Children's LiteratureJiro is a Japanese boy who lives with his family in a fishing village near the Inland sea. He is a good boy with one bad habithe will put anything in his mouth: seaweed, seashells, pebbles. One day Jiro makes a big mistake, when he puts the Hunger Monster in his mouth and accidentally swallows it. Now he is not only putting things in his mouth, he is eating everything in sight: His sister's sushi, his father's fishing nets, even his own sleeping quilt. Jiro's frightened family calls for help from the doctor, the priest and even a woman who speaks to the spirits. Nothing they do seems to help...until they come up with a clever plan to trick the Hunger Monster out of Jiro's mouth. But will it work before Jiro's family are literally eaten out of house and home? Young readers will enjoy finding out. The story in this nicely illustrated book has a gentle, folktale feel. Aki Sogabe's humorous artwork uses the subdued colorations, aerial perspective and patterned detail of traditional Japanese woodcuts. 2001, Holiday House, $16.95. Ages 4 to 8. Reviewer: Dianne Ochiltree
School Library Journal - School Library JournalK-Gr 3-Jiro, a Japanese boy, has a bad habit. He puts everything in his mouth, be it seashells, seaweed, or sushi. When the child accidentally swallows the Hunger Monster, his troubles and readers' fun begin. Jiro's appetite runs rampant, and he consumes everything from fish guts and netting to his own bed quilt. His parents frantically seek assistance from the doctor, the village priest, and a medium, as Jiro snacks on the doctor's medicines, the priest's prayer beads, and the medium's hair. The situation eventually reaches a clever and happy solution. The story is told economically but with wit and humor. Sogabe's illustrations, created using cut paper over rice paper that has been colored by airbrush or watercolor, complement the text with their elegant simplicity. Pair this tale with Jim Aylesworth's The Full Belly Bowl (Atheneum, 1999) for a discussion of the hazards of excess, incorporate it into multicultural units, or enjoy it for sheer fun.-Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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