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The Runaway Dinner
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
An ordinary little kid named Banjo Cannon has a problem with his dinner: the everyday sausage, peas, carrots, and fries come to life, run away with the dishes in pursuit, and lead him on a merry chase through the English streets. Various unexpected adventures ensue until Banjo's parents carry him home to a large helping of plum pudding. And the adventure takes off again.
Is it any good?
This book is full of silliness, and to its great benefit, it's cleverly written and illustrated. THE RUNAWAY DINNER is a cross between the story of the wily Gingerbread Man and "Hey, diddle diddle the cat and the fiddle" -- especially "the dish ran away with the spoon" part. Kids will get a kick out of Melvin, the sausage, as he streaks across town with his culinary entourage. Allan Ahlberg has created a friendly, tongue-in-cheek tone that will make kids want to join in on the fun.
The story moves along briskly while the narrator interjects casual comments and questions about how true the story is, what has happened to this character or that, and how mysterious or fun it's all becoming. The flat acrylic paintings coupled with uncolored, ink-lined drawings are inviting and entertaining. Illustrated by Bruce Ingman, each page looks like a kid's painting and offers plenty to look at, search for, and count.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how surprised they would be if their food jumped off their plate and ran away. Could that really happen? What would you do if it did? Do you believe the narrator when he says that this story is the "absolute truth, the complete picture"? Kids also might like to talk about the names of the characters, and come up with new ones they might choose. For starters, Banjo is an unusual name for a little boy.