Wednesday, May 29, 2024
Oh No Monster Tomato

Oh No, Monster Tomato!

by Mark Warner
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Buy This Book * More books by Jim Helmore

In the dark town of Grislygust a competition is under way – The Great Grislygust Grow-off. Marvin plans to grow the tastiest tomatoes in town but his beastly brother Boris and his poisonous sister Prunella make fun of him. ‘You’re a titchy weed, Marvin, and your tomatoes will be tiny too!’ But Marvin is determined to prove everybody wrong and soon his competitors will find themselves in big trouble.

Teaching Ideas and Resources:


  • Could you create your own story about a different ‘monster’ fruit or vegetable?
  • Write a newspaper report about what happened at the Great Grislygust Grow-off.
  • Write an interview with Marvin about what happened to him.
  • Retell the story from Marvin’s point of view.
  • Write a set of instructions to teach others how to grow a tomato plant.
  • Create a page that might appear in Marvin’s book ‘Hancock’s Horticultural Horrors’.
  • The people of Grislygust ‘pruned and polished and pampered their vegetables’. Can you make up your own fruit and vegetable-themed sentences that include alliteration?
  • Create an advert for Marvin’s Magnificent Monster Tomatoes.
  • Write a sequel to the story in which Marvin grows some monster broccoli!


  • Make up some of the judges’ scores for the Grislygust grow-off. Could you use this data for statistics activities?
  • Grow your own plants and measure their growth each day.


  • Can you grow your own tomato plants?
  • Investigate the things that a plant needs to grow strong and healthy.


  • Use publishing software to create a poster advertising the Great Grislygust Grow-off.
  • Look at the use of fonts and text sizes in the story. Could you use similar techniques in your own writing?

Design Technology

  • Design a new tree house (or garden shed) in which Marvin can grow his plants.
  • Choose a part of this story and make your own pop-up page linked to it.


  • Use some fruit and vegetables for your own still-life images.


  • Could you play or sing Marvin’s special songs using the notation and lyrics in the story?
  • Could you compose your own songs that might encourage a plant to grow (into a monster)?
  • Could you compose a tune from Marvin’s Big Bad Broccoli Ballads book?


  • Boris and Prunella are unkind to Marvin. How does this make him feel? How should they behave?

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