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The Runaway Dinner [Hardcover]

Allan Ahlberg , Bruce Ingman
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)

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Book Description

5 Jun 2006
Banjo is a very hungry little boy who every evening has a sausage for his dinner. On his own little plate, with his own little knife and fork, at his own little table and chair. But one day his sausage, called Melvin, jumps off the plate and races down the road, and everything else follows - peas, French fries, carrots, fork and knife, table and chair - with Banjo bringing up the rear!

Product details

  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Walker Books Ltd (5 Jun 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844280632
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844280636
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 28.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 592,414 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


"Ahlberg's direct and funny storytelling style makes reading as near-effortless as possible, and certainly shows that any effort is worth it." The Guardian on The Woman Who Won Things"

About the Author

Allan Ahlberg is one of the most acclaimed children's authors writing today. His titles (many of which were illustrated by his late wife, Janet) include Each Peach Pear Plum, Peepo!, the award-winning Gaskitts series and The Jolly Postman, which, with its sequels, has sold over five million copies worldwide. He lives in Bath. Bruce Ingman is a talented author and illustrator whose work includes the picture books Bad News I'm in Charge!, shortlisted for the V&A Book Illustration Award 2004, and When Martha's Away, the overall winner of the National Art Library Illustration Awards 1996. He lives in London.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Runaway Dinner 5 Aug 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is such a strange story and yet my kids love it! A little boy (called Banjo) has a sausage for his dinner - then the dinner runs away and there is a race around the park. It is totally surreal, imaginative and brilliant. My daughter loves to spot the runaway pea! Fantastic book. It just works.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ahlberg at his most geniuslike, sheer madness 2 Feb 2008
By Mrs. K. A. Wheatley TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
This is a fantastic story of a little boy called Banjo, who every day, rain or shine, summer or winter, has a sausage for his dinner. On this particular day, Melvin, the sausage, decides he doesn't want to be eaten. He gets up and runs away, pursued by the rest of his dinner, his cutlery, the furniture and finally Banjo and his parents.

Each of the items in the story is given a name, and as Melvin makes his escape we move through an increasingly surreal and fantastic landscape in which the doings of all the other items are also narrated.

The illustrations are quite unusual, and in themselves provide a lot of the impact and the talking points of the story. My kids, aged 8, 4 and 15 months love this story and never tire of hearing it. The greatest thing about it, in my opinion is the fact that it is interesting for adults as well because it never dumbs down. The use of language is interesting and even poetic in places and it has a lovely rhythm and narrative pace which gives it the shape of an old fashioned classic, rather like the gingerbread man, from which it undoubtedly took its inspiration. Inspired work.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
This book is utterly foolish, completely absurd, and as a result my boys (2 and 5) think its absolutely fantastic. Ahlberg's books range from really-quite-sensible to brilliantly-delivered lunacy and this is at the latter end of the spectrum. A sausage called Melvin jumps off the plate and runs away followed by the cutlery and crockery, table and chair, not to mention a little crowd of peas, carrots and French fries (called Francois, Fifi etc.). The carrots escape in a paper bag, two of the three peas meet untimely ends, and most of the French fries sit down to enjoy the cricket in the park. The chair gets sat on, the sausaage befriends the cricket ball in the long grass, and Banjo the boy goes home hungry for pudding.....

The illustrations are good - with a bright fun feel that perfectly matches the story - and the whole package is a great delivery of a quirky tale.

And if you enjoy this, then follow it up with Half a Pig or The Cat who got carried away, by the same author.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Runaway Dinner is a hit in my house. 30 Mar 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
My almost three year old son loves this book. I bought him "The Pencil" earlier but he has shown a preference for this one. He loves that the sausage (yes, Melvin is his name), peas, fries (which he always corrects me by calling them chips) have names. The story is fun to read and moves at a pace, everybody chasing everybody else. He especially loves that the sole surviving pea hides away (up the tree) and he finds him everytime! I would recommend this book to toddlers of a similar age and even older children. It gets a laugh everytime.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great absurd fun 13 Mar 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I bought this after another book ('The Pencil') by the same author was very well received by my two grandchildren, aged 2 and 4. This has a similar theme, where inanimate objects take on a life of their own. While perhaps not quite as good as the 'The Pencil', they children still liked it very much. At this age they seem to really appreciate the comic absurdity of the action.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Good Idea But.. 7 Jun 2013
By Cake
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This story is a good idea and my four year old thinks it's hilarious but I think it's a bit too drawn out and could do with some further editing.For that reason I sometimes find it a bit of a drag to read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great fun! 14 Mar 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A little boy named Banjo has a sausage every day for his dinner. One day the sausage jumps up and runs away! Closely followed by all the other items on the table, as well and the table and chair! A hot pursuit ensues and there is much fun and laughter along the way.

My children (aged 2.5 and 5.5) both love this story and have asked for it time and again. Much hilarity to be had at bedtime (particularly as one of the carrots has my Christian name!!). Engaging story and great pictures.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic book! 21 April 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Excellent book, a joy to read to my daughter.
We go the pencil from the library and bought that too
when it had to go back.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderfully imagative book, full of laughter!
I would highly recommended this to anyone who have children as this book has very fun storyline and illustrations! Thank you!
Published 3 months ago by dee
5.0 out of 5 stars Very entertaining.
This book is meant for a broad imagination. When the little boy sits to eat his dinner his food goes running! Starting from the sausage.. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Dancer In The Storm
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny
Bought this for my 5 year old after reading the pencil by the same author . My little boy loves it , read over and over again , would recommend
Published 5 months ago by V Royle-Baskerville
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!
This is a great story with excellent detail and fabulous pictures. My 8 year old daughter thinks it is fantastic. Would recommend.
Published 6 months ago by T
5.0 out of 5 stars captures the imagination, lovely writing
My 3.5 year old loves this story. We borrowed it from the library, now we're buying a copy of our own because he asks for it so often.
Published 8 months ago by Sara
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!
Borrowed it from a friend and had to get our own! The boys love it (5 and 3yrs), a firm favourite in our house. Well written,simple language, great humour and clear pictures. Read more
Published 10 months ago by busy-shopper
3.0 out of 5 stars Let it run!
Not a good as the sausage that went for a walk (an easier read). A bit too wordy with too many 'asides'
Published 11 months ago by woody
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book, daughter loves it
Instantly became favourite book of my daughter, would strongly recommend. Have given as a present several times and the reaction is always the same
Published 15 months ago by paul
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastically random!
If you are after a quirky story with a difference, then this is the book for you. Read this to my five-year old nephew who loved it. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Linners
4.0 out of 5 stars runaway dinner by allan ahlberg
My 4 yr old grandson likes this. Not quite so much as Bill the Burglar but he has only had it for a week and has already asked for it to be read several times. Read more
Published 17 months ago by patricia ann dunderdale
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