Monday, February 11, 2013

The Biggest Sandwich Ever - Rita Golden Gelman

Summary:  Two little children and one creepy old man make and consume the biggest sandwich ever.  (Image from

My Review:  The Biggest Sandwich Ever is probably one of my top ten favorite children's books, but it really shouldn't be anywhere near that list.  It's about two children who are having a picnic in the park when a creepy old man approaches them and asks if he can join them for lunch.  The two children are thrilled  and indicate that they would love to have him stay, even offering him a carrot. Ack!  The old man declines their offer, indicating that he's brought his own lunch, and precedes to build the biggest sandwich ever with the children's help.  When they are finished making the sandwich, they spend all day and all night polishing it off, eventually finishing around noon the next day.  The children start to say goodbye, but the old man refuses to let them leave and, with a twisted gleam in his eye, brings in a giant pie.

Excuse me, what?! Kids eating in the park by themselves?  Talking to strangers!  Offering them food?!  Spending the night indulging in gluttony!!!!?   Why do I like this book?  Because it is awesome, that's why! Dump trucks deliver tuna.  Planes dropping pickles! Mountains of cheese!  Ketchup squirted on with a fire hose!  The illustrations are just the thing to inspire a child's imagination and text is rhythmic and engaging.   Here's my favorite part, just to show you what I mean:
...the little man jumped.  He banged on his pot.  And twenty-two bakers came in at a trot.  Then came the butter.  The little man said, "Put it all over.  All over the bread. It's time for the tuna.  Be careful.  Don't bump it.  Back up just a little.  OK.  You can dump it."  Then Tammy and I said, "This sandwich is great!""This sandwich is nothing," he said.  "You just wait. I have hamburgers, cheeseburgers, chicken, and lamb.  Salami, pastrami, potatoes, and ham. I have all kinds of cheeses.  Watch out for the cranes!  And plenty of pickles.  Just look at those planes.  Then the little man banged on his pot and he said,  "Come in with the ketchup, you people in red. And now," said the man, "please lower the bread."  Then he banged on his pot and he shouted, "I'm through!  My sandwich is ready.  I love it.  I do!  And we shouted right back at him, "We love it too.  
While the circumstances surrounding The Biggest Sandwich Ever are rather suspect, the sandwich itself is the stuff of little kid's dreams.    You might have to have a little talk about "stranger danger," but it will be totally worth it.

My Rating:  5 Stars.

For the sensitive reader:  Kidnapping, child endangerment, stupidity, and gluttony.  But seriously, read it anyway.

Sum it up:  The most disturbing, wonderful, magical book I have ever read to my kids.

1 comment:

Paul and Heidi said...

Bwahaha! Great review ;) I didn't know how to put it in words, but you coined it succinctly. Creepy and Magical! Can't help but love it because my 16 month old son absolutely goes crazy over the "pie" book. My dad read it to us as little kids and it's really one of my favorites too. Thanks for the positive review. Keep up the good work


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