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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
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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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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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VINE VOICEon 11 June 2007
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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on 30 March 2010
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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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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on 14 March 2012
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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on 7 June 2013
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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on 10 September 2014
My kids love that book, and I must say I laughed out loud the first time I read it (the French fries with names like Francois, or Perceval the pea that gets eaten are really funny). It's a bit long and complicated for a 4 years old, but a 5 years old will get most gags
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on 16 August 2014
Read it to my three year old who found it hilarious. He loved the thought of having a runaway sausage and loves looking for the peas. Gave it to my five year old to read on her own, and I could hear her guffawing away! It's a hit. I love reading it to my kids too...I do find that it reads well, unlike some other children's books where the prose can be a little stilted (for example, Lost and Found by Jeffries) or the rhythm tiresome (Donaldson's Superworm springs to mind...although, don't get me wrong, I love her other books). It's odd and whimsical like other books by Ahlberg - and that is the appealing feature of his works.
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on 22 September 2013
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. Would be good for any child struggling with mealtimes, too!
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