Grab your seat under the big top, and get ready for some circus themed, creative, and totally fun poetry. Kate Hosford’s Feeding the Flying Fanellis and Other Poems from a Circus Chef features unique poems and eye-catching illustrations by Cosei Kawa.
Eighteen poems make up this collection, sharing the stories of different circus participants. Starting by introducing the circus chef, young readers are invited to ponder what it must be like to cook for the huge group of wildly varied people and creatures who make up the circus. The chef, as seen on the cover image, is fully prepared for a wide variety of food preferences, and his kitchen is bustling. Each subsequent poem features one person or group and what they love eating best. From the ringmaster and the little picnic packed in his top hat, to the little jumping dog who flips for any type of soup, the characters are as interesting and wacky as the food they love to eat.
Watch out for the juggler who will toss any round food he’s served up into the air, and be ready to cheer when the chef’s special tarte flambée helps raise the mood of the Parisian contortionist twins who have found themselves a bit tied up. An assortment of pies is, of course, a delightful scene to the circus’s resident clown, who loves to practice his act. The chef’s dishes bring joy and help the show go on!
The poems themselves are funny and thought-provoking for children with rich and interesting language that goes beyond simple, familiar rhymes. And then there are the illustrations. I’m not quite sure I can put my finger on just what is drawing me back again and again to these illustrations, but Cosei Kawa has created some incredibly surreal and magical images that have an old-fashioned illustrative feel to them while presenting a very contemporary circus environment.
The backstory of how this book came to be is a cool read, as well. Head over to author Kate Hosford’s website to learn more about her three-decade long love for Circus Smirkus and how thinking about how someone had to be cooking for all these kids (yes, they’re kids!) on the road helped inspire her to create this unique picture book of poetry for children.