Plantzilla

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When Mortimer's parents allow him to bring home Mr. Lester's seemingly innocent classroom plant for vacation, he finds that when you give a living thing love, you just don't know where it will lead!

Mortimer Henryson loves Plantzilla, the plant he's been taking care of all year in his third-grade classroom. He loves him so much, he takes him home for summer vacation. What could go wrong with a . . . plant? But life in the Henryson household ...
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Overview

When Mortimer's parents allow him to bring home Mr. Lester's seemingly innocent classroom plant for vacation, he finds that when you give a living thing love, you just don't know where it will lead!

Mortimer Henryson loves Plantzilla, the plant he's been taking care of all year in his third-grade classroom. He loves him so much, he takes him home for summer vacation. What could go wrong with a . . . plant? But life in the Henryson household soon takes a strange turn. A pot roast disappears, then steaks from the grill—and where has Mrs. Henryson's prize Chihuahua gone?

In this hilarious story told ingeniously through letters, Jerdine Nolen and David Catrow team up to show that when there's enough love, even the most unlikely character can become part of a family.

Author Biography: JERDINE NOLEN is the author of Raising Dragons , illustrated by Elise Primavera, which won the Christopher Award and was a Smithsonian Magazine Notable Book for Children. Her Harvey Potter's Balloon Farm was a made into a Hallmark Hall of Fame network movie, which is currently available on video. She lives in Maryland.

David Catrow has illustrated many books for children, including Cinderella Skeleton by Robert San Souci and The Emperor's Old Clothes by Kathryn Lasky, which was a New York Times Best Book of the Year. He lives in Ohio.

In a series of letters a boy, his science teacher, and his parents discuss the progress of a very unusual, sometimes frightening, plant that becomes more human as the summer progresses.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A class plant develops a taste for meat. "Nolen delivers another picture book with a far-out premise and plenty of heart," PW said in a starred review. "Catrow's exuberant vine of a plant creeps and curls from spread to spread, like an exotic jungle creature." Ages 5-8. (Aug.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-At the end of the school year, Mortimer takes a plant home from his third-grade classroom. Throughout the summer, Plantzilla continues to grow and Mortimer continues to love and nurture it. Strange things ensue. His quiet, boring, well-ordered household, complete with well-mannered cat and prize-winning Chihuahua, is totally disrupted: the plant starts to grow tentacles and to eat meat (the dog disappears) and perform all sorts of amazing feats. The boy's parents begin to worry, but the protagonist is delighted with his clever plant. The text is all in the form of letters-from Mortimer to his teacher describing the progress of his plant, from Mortimer's mother to Mr. Lester complaining about it, and from Mr. Lester to each of them. Catrow's watercolor-and-pencil illustrations spill across the pages, creating a marvelous sort of ubiquitous vine with tendrils curling all around, each one doing something different. The dog, cat, and several squirrels romp in its branches, and Mortimer dances and plays with his friend, who eventually becomes almost human and very benevolent. This humorous story may be shared with a group but will be best savored by individual readers who will have fun absorbing the wildly imaginative illustrations close up.-Judith Constantinides, formerly at East Baton Rouge Parish Main Library, LA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
From the Publisher
"Nolen delivers another picture book with a far-out premise and plenty of heart."
Publishers Weekly

"A terrific story about caring and friendship."—The MetroWest Daily News
"Witty and clever . . . delightfully quirky."—The Horn Book Guide

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780152024123
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 9/28/2002
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: 460L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 12.26 (w) x 9.24 (h) x 0.41 (d)

Meet the Author

JERDINE NOLEN is the author of Raising Dragons, which won the Christopher Award. She lives in Maryland.

DAVID CATROW has illustrated many books for children, including I Ain't Gonna Paint No More! and I Like Myself! He lives in Ohio.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2013

    I homeschool my children, ages 4 and 9, and I found this book on

    I homeschool my children, ages 4 and 9, and I found this book online while researching plant science for our home studies. I read that it was great for interesting kids in how plants grow and that it was funny. I also loved the colorful illustrations on the cover and the title was catchy. Well, there is wisdom in the saying, "Never judge a book by it's cover". The story is presented in the form of letters between a student, his mother, and his teacher after a class plant, Plantzilla, is placed in the boy's care for the summer. Some of the letters are written in cursive, making it slightly difficult to read through for my daughter who is just learning cursive. The illustrations were a bit busy for my preschooler and I had to point out things in the pictures for her, when usually she is quite observant and can point things out to me. My girls sat quietly as we read it together, but not once did they laugh or giggle or even crack a smile. They were uninterested in the plot, except for the part where the plant seemingly ate the family dog. The illustrations showed the puppy still running around though the story said that he was missing and so that part confused us a little. After the first read, my children have not requested it to be read a second time. My older girl thumbed through the pages quickly and then placed it back on the shelf. We were disappointed in this book and overall I would say that the author tried to be funny without really succeeding and that the illustrations were bright and fun, but a little busy for my taste. Definitely a book for slightly older children, at least third grade. Oh, and there was nothing in the book about how plants grow. There may have been a line or two about the plant needing water and sunlight, and that it preferred to eat meat. If I would have read this book before ordering it, I would have known to borrow it from the library instead. This book is collecting dust and will most likely be donated in the near future.

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