Jimmy Zangwow's Out-of-This-World Moon-Pie Adventure
By Tony DiTerlizzi
Children's books review by P.J. Rooks
Ages 4 - 8
Quick -- here's a good one: Why did the cow jump over the moon? To deliver milk to the Milky Way, of course!
And with milk, you must have Moon Pies. That's just how it is.
But when responsible parenting interferes with Jimmy Zangwow's pre-dinner snack plans, Jimmy heads for his backyard secret project and wishes aloud that he could get the junk-jumbilee-jalopy to fly to the moon so he could get his own Moon Pies -- and, holy macaroni! -- the jalopy has lift-off!
One thousand Moon Pies later, Jimmy's wish is granted, but getting home with his big cookie booty isn't going to be so easy after all. The frightful Grimble Grinder is on the loose and one brief encounter with the horrible space monster sends Jimmy and his jalopy tumbling for Mars where 999 hungry Mars Men joyfully behold the Moon Pie snow. Looks like Jimmy will have to share, but the Grimble Grinder is still in hot pursuit, grumbling, rumbling, stomping and getting dangerously too close.
It's a desperate and selfless act of heroism, but at the last minute, tiny Jimmy stands dwarfed in the shadow of the beast and bravely offers his last Moon Pie. Will the dread Grimble Grinder snatch up Jimmy too? Nope, but he'd sure like that Moon Pie. Hooray! Hooray! Jimmy has saved the day! Buuuurrrrpp! Turns out that all that grumbling and growling was coming from the Grimble Grinder's stomach. He's not such a bad guy after all.
His jalopy is crashed on Mars, though. How will Jimmy ever get home? Mars Man 365 has an ingenious plan and Jimmy plunks down in his back yard just in time for a healthy dinner and then, at long last, gets to enjoy his very own Moon Pie for dessert. The End.
Which brings me to the part where I have to go rummaging through the grocery store in search of Moon Pies for a three-year-old who positively must try one, then takes one bite, learns the sad truth, and abandons the entire box to the irrational whims of her mother's top-o-the-mornin' sugar cravings (to which I can only say, from the bottom of my heart and the breadth of my hips, gee, thanks for that one, kid.) Anyway, I digress...
Jimmy Zangwow's Out-of-This-World Moon-Pie Adventure is a wildly creative, cosmically fun, why-aren't-there-more-like-this sort of story.
The kindly, somewhat daft, old moon has cheese in his ears, the cow hasn't passed by lately because of the Grimble Grinder and the Milky Way is littered with old-fashioned, refundable glass bottles. Our precocious hero, the flying ace, epitome of an ornery-looking lad, mans his umbrella-powered craft in pilot's goggles, a fluttering scarf and red cowboy boots.
And the artwork -- well, what can I say, I'm anxiously awaiting the wall calendar. Right down to the grimy handprints on the kitchen cabinets of Jimmy Zangwow's home and the vintage, "made-from-the-moon" Moon Pie wrappers, nostalgic illustrations sentimentally liberate each page from whatever forces, gravitational, grown-up or otherwise, that would hold our imaginations hostage here on Earth.
It's been a long danged time since I've read a book that made me want to be a kid again, but Jimmy Zangwow did it -- and oops (here I was so excited I almost forgot), my three-year-old loved it too!
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