[lipsmacking review] Hannah’s Tall Order by Linda Vander Heyden and Kayla Harren

#58 in an ongoing series of posts celebrating the alphabet

I hope you’re really, really hungry, because this story is quite a feast. Put on a very big bib, please.

May I tempt you with green peppers, figs, tomatoes, marshmallow fluff?

Care to wrap your lips around a buttery slice of avocado, dive into a tub of whipped cream, or slather yourself with a side of honey or ketchup?

All of this and more are yours when you read Hannah’s Tall Order by Linda Vander Heyden and Kayla Harren (Sleeping Bear Press, 2018).Β  This hilarious, somewhat messy, lick-the-pages story serves up a tastebud tickling smorgasbord between two slices of bread.

So, one day tiny Hannah — she’s described as “petite” — wanders into McDougal’s for a spot of lunch. We soon learn size can be deceiving, since this red haired, freckle-faced minx has a huge appetite.

As soon as Mr McDougal sees her, he worries and groans. Uh-oh. Hannah wants an A to Z sandwich on thick whole wheat bread. An alphabet sandwich? Of course she orders the fillings in alphabetical order.

Avocados and bean sprouts — fresh carrots galore.
Dill pickles, egg salad — those figs I adore!”

Good old McDougal springs into action — peeling, mincing, grating, chopping, bits and pieces flying.

Green peppers,” said Hannah. “Sliced thin, if you please.
And drizzle on lots of sweet honey from bees.

“Add ice cream and jelly — then ketchup (two plops),
A freshly squeezed lemon — just ten tiny drops.”

Hoo boy. A little picky with the quantities, are we? McDougal does his best to accommodate, dutifully stacking up the ingredients as Hannah’s mammoth midday meal takes shape.

But she’s only getting started. She wants what she wants, make no mistake about it: the tomato must be “picked fresh off the vine,” the quinoa, “grown in Peru,” plus a radish for “zip,” and whipped cream for “flavor and flare!”

As the sandwich grows taller and taller, things get messier and messier. By now, poor McDougal (red and sweating) is going full steam ahead as he struggles to satisfy Hannah’s every whim. Was there ever such a sandwich? Does he have everything she wants? Can this little girl actually eat something so big? And what a freaky palate she has: whoever heard of xouba fish with a layer of “creamy mooshed yam” and “grated zucchini” on top of it?!

Finally, finally, an exhausted McDougal pronounces the gargantuan sandwich — a masterwork of colors, shapes, textures, and whet-the-appetite ooziness —Β  “ready to eat!”

Does it meet Hannah’s approval? Does she scarf it down right on the spot? You’ll have to read the book to find out. Suffice to say, now we can better understand why McDougal groaned when Hannah first walked in. πŸ™‚

Written in rollicking rhyming couplets, Hannah’s Tall Order is a riot to read aloud. Kids will love hearing Hannah call out all her sandwich fixings from Avocados to Zucchini, and will be eager to turn each page to find out what she orders next. Most of the foods will be familiar to them, with a few unusual ones to keep things interesting (ugli fruit, quinoa, xouba fish). Though readers have probably tasted and like many of the foods, who’d have ever thought to eat them all in the same sandwich? I can just hear the resounding ewwws at the mention of honey on green peppers, or ketchup on ice cream. πŸ™‚

Kayla Harren’s mixed media illustrations ramp up the humor and pulse with energy and personality. Love McDougal’s facial expressions, from wariness to determination to bewilderment and exasperation, and how it contrasts with Hannah’s impish rapture as she details every bit of her dream sandwich. Harren’s use of perspective and exaggeration provides lots of giggles and astonishment. Especially amusing is the whipped cream sequence, with Hannah innocently gazing at McDougal while licking a spoon, and him covered in multi-colored splotches, whipped cream in his hair. Totally justified eye roll.

The double page spread showing “four” McDougals building the towering tour de force for the tiny tot pulls the reader right into the midst of this frenetic food frenzy. We almost feel like we have to duck in order to miss being splattered, sprinkled, or splashed upon. Readers will not only enjoy watching how Hannah and McDougal interact, they’ll also have fun identifying all the different sandwich ingredients as they romp right through the alphabet.

An unusually delectable alphabet book, Hannah’s Tall Order features a self-assured main character and a diverse group of amazed customers. As readers take note of how different food items are measured and processed, they might be inspired to concoct their own A to Z menu, make and eat their own special sandwiches, or perhaps become more adventurous in their food choices.

Taking orders now. What do you want in your sandwich?


written by Linda Vander Heyden
illustrated by Kayla Harren
published by Sleeping Bear Press, August 2018
Picture Book for ages 4-8, 32 pp.



