Feeding the Flying Fanellis and Other Poems From a Circus Chef
written by Kate Hosford; illustrated by Cosei Kawa
2015 (Carolrhoda Books)
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher
My days are long and sweaty, and the chaos never ends.
But still, I find I'm most content when cooking for my friends.
You have to appreciate someone who loves their job. This circus chef certainly enjoys his work. These poems document the meals he provides for the performers. For the busy ringmaster, the chef provides food that can fit into his hat. A mini-baguette with salami and mustard, hazelnut chocolates, and lemonade do quite nicely for the leader who can't sit still. Our chef is happy and also empathetic. You don't want a sad strongman in your circus, so the chef makes a vushka for the Ukrainian who misses his babushka. The chef takes equal care with all of the performers. He makes a tarte flambee to help the contortionist twins unwind. Boris, who rides the eleven inch bike, has to watch his calories. If you are the tightrope walker, you need a balanced diet. Flounder, new potatoes, lettuce and tomatoes make her day. Then there are the Flying Fannellis. They require a sugar high, so lemon cakes keep them airborne. A chef's work is never done, but it is a labor of love.
Kate Hosford is more creative than an average bear. She serves up an entree of original point of view with an appetizer of humor and a dollop of sweetness for dessert. Cosei Kawa's illustrations are also a feast for the eyes. Hosford glides between different rhyme patterns so I would definitely share this book to show students the menu of possibilities when writing poetry. I also think this would be a great book to share when teaching a unit on careers. It would help students consider all of those who provide support for performers. I would give a Michelin star to Feeding the Flying Fanellis.