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FLEAS! by Jeanne Steig Kirkus Star


by & illustrated by

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: May 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-399-24756-9
Publisher: Philomel

It’s a perfect day, and Quantz is happily gardening when a dog stops for a scratch. The dog runs off, leaving Quantz with a terrible case of fleas. They itch, so Quantz goes looking for help. He manages to trade his fleas for a talkative uncle who is badgering a passerby. He and the uncle then run into a lonely man carrying a stack of cheese, and Quantz makes another switch. The cheese begins to melt, so Quantz barters with some passing mice for a battered banjo—and so on, in a chain of swaps that leaves him with a bone. This is perfect for the original flea-bitten dog, whom Quantz sees guarding the entrance to a tent. What Quantz finds inside makes for a spectacular finish. This entertaining tale is a sure crowd-pleaser. Steig’s narration ratchets up the ridiculousness in deadpan fashion, spiced throughout with gloriously chewy language that rolls off the tongue. Spencer’s accompanying watercolor-and-ink illustrations, filled with humor and exaggeration, are just the right complement to the text’s amiable foolishness. (Picture book. 4-8)