Remember Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar who turns into a beautiful butterfly after eating through various delicacies? It is still one of our most popular children’s books and comes in all sorts of formats – the small board book version reigns supreme here but I remember a largish paperback from when I was a child, it has probably gone because paper pages, as opposed to board, don’t stand up to the usage that is demanded of this classic. Not to mention the effect of tiny fingers having to investigate each and every caterpillar hole….
We have just received copies of a clever, funny, rather pointed book inspired by the famous caterpillar, it is written by Bill Manhire – yes, the NZ poet/professor/founder of the International Institute of Modern Letters at Victoria University – and beautifully illustrated by Mark Harfield, a Paris-based, NZ illustrator & artist:The Moderately Hungry Maggot (from Wedge Press, a Wellington boutique publisher of what Peter Campbell called “Such pretty little books, with such sharp claws.”) retains the pace and intent its inspiration but is also slightly, well OK, a LOT more political: “The next day he stuffed down four stockbrokers. He shed his skin again. He wanted really rotten flesh. The next day he ate five advertising executives. Yum. He wanted really rotten flesh.” You should see what he gobbles through on the last day!
This was released as a limited printing of only 500 copies, we got some, and have about 10 left on the front counter in the shop.
I also really appreciated The Very Hungry Zombie by artist and illustrator Jonathan Apple and writer Michael Teitelbaum. definitely not one for the children but a gory antidote for those us who have had to read the original so many times we could recite it with our eyes closed. It is also in the trad board book format and there are the same odd sized pages and holes as in the original. Oddly satisfying….