Oodles of Noodlesby Diana Hendry, Sarah Massini (Illustrator)
Ava & Ben's mom has a new pasta-making machine which means they can enjoy noodles every which way, but the machine seems to have a mind of its own & it starts working all by itself, cranking out oodles of noodles until the whole house becomes engulfed & spills out into the street. Can Ava & Ben stop the mischievous pasta maker?
In the traditional tale of "The Magic Porridge Pot," a kind old woman teaches a young girl the magic words to utter to start and stop an enchanted pot providing food. Hendry's story is more or less the same, but the magic is not explained. Mrs. Mungo receives a pasta-making machine for her birthday and is thrilled at the prospect of making noodles. Her children prefer burgers and fries, but their mom perseveres. While they are at school, she starts up her gift, predicting, "I'll soon have oodles of noodles." It is then that the contraption suddenly begins its nonstop production. Noodles wrap around the woman's body, fill the house, and slither down the streets, all the way to the children's school. Somehow, they sense that their mother needs them and they run home just in time to find her "totally noodled." Ben, inexplicably, knows that a magic phrase will stop the machine and comes up with the right one. Massini's eye-catching full-spread illustrations are reminiscent of art in the 1960s and are somewhat humorous. However, some children may find a few of the pictures of the machine a bit menacing. All in all, by not informing readers/listeners of the magical background, the story feels as though something is missing. A recent, more complete version of the tale can be found in Hugh Lupton's The Story Tree (Barefoot, 2001).-Mary N. Oluonye, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH
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