Published by Eerdmans Books for Young Readers on August 17, 2021
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One morning, a beautiful plant sprouts out of the ground, and it is very, very hungry. But water and sunlight aren’t the only things this plant craves: it’s a carnivore! The plant gobbles up everything in its path, from caterpillars to geckos to spaceships. But the plant isn’t the only one who’s hungry…
With humorous nods to Eric Carle, The Very Hungry Plant is another imaginative adventure from the author-illustrator of The Little Barbarian. Playful, energetic paintings and a dash of absurdity create a story sure to spark laughter with every reading.
This is a book about The Very Hungry Plant. It’s a simple tale. First, there is a carnivorous plant. Then, it eats everything. Renato Morigoni’s painted narrative grows more and more absurd as the plant eats bigger and bigger things. It all starts with a caterpillar and ends with the angel choir. It’s a story that keeps growing and growing, sure to bring peals of laughter with every page. (My personal favorite is that a gymnast gets eaten. As a former gymnast, I must say that we are very underrepresented in literature and it was an honor to be eaten in Mr. Morigoni’s book.)
With nods to The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Little Shop of Horrors, Morigoni has crafted a delightfully bizarre book with a surprise twist at the end (I shan’t tell you). It’s a perfect group read for kindergarten circle time, or maybe even a bit older if you’re talking about the difference between carnivores and herbivores. You’re best off knowing nothing about the book and letting each page surprise you. It’s good, absurdist fun.
In the postscript, Morigoni notes that the inspiration for the book came when his friend Paulo, owner of a vegetarian restaurant, swallowed a fly while yawning. With this scene in mind, Renato began to reflect on what we know and what we ignore, and how these things can affect our perception of the world around us. Uhhh….ok then. I honestly have no idea how that connects to the story, but I’d love to know. Regardless, this is a hilarious book.