Hungry Jim

Chronicle. Sept. 2019. 56p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781452149875.
PreS-K–Young Jim wakes up one morning supremely hungry. He is also feeling beastly. He wanders downstairs, only to eat his mother. Conflicted, he flees the house, running through town, gobbling nearly everyone he encounters. His stomach continues to growl, but Jim feels sad and ashamed. Finally, contemplating his next move in the woods, Jim is confronted by a bear that he quickly gobbles up. Now satiated, Jim makes the journey home, and along the way, things begin to return to their normal, more pleasant, state. Part Kafkaesque tale and part homage to Maurice Sendak, as noted in the dedication, this book is a pure delight. The text is straightforward, with simple sentences and boldface words for emphasis, making it very accessible to young readers. Jim’s internal struggle with his stomach, with the hyperbole of being hungry enough to eat a bear, is comical and whimsical, while also extremely relatable. The dialogue is cheeky and funny, as the bear tells Jim he must eat him because, well, he’s a bear. Groenink’s illustrations are stunning, reminiscent of Sendak with a touch more lightness.
VERDICT A definite celebration of his style and not an outright copy, this is a must-have for fans of Sendak who adore tales of wildness; sure to have readers young and old giggling with joy.

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