Review: 'The Hungry Monster' teaches kids healthy habits

By Rosemarie Howard

For the Deseret News

Published: Monday, Oct. 31 2011 11:00 a.m. MDT

"THE HUNGRY MONSTER," by Mark Pittman; illustrated by Jamie Reeve, Magic Shoes Publications, $10, 52 pages (ages 5-8)

“The Hungry Monster,” a picture book made by Utah author Mark Pittman and Utah illustrator Jamie Reeve shares a simple message: If you want the energy to play ball you must “Go to sleep and wake up to eat a good breakfast.”

Intended as an entertaining teaching tool, the book tells the tale of Jason and Jackie — twins who love everything about baseball. Jason loves it so much he stays up late reading baseball books. He loves it so much he doesn’t have time to eat breakfast before a big game. Because of this he transforms into a “hungry monster” during the game and is sent home by the umpire to eat and get some rest.

Reeve’s illustrations are witty, bold and colorful, and move the story along visually.

“The children are drawn to the monster on the cover,” Pittman said in a recent phone interview. The book title and monster idea came from his family. “When I’m cranky because of lack of food and adequate rest my family calls me the ‘hungry monster.'"

Wendy Kubacky, one of Pittman’s high school classmates, bought the first copy of the book to give to her 6-year-old grandson, Kaden Sayamnet.

Kaden's take: “It was really good. One of my favorite parts is when Jason turns into the Hungry Monster. I also liked it when Jason hit the home run.”

The book achieves its goal, and should appeal to parents and their 5- to 8-year-old children who love to play ball — but don’t like to go to bed.

The author will be at several book signings and school presentations through the end of the year. Visit “The Hungry Monster" website at thehungrymonster.com to learn more.

Rosemarie Howard lives in a 100-year-old house on Main Street, Springville, Utah. She enjoys creating multimedia content. Her website is at www.dramaticdimensions.com.

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