Every once in a while, a story comes along that simply must be told – even though it tears you apart. Yummy, by G. Neri, is that story. It is the true story of Robert “Yummy” Sandifer, a fifth grader who loved cookies, clung to a beat-up teddy-bear, and became a killer and fugitive at the tender age of eleven.
Neri shares the sad but true story of Yummy’s troubled life; how the abuse and neglect he suffered at a young age shaped his personality and made him ripe for gang activity.
Recruited by a nearby powerful street gang, Yummy does everything from carjack to shooting into crowds. In fact, shooting into a crowd is what lands him on the local police force’s “wanted list.” Following his gang leader’s orders, Yummy takes aim at a rival gang member but accidentally shoots a teenage girl who is only a year or two older than Yummy.
When the girl dies, the police investigate. As they close in, things go from bad to worse for Yummy. He must hide out under bridges and in abandoned houses with nothing but his teddy bear to keep him company. Finally, Yummy just wants to go home. He makes plans to turn himself in, but when his gang hears about it, the plan goes sour and the story takes a shocking turn…
Yummy is a life lesson on the evils of gang-banging, the importance of responsible parenting, and the necessity of a society’s care and concern for people of all races and socioeconomic statuses–especially impressionable little children. Illustrator Randy DuBurke’s haunting ink sketches are both tragic and beautiful, and serve to etch little Yummy’s short life firmly into the reader’s mind.
For obvious reasons, I’m placing a PARENTAL ADVISORY WARNING on this book, not because of explicit language, but because of the tragic theme and realistic drawings. If you can move past those things, you will be glad you read the story of Robert “Yummy” Sandifer, if only to help society make certain that this a tragedy of this proportion never, ever happens again.
Best wishes and happy reading,
Picture Book Depot