm not a burger, I'm a boy!" to everyone he meets, but it's not until he starts eating his veggies that his plump bun-faced body returns back to normal. Benny's mother predicts that if he doesn't eat something besides veggies he'll turn into one, and Matsuoka pictures his orange pants elongating and his spikey hair turning green as a hungry rabbit hovers nearby. Durant's text is suitably fast-paced and efficient without a hint of didacticism, and Matsuoka's cheery illustrations brim with comical details in a book with its eat-right message served lightly on the side. Ages 4-7. (Oct.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature - Suzanna E. Henshon
Benny's favorite food in the entire world is hamburgers. He won't eat carrots, peas, lettuce, cauliflower, or other vegetables. One day his mother warns, "If you don't watch out, you'll turn into a burger one day." One afternoon after eating yet another burger at Bigga Burger, Benny becomes a boy-sized hamburger. He is chased by dogs, surrounded by angry cows, nearly eaten by a pack of hungry boys, and finally ends up on display at Bigga Burgers, where his mother rescues him. All this time, Benny cries, "I'm not a burger! I'm a boy! Leave me alone!" Parents and children will enjoy reading this humorous story together, and even the pickiest eater will take pleasure in following this burger boy through a wild adventure that leads Benny to a valuable lesson. Every parent who has ever begged a child to eat vegetables will find Burger Boy a fun read, and the illustrations by Mei Matsuoka add a special touch of humor. Alan Durant, who was shortlisted for the Kate Greenway Medal, has once again touched magic with this picture book.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-This rollicking British import takes the format of "The Gingerbread Boy" and turns it into a cautionary tale. Young Benny has never met a burger he didn't like; in fact, he will eat nothing else. After a steady diet of beef patties on a bun, he becomes one and finds himself being chased across the countryside by a pack of dogs, a herd of cows, and a group of hungry boys. He is finally saved from being a sideshow attraction at a burger franchise by his wise mother, who plies him with fruits and vegetables. The story is saved from a didactic and predictable ending by the warning that Benny should take care not to eat just vegetables, lest he finds himself transformed again. The simple lines and lively colors of the acrylic and colored-pencil illustrations add to the kid appeal. A fun addition to any library collection, Burger Boy perfectly suits a picky-eater-themed storytime that includes Russell Hoban's Bread and Jam for Frances (HarperCollins, 1964) or Mary Ann Hoberman's The Seven Silly Eaters (Harcourt, 1997).-Rita Hunt Smith, Hershey Public Library, PA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Fans of modern twisted tales rejoice: Young Benny doesn't like vegetables, but he LOVES burgers. In fact, he eats only burgers, every day and every meal. His mom warns, "If you don't watch out, you'll turn into a burger one day." And sure enough, Benny metamorphoses into a largish hamburger. To his horror, he is suddenly the focus of a pack of hungry dogs. Escape into a field of cows turns surreal when the cows remind Benny what he's made of. Next he happens upon a group of hungry boys and so, like the Gingerbread Man, he runs over hill and dale trying to escape a string of pursuers. Eventually saved by his mom, Benny dines solely on fruits and vegetables, and his body slowly reverts to normal. He vows never again to eat another burger, but with an exclusively vegetarian diet, could Benny be in for another shape shift? Embellished with eventful illustrations that are brimming with delightful comic details, this is a tasty and off-kilter romp. (Picture book. 4-7)
From the Publisher
"[An] entertaining cautionary tale." Publishers Weekly, Starred
"A tasty and off-kilter romp." Kirkus Reviews
"A fun addition to any library collection, BURGER BOY perfectly suits a picky-eater-themed storytime." School Library Journal
"Durant grills his text to perfection, seasoning his short, snappy sentences with repetition, cumulation, and exclamation." Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Cartoonlike collage illustrations are the perfect compliment for this cautionary tale...kids will giggle over the familiar admonition." Booklist, ALA
"Durant's writing has zest and is well supported by Matsuoka's...illustrations of the burger-ized Benny being chased all over town." Horn Book Guide