Oh No, Monster Tomato! by Jim Helmore and Karen Wall

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Oh No, Monster Tomato! by Jim Helmore and Karen Wall

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Buy Oh No, Monster Tomato! by Jim Helmore and Karen Wall at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: For Sharing
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Keith Dudhnath
Reviewed by Keith Dudhnath
Summary: An energetic tale of a young boy entering a gardening competition. It's got a freshness rarely seen in children's books, making it a fine addition to any bookshelf. Recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 32 Date: October 2009
Publisher: Egmont
ISBN: 978-1405247412

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Marvin is entering the Great Grislygust Grow-Off, but just like him, his tomatoes aren't growing very big. He takes the only sensible course of action: he sings his tomatoes a song. The results are spectacular. Victory is surely within his grasp.

Oh No, Monster Tomato! is bristling with energy. It's a delightful gardening tale, with hints of Jack and the Beanstalk and even George's Marvellous Medicine by Roald Dahl. That said, it's actually its originality that makes it so enjoyable. Picture books can often settle into a few basic themes, so it's a treat to come across something with a fresh twist. There's something quite sweet about a young boy entering a gardening competition, and even despite the dramatic outcome, it's a homely tale.

At its core, it's a very simple story: tomatoes grow big, squish, are very tasty and Marvin basks in his glory. It's all told with such a sense of fun that children and adults will be drawn into it. There are songs to sing along with, and giant vegetables to fold out. Every page brings with it new excitement and children will want you to read it again and again.

Karen Wall's illustrations suit the vibrant tale. They blend quirky characters with hints of collage. Every page is awash with action and excitement, but it's never so busy that it'll give you a headache. It's a familiar modern style, but the illustrations still have a uniqueness to them which plays into the originality of the text.

The zesty (can tomatoes be zesty?) nature of the story means it'll be particularly enjoyed by children heading towards learning to read for themselves. The vocabulary is clear but engaging, with plenty of splats and squelches, so slightly younger children - especially those with big personalities of their own - will find plenty to enjoy. It's a fine addition to any bookshelf. Recommended.

Thanks to the publishers for sending it to Bookbag.

Christopher Nibble by Charlotte Middleton mixes gardening with a fresh storyline, but at a slightly more sedate pace. If giant vegetables are your thing, check out Winnie's Amazing Pumpkin by Valerie Thomas and Korky Paul. If you enjoy big pages that fold out of the book, then take a look at Ernest by Catherine Rayner.

Buy Oh No, Monster Tomato! by Jim Helmore and Karen Wall at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Oh No, Monster Tomato! by Jim Helmore and Karen Wall at Amazon.co.uk


Buy Oh No, Monster Tomato! by Jim Helmore and Karen Wall at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Oh No, Monster Tomato! by Jim Helmore and Karen Wall at Amazon.com.

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