Feeding the Flying Fanellis: And Other Poems from a Circus Chef

(Author) (Illustrator)

Product Details

$17.99  $16.73
Carolrhoda Books (R)
Publish Date
10.7 X 9.0 X 0.3 inches | 0.85 pounds
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About the Author

Kate Hosford is the author of several picture books, including Infinity and Me which won the New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Book award and was named an ALA Notable Children's Book. She lives in Brooklyn.
Cosei Kawa is an award-winning Japanese artist. His many accolades include the CCBC Choices best-of-the-year list, the Sydney Taylor Book Award Silver Medal, and the Turry's Picture Book Award.


"Circus artists can't perform acts of wonder or derring-do without a proper diet. That's where the circus chef comes in, concocting the perfect recipes to keep the troupe tip-top beneath the big top. In 18 rhythmic poems, most in simple rhyming couplets, Chef describes the meals he prepares (and dietary demands) for the different circus members. There is Miss Miranda May, the fire-eater, who adds flaming chili sauce to every dish, and the high-strung tightrope walker, who insists upon a 'balanced diet.' Let's not forget the genteel clown, who apologetically throws his pies, or the snack-obsessed human cannonball, growing ever more rotund. The poems themselves are standard fare, but Hosford's cast of characters and unique culinary approach make for an enjoyable, coherent collection. Kawa's detailed illustrations steal the show, injecting a wild sort of energy into the proceedings. The colorful pictures, created through acrylic, watercolor, collage, and digital effects, are rich with imagination, playing into the idea that the circus is a world unto its own."--Booklist


"Employing cheerful rhymes of varied pattern, the book's narrator, a chef and poet, describes the culinary tastes of the Flying Fanellis and other colorful circus entertainers. The ringmaster has no time to sit down for meals. 'Inside of his hat is a picnic I made--/Salami and mustard, a mini baguette.' The homesick strongman from Ukraine gets 'vushka and some tea/From his babushka's recipe.' Readers are also introduced to the juggler, a dog named Little Blue, the contortionist twins, and more circus stars. Like the poems, the mixed-media illustrations are comic and whimsical. Kawa's collage and drawn figures are set against nicely washed backgrounds in many hues. Often long and slender of limb and round in body, the cartoonlike performers resemble puppets or other toy figures. The clown and the human cannonball are presented as circular bodies framing heads, and the ravenous lion is a bit surreal, appearing as a jacketed human with a moustache and goatee, his pointed ears poking through a wig. Tiny details scattered across each scene add humor but are so small that they might be easily missed. There's just a bit of a story with Hugo, the sugar-addicted human cannonball, becoming a pastry chef in the end, and there's a final summer feast gathering of all the characters at a long table, circus tents behind them. VERDICT: Though the busy scenes won't quite work for group use, they don't keep the verses from being fun, read-aloud choices, and librarians and educators will find this a useful resource for sparking thought about the circus, food preferences, and poetry writing."--School Library Journal


"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 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 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."--Kirkus Reviews


"Feeding the circus is a tall order, a boyish chef with the face of a porcelain doll reveals. Hosford's nimble wordplay describes the demands of the circus's hungry, finicky, and sometimes overindulgent performers: a juggler can't be served anything round ('He's growing thin; his plate is bare./ All his food is in the air!'), while a goateed, suit-wearing lion is revealed as a gourmet: 'First comes antelope pâté, / Followed by a consommé.' Kawa's exuberant illustrations easily keep pace with Hosford's rhymes, conjuring a memorable cast that also includes a soup-loving dog, homesick Ukrainian strongman, and picky tightrope walker. It's a highly enjoyable and inventive blend of circus feats and culinary treats."--Publishers Weekly