The Giant Jam Sandwich by John Vernon Lord and Janet Burroway (first published 1975, this edition: Red Fox, 2010) was one of the books I put on fils cadet‘s Christmas lists out of nostalgia, and which my mum bought for him out of nostalgia because she remembered reading it to me.
One day four million wasps arrive in Itching Down and make life such a misery that the people have a meeting to decide what to do about them. The baker suggests trapping them with strawberry jam and so the idea of the giant jam sandwich is born. Although I hadn’t read the book for years, it all came flooding back to me at the sight of the illustrations, unmistakably ’70s in style. First they have to bake an enormous loaf, then slice and butter it, add the jam while a squadron of helicopters (and one tractor, flying with the aid of a bunch of helium balloons) hover overhead, ready to drop the second slice once the wasps have landed.
The story is simple and silly, the rhymes are fun and fils cadet seemed to enjoy it – he had so many books for Christmas that we’ve only just got round to this one! It was certainly a blast from the past for me and seems to stand the test of time. There are lots of details to look out for in the pictures too so hopefully it will become a favourite for another generation.