"BRAVO, ZAN ANGELO!" by Niki Daly


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Young Angelo's attempts to join his grandfather's commedia dell'arte troupe serve as a delightful introduction to this Italian Renaissance form of clowning. Angelo's grandfather, Zan Polo, has become a grumpy old man, and his troupe's lagging popularity doesn't make him very receptive to his grandson's pesterings to join the show. Finally he agrees that Angelo can have a bit part offstage, as a rooster. Angelo has higher aspirations; through bartering and cajoling he's able to piece together a rag-tag rooster costume. When the performance begins, the rooster steals the show, poking his head out between the curtains, and tricking the tricksters. The audience falls in love with the little red rooster, and Zan Polo realizes his grandson provides the energy the aging troupe needs. Daly (Why the Sun and the Moon Live in the Sky, 1995, etc.) skillfully commandeers both story and illustrations. From the reflective pastel light of Venice, to the expressive gestures of the performers, his talented brushwork will make readers appreciate not only the troupe, but also their creator.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1998
Page count: 36pp
Publisher: "Farrar, Straus & Giroux"