Oh No, Monster Tomato!

Age Range: 2 - 11

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 an 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.

Book Author: Jim Helmore

See More Books from this author

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?

Other Resources


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Morag Steel

Super ideas that I will adapt for my class. Thank you.

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