cover image Hungry Jim

Hungry Jim

Laurel Snyder, illus. by Chuck Groenink. Chronicle, $17.99 (56p) ISBN 978-1-4521-4987-5

In this clever tribute to Maurice Sendak, Snyder and Groenink gleefully subvert picture book norms by embracing the beastliest behavior. Jim wakes up one Tuesday as a lion—and a hungry one at that. His growly stomach underscores a growly mood: “He wanted to eat anything. He wanted to eat everything. He wanted to cry.” In fairy tale fashion, Jim devours his mother (but not her pancakes), a butcher (but not his meats), and several other townspeople in a conflicted rampage. Perfectly matched prose and pictures ring with deadpan humor—Groenink’s expressive pencil drawings reveal the extent of Jim’s feeding frenzy as Snyder playfully hints that Jim “met” people along his way. As his ferocity grows, warmly lit illustrations shift into stormy tones, matching the lion’s feelings. After encountering a bigger, meaner foe, he returns home “to find things mostly as he left them,” and a transformation takes place that leaves him hungry (“for pancakes”) and, at least for the moment, contented. Snyder and Groenink’s audacious allegory acknowledges Sendak’s attention to children’s turbulent inner worlds and mighty capacity for imagination, and empowers readers to face their own difficult days. Ages 3–5. [em]Author’s agent: Tina Dubois, ICM Partners. Illustrator’s agent: Stephen Barr, Writers House. (Sept.) [/em]