Enjoy a ringside seat and be enthralled by a circus that’s like no other.

FEEDING THE FLYING FANELLIS

AND OTHER POEMS FROM A CIRCUS CHEF

Everyone needs to eat, even circus acts!

In this charming collection of poems, a circus chef waxes lyrical about the whimsical meals he must prepare for those who perform under the big top. “My days are long and sweaty, and the chaos never ends. / But still I find I’m most content when cooking for my friends,” declares the chef. Keeping performers well-fed and happy is a challenge. However, this chef is up for it, as his quirky poems attest. A rhyme or two may sound forced—for instance, for the homesick strongman from Ukraine, "I made him vushka and some tea / From his babushka’s recipe”—but for the most part, they delight. “The lion is a true gourmet” and a demanding diner. “First comes antelope pâté, / Followed by a consommé. / His entrée is a wild boar. / He wolfs it down and roars for more.” As for the book’s namesake, the Flying Fanellis, “They only ask for lemon cakes / To fill their fearless bellies.” Readers should save their biggest applause for the illustrator. Kawa’s mixed-media palette is as magical and over-the-top as any circus experience. Dreamlike sequences are portrayed in rich, vibrant colors. Fantastical scenes pan, track, and tilt: top-down, down-up, up-close, and faraway. Don’t miss the tiniest details, from flaming teapots to vegetables on legs.

Enjoy a ringside seat and be enthralled by a circus that’s like no other. (Picture book/poetry. 5-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4677-3905-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Carolrhoda

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2015

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Make space for this clever blend of science and self-realization.

A PLACE FOR PLUTO

If Pluto can’t be a planet—then what is he?

Having been a regular planet for “the better part of forever,” Pluto is understandably knocked out of orbit by his sudden exclusion. With Charon and his four other moons in tow he sets off in search of a new identity. Unfortunately, that only spins him into further gloom, as he doesn’t have a tail like his friend Halley’s comet, is too big to join Ida and the other asteroids, and feels disinclined to try to crash into Earth like meteoroids Gem and Persi. Then, just as he’s about to plunge into a black hole of despair, an encounter with a whole quartet of kindred spheroids led by Eris rocks his world…and a follow-up surprise party thrown by an apologetic Saturn (“Dwarf planet has a nice RING to it”) and the other seven former colleagues literally puts him “over the moon.” Demmer gives all the heavenly bodies big eyes (some, including the feminine Saturn, with long lashes) and, on occasion, short arms along with distinctive identifying colors or markings. Dressing the troublemaking meteoroids in do-rags and sunglasses sounds an off note. Without mentioning that the reclassification is still controversial, Wade closes with a (somewhat) straighter account of Pluto’s current official status and the reasons for it.

Make space for this clever blend of science and self-realization. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68446-004-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Capstone Young Readers

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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THE FENWAY FOUL-UP

BALLPARK MYSTERIES, #1

From the Ballpark Mysteries series , Vol. 1

A new series for emerging chapter-book readers combines the allure of baseball parks with the challenge of solving a mystery. Mike and Kate have tickets to a Red Sox game and an all-access pass to the park, courtesy of Kate's mom, a sportswriter. The pass comes in handy when it's reported that star player Big D's lucky bat has been stolen, as it allows them to help find the thief. Historical details about Fenway Park, including the secret code found on the manual scoreboard, a look at Wally the mascot and a peek into the gift shop, will keep the young baseball fan reading, even when the actual mystery of the missing bat falls a little flat. Writing mysteries for very young readers is a challenge—the puzzle has to be easy enough to solve while sustaining readers' interest. This slight adventure is more baseball-park travel pamphlet than mystery, a vehicle for providing interesting details about one of the hallowed halls of baseball. Not a homerun, but certainly a double for the young enthusiast. On deck? The Pinstripe Ghost, also out on Feb. 22, 2011. (historical notes) (Mystery. 6-9)

 

 

Pub Date: Feb. 22, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-375-86703-3

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Dec. 30, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2011

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