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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Have the contact info for the local dojo handy—readers will want to try out these martial-arts styles for themselves.

THE THREE NINJA PIGS

"Dedication and practice pay off," is the message these three pigs painlessly deliver.

“Once upon a dangerous time,” a wolf plagued a town with his huffing and puffing, so three pigs—two hogs and a sow—attend Ninja School to learn how to face him. Each studies a different martial art, but the two brothers quickly lose interest; the third pig alone earns all her belts. So when the wolf comes calling, it’s no surprise when the brothers’ skills are not equal to the task. “The chase carried on to their sister’s. / Pig Three was outside in her gi. / ‘I’m a certified weapon, / so watch where you’re steppin’. / You don’t want to start up with me!’ ” A demonstration of her prowess is enough to send the wolf packing and the brothers back to their training. Schwartz’s sophomore outing is a standout among fractured fairy tales, masterfully combining rollicking limerick verse with a solid story, neither a slave to the other. The one quibble is the “Ninja” of the title—these pigs study the martial arts of aikido, jujitsu and karate. Santat’s illustrations are done with Sumi brush on rice paper and finished in Photoshop. The colors, patterns and themes nicely incorporate those of Japanese art, and the setting, with its background mountains, cherry blossoms and traditional rooftops, is firmly Japanese.

Have the contact info for the local dojo handy—readers will want to try out these martial-arts styles for themselves. (glossary) (Fractured fairy tale. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-399-25514-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: July 18, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An early reader that kids will want to befriend.

NOT ME!

In an odd-couple pairing of Bear and Chipmunk, only one friend is truly happy to spend the day at the beach.

“Not me!” is poor Chipmunk’s lament each time Bear expresses the pleasure he takes in sunning, swimming, and other activities at the beach. While controlled, repetitive text makes the story accessible to new readers, slapstick humor characterizes the busy watercolor-and-ink illustrations and adds interest. Poor Chipmunk is pinched by a crab, buried in sand, and swept upside down into the water, to name just a few mishaps. Although other animal beachgoers seem to notice Chipmunk’s distress, Bear cheerily goes about his day and seems blithely ignorant of his friend’s misfortunes. The playful tone of the illustrations helps soften the dynamic so that it doesn’t seem as though Chipmunk is in grave danger or that Bear is cruel. As they leave at the end of the book Bear finally asks, “Why did you come?” and Chipmunk’s sweet response caps off the day with a warm sunset in the background.

An early reader that kids will want to befriend. (Early reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3546-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more