FAIR! by Ted Lewin


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In sparkling, full-bleed watercolors and lively text, Lewin (Market, 1996, etc.) recreates that once-a-year phenomenon--the county fair. He begins with carnival trucks rumbling into the empty fairground. Soon the rides go up ""like giant metal insects emerging from their cocoons . . . the Ferris Wheel, the Tilt-a-Whirl, and the Flying Bobs."" The ""4-H'ers"" arrive with their livestock and begin to brush and comb, wash and clip, powder and polish. By late afternoon the opening-day parade heads toward the fairground, ending up in front of the jam-packed grandstand. As night falls, a fireworks display kicks off the festivities, and the midway bursts into life. Lewin captures it all from the blaring loudspeaker and bright lights of the midway to the hall where judges pin ribbons on quilts, crafts, fruits, vegetables, and glistening jars of preserves. A wonderful close-up of sheep, hooded and blanketed to keep them clean, contrasts with an aerial view of the carnival at dusk. Before the whole show moves on, Lewin visits the quiet stall housing the world's largest cow, where ""a child with the face of an angel leans against the warm bulk of the great beast and hums softly."" A pulsing, panoramic examination of a summertime ritual.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1997
Page count: 40pp
Publisher: Lothrop