Get your forks ready—this salute to pasta via the ABCs is truly entertaining, as the subtitle states.
Photographs of real pasta of many varieties are overlaid on loosely drawn digital drawings against white space to lend form and figure to circus performers A to Z. The cover image of a ringmaster with a rigatoni body sets up the conceit, and the fun is on. A stands for “angel hair acrobats”: four figures with angel-hair nests for faces and leotards with red, green, blue, or yellow stripes. C is for “campanelle clowns” wearing silly pasta hats. F is for “fettuccine fire-eaters,” with the pasta representing the fire. The occasional nonpasta item harmonizes nicely, as with the “herb hoops” a couple of acrobats use as props and the “plate spinners” named “Pecorino and Parmigiano.” Medina introduces other proper names too, as in “quick Quentin quadrucci” and “x-traordinary Xavier the xylophonist.” Some of the elements are quite exotic, such as the “nets” made of “nero di seppia” that catch the trapeze artists. The endpapers are small drawings of the various circus performers. Some require that readers look closely, as with the strands of “spaghetti” that act as bleachers for the “spectators.” All letters are presented clearly in both upper- and lowercase.
Younger kids are not likely to recognize many of the lesser-known types of pasta, but what a toothsome way to have fun with them. (Picture book. 5-10)