Cover image for Tommy at the grocery store
Tommy at the grocery store
Grossman, Bill.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Harper & Row, 1989.
Tommy is mistaken for items in a grocery store until his mother comes to the rescue.
Reading Level:
520 Lexile.
Program Information:
Reading Counts RC K-2 3.2 1 Quiz: 11641 Guided reading level: K.
Added Author:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
J PIC. BK Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
J PIC. BK Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
J PIC. BK Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
J PIC. BK Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

On Order



When poor little Tommy loses his mother in the grocery store, the grocer mistakes him for a salami and sets him on a shelf. One by one, customers purchase him thinking he is a banana, a corn cob, a soda bottle and a potato, every time returning him for a refund. Finally, Tommy's mother comes to the rescue. Full color.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 5-7. Poor Tommy: his mother has left him behind at the grocery store, and everyone who finds him thinks he's something other than the little pig child he is. The grocer thinks he's salami and puts him on the deli shelf; then "A housewife came and bought poor Tommy, / Thinking he was meat, / And put him in a shopping bag / And took him home to eat." But her salami has eyes; pronouncing Tommy a potato, she takes him back to the store, where the grocer obligingly sticks Tommy into a potato sack. This absurd pattern holds forth for a series of buyers who all discover Tommy is not what they think--yet fail to recognize him as a child. The comedy comes to life in Chess' crisply toned pictures, which present a memorable cast of obtuse porkers. Carefully drawn scenes of country stores and neighborhoods are as droll as they are fetching, and Chess being Chess, there is a trace of the bizarre in her characters' faces. Very funny. --Denise Wilms

Publisher's Weekly Review

Grossman's rhythmic poem recounts, with silly word play and wacky humor, the wry tale of a piglet named Tommy, whose mother inadvertently leaves him at the grocery store. The grocer decides that Tommy must be salami and sets him on the deli shelf, where he is purchased by a housewife. Just about to slice him, she shouts, ``Oh, my goodness! Gracious! Dear! / My salami! It has eyes!'' Convinced Tommy is a potato, the housewife returns him to the grocery store where he is purchased by a doctor who discovers Tommy's neck and thinks him a bottle. And so it goes, with puns about ears of corn, legs of tables, feet of rulers and skins of bananas until Tommy is safely returned to his mother. Chess's ( Tales for the Perfect Child ) clever watercolors are detailed (a magazine rack displays Penhouse and Hogue ) and as droll as the story. This delightful tale of mistaken identity is sure to provoke giggles. Ages 3-7. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 2-- Tommy's a porker in a pickle. Separated from his mother while grocery shopping, he's mistaken for salami by the grocer, and then presumed to be meat, a potato, a banana, and various other edibles and inedibles before he is retrieved by his loving mother. Told in rhyme easy enough for beginning readers, with enough verve and wit to be read aloud, Tommy's eventful shopping trip is pure delight. Chess' droll illustrations of the grocery store interiors with colorful boxes, baskets, tins, and jars, all featuring a dumbfounded little pig as he is peered at by miopic adults, create a visual feast. There's not much food for thought here--just good, clean fun. --Trev Jones, ``School Library Journal'' (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.