Feeding The Flying Fanellis and Other Poems from a Circus Chef – PPBF

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fanellisTitle: Feeding the Flying Fanellis and Other Poems from a Circus Chef

Written by: Kate Hosford

Illustrated by: Coesei Kawa

Published by: Carolrhoda books 2015

Themes: food, circus, chefs,

Genre: poetry

Ages: 5-8

Source: review copy from the publisher


In The circus Kitchen

I’ve never turned a cartwheel, and I’m dizzy in high places.
I couldn’t ever be a clown-I don’t make funny faces.

But put me in the kitchen, and I think you’ll be delighted.
Join us for a circus meal. Everyone’s invited.


  • A circus chef prepares the perfect dish for each member of the ensemble according to their nationality, quirks and skills!
  • The ringmaster keeps his snacks under his classy topper
  • The Ukrainian strongman gets special treats from his home nation like his baboushkas recipe for vushka
  • The tightrope walker who is incredibly picky.
  • A gourmet lion who might have an antelope pate starter wild boar.
    His entrée is wild boar
    he wolfs it down and asks for more.
  • For the Fire Eater, the chef warns:                                                                              Avoid the Flaming Chili Sauce of Miss Miranda May.                                                  She offers it to everyone, mo matter what I say.
  • The human cannon ball’s sweet tooth could end up in a sticky stuck situation!

Why I like this book:

This series of poems is delightfully whimsicial. the rhythm and meter and chef’s choice fit each member of the circus to cup of tea! And Kawa’s illustrations are as bizarre and whimsicial as the poetry matching perfectly the style Hosford has chosen.

Poetry written to  theme is not uncommon. Often it is for subjects like travel, or seaons, or celebrations. Being a chef to a circus is just hilariously different. Each character’s personality bubbles forth from the foods they like and the chef’s desire to please. It is worth taking considerable time over the quirky illustrations as the details are funny: miniature carrots and turnips on legs running from the soup. Kawa uses great play with light & shade, spotlighting that you would see at the circus. There is great voice and strength in the chef, masterfully achieved through the choice of poetic styles.

I am quite a fan oif Hosford’s whimsy and recommend INFINIITY and ME and THE BIG BOUFFANT


The variety of poem forms offer great examples for poetry units.

It can be read all the way through or page by page as each poem stands alone.
I think the illustrations and subject lend themselves to some great student artwork. Children could pick their favorite circus act, write their own short stanza and illustrate.

Each week a group of bloggers reviews picture books we feel would make great educational reads. To help teachers, caregivers and parents, we have included resources and activities with each of our reviews. A