The lyrical poetry in the new children’s book Feeding the Flying Fanellis and Other Poems from a Circus Chef by Kate Hosford is a great mix of quirky and fun. They capture the whimsical spirit of the circus itself. The illustrations by Cosei Kawa are works of art- colorful and surreal.
What do you feed a trapeze family to keep them up in the air? That’s the question Hosford poses in this charming collection of poems.The tireless circus chef knows just what to feed the tightrope walker to keep her balanced and makes chili sauce to keep the fire-eater zesty. Each performer gets a special dish—something parents raising picky eaters can certainly relate to. Kirkus Reviews recently praised the book: “Enjoy a ringside seat and be enthralled by a circus that’s like no other.”
In this book of poetry, the Circus Chef invites young readers to join his circus family for a meal- everyone’s invited. He knows doing tricks and performing aren’t his talents but is confident that they’ll be delighted in his kitchen. The Circus Chef takes care of everyone, from the Ringmaster to the Coontortionist Twins, and he does a great job even when they’re picky.
I know from the viewpoint of a mom listening and reading along with my boys, I understand the feelings of the poor chef, which actually made me laugh. As for my sons, they didn’t know the meaning or definition of all the words in the poetry, such as vushka and idiosyncrasy, but I didn’t mind that because I used it as a learning tool for them.
The illustrations are a very surreal style, which I personally think is beautiful and creative. My boys also liked most of them, although the clowns weren’t their favorites.
Feeding the Flying Fanellis and Other Poems From a Circus Chef is a great yet somewhat challenging book for readers around the 3rd-4th grade reading level, and interesting enough to hold the attention of much younger listeners.
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Kate Hosford grew up in Vermont and is a lifelong fan of Circus Smirkus, a youth circus based there. In 2010, she read an article about Ringling Brothers chef Michael Vaughn and began to wonder about the quirky food requests a circus chef might get from the various performers. The poems flowed from there. She graduated from Amherst College in 1988 with a degree in English and Philosophy. Before becoming an author, she worked as a social worker, an elementary school teacher, and an illustrator. In 2011, she received her MFA in Writing For Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She presently lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband and two sons. Her books are Big Bouffant, Big Birthday, Infinity and Me, and Feeding the Flying Fanellis and Other Poems from a Circus Chef.