On the cover, Marvin is a giant fleece ball with tiny legs, ten times as big as the trees. He wears a staring and grim expression, his mouth shut tight, as if he doesn’t feel well. Nor would you, if you’d eaten what he has. The endpapers give an insect’s eye view of a peaceful pastoral scene, with a sheep grazing beneath a tree in the distance. In the pages between, Theobald follows Marvin’s growing appetite, from a grass starter, through hedgerow and forest, out into space, to make a meal of the earth itself.
The storyline, which mixes warnings about the dangers of eating too much and of getting above yourself, is hardly new or conveyed with any great force in the text. But it is a vehicle for some memorable images and a lot of pictorial humour. Here’s Marvin standing on the moon, floating serene and alone in space, after he has swallowed the world; here’s Marvin sicking it all up again, Eiffel Tower, kangaroo, Big Ben and all; and look at the teeth marks on those tree stumps!
This is a good first picture book from an illustrator who knows how to tell a story in pictures. It will amaze and amuse.