Lovely and talented Robyn Hood Black is hosting the Roundup at Life on the Deckle Edge. Waltz on over to check out the full menu of poetic goodness being served up in the blogosphere this week. Eat a sandwich this weekend. πŸ™‚



This post is also being linked to Beth Fish Reads Weekend Cooking, where all are invited to share their food-related posts. Put on your best bibs and aprons and come join the fun!




Certified authentic alphabetica. Made by hand just for you with love and mouthwatering A to Z fun.

*Interior spreads from Hannah’s Tall Order, text copyright Β© 2018 Linda Vander Heyden, illustrations Β© 2018 Kayla Harren, published by Sleeping Bear Press. All rights reserved.

**This post contains Amazon Affiliate links. When you purchase something using a link on this site, Jama’s Alphabet Soup receives a tiny referral fee at no cost to you. Thanks for your support!

***Copyright Β© 2019 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

51 thoughts on “[lipsmacking review] Hannah’s Tall Order by Linda Vander Heyden and Kayla Harren

  1. Hi Jama!
    Glad I’m not preggie or the compendium of ingredients might drive me to gather them (except for the newer to me ones I don’t know – & devour! This tall tale sounds like a humdinger that kids will finish hearing (tasting) & want to start again – even though the genre is an abecedarian! Thanks so much for the generous sample of words & fetching images. This is going to be a great read-aloud for school volunteers & teachers.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well, I love it! And, I’m really glad to see an A-Z book. I saw rumors of A-Z being passe and not at all what publishers wanted to see these days. This book looks like fun and exactly the kind of imaginative read a youngster needs. Great review, as always, Jama!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s tough to do an ABC book, to find a clever new twist that’ll engage readers in a novel way. Hadn’t heard that ABC books are considered passe — in fact, I’ve seen several other recent ones in addition to this book that have proven to be very popular (I mean to review them here but I’m so far behind).


  3. Good old McDougal! This reminds me of Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout Wouldn’t Take the Garbage Out by Shel Silverstein. πŸ™‚ As for my sandwich, I don’t have a tall order… just a smear of peanut butter will do… or grilled cheese… those giant sandwiches are too hard to eat! πŸ™‚ Thank you for sharing, dear Jama. xo

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh my, I love the idea & the illustrations are simply delightful, Jama. My favorite sandwich, though I don’t have it very often, is egg salad with slaw. I once had a student who brought peanut butter with pickle relish OFTEN! He was the talk of the class! Thanks for sharing this very fun book!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Egg salad with slaw on the side, or egg salad and slaw in the same sandwich? That’s definitely different. I’d heard of people eating peanut butter with pickle relish but have never tried it. Here’s something from childhood Hawaii days: tuna salad + kimchi sandwich.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. egg salad with slaw “on”, not much but enough to crunch! Tuna & kimchi seems like it would work. I like both. I do love a good sandwich! : )

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Hannah’s Tall Order seems like a wonderful A to Z book. I love the illustrations and the zany food combinations, Jama. Rhyming adds a bit of zest to the gourmet feast that little foodies would enjoy.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This book looks like one that kids would be sure to delight in. I imagine it would lend itself to many re-readings with kids calling out the upcoming ingredients with giggles! Thanks for a wonderful review and a sneak peek at a delicious new book.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, that posted before I was ready!… I was going to also say, I love your review. You put me on alert at the very beginning with “As soon as Mr McDougal sees her, he worries and groans.” I’m dropping in my shopping cart; I have two grandkids who will love it. I can already hear their squeals of delight.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. What an ever-clever, glorious idea for an alphabet book… and it obviously came to delicious fruition! Thanks for all the peeks and your own descriptions. I am sure younger readers (and some quirky adults) just delight in this, beginning to end! [I’ve been known to very occasionally add potato chips to a sandwich if I want some extra crunch….]

    Liked by 1 person

  8. What a fun book! I can’t wait to share and see what kind of sandwiches my students love! When I was a kid, I loved grilled peanut butter/strawberry jam/marshmallow fluff sandwiches. (Yeah, just a little decadent. We didn’t get to make them very often…)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mmm, the pb and marshmallow fluff combo is always a favorite — never thought to also add strawberry jam. Definitely decadent! So great when the pb gets all melty . . .


  9. The illustrations are soooooo great. And I love this foodie take on an alphabet book. I think I need to give this to someone! Way too fun.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A little one with a big appetite. I imagine there’d be lots of suggestions for other sandwich fillings when sharing this book with kids — the more outrageous the better!

      Liked by 1 person

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