What was YOUR favorite book as a child? Do you remember it? Why did you love it so much? Miraculously my favorite book as a child has survived moving states multiple times and the inevitable transition from child to teenager to adult. I still have it, and I read it with my kids today. Its copyright date is from 1972, I personally enjoyed it in the 80s, and today in 2021 my kids enjoy it as much as I ever did. It is one of the most requested bedtime storybooks in our house. It is The Giant Jam Sandwich by Janet Burroway, pictures by John Vernon Lord.
The story is about “one hot summer in Itching Down, [when] four million wasps flew into town.” The villagers didn’t know what to do so….
“…they called a meeting in the village hall,
and Mayor Muddlenut asked them all,
‘What can we do?’ And they said,
‘Good question!’ But nobody had a good suggestion.
Then Bap the Baker leaped to his feet
And cried, ‘What do wasps like best to eat?
Strawberry jam! Now wait a minute!
If we made a giant sandwich we could trap them in it!'”The Giant Jam Sandwich
The village pulls together to make the dough and bake a loaf of bread the size of a mountain. They build a giant jam sandwich and successfully manage to trap nearly every wasp…”there were only 3 that got away, and where they are now I cannot say.”
The story is sweet and the pictures are charming, but it is the verses that will suck you in and make you and your children want to read this book over and over again. (You’ll probably also have a renewed desire to eat peanut butter and jam sandwiches!)
I am not an expert in children’s literature but I think the decades of enjoyment this book has given me personally, as well as my family, speaks to this book’s ability to withstand the test of time. I could probably recite this book from memory at this point, but the verses have always just rolled right off the tongue. And the illustrations are so unique, there is something new and engaging to find on every page.
Books like this make the going-to-bed routine something to look forward to instead of resist! Reading with your child never gets old and neither does this sweet story with its lovable town and its captivating rhyme.
Now, back to YOUR childhood favorite! Please share with us in the comments, what was YOUR favorite book as a child? Do you still read it with your kids today? We’d love to hear about it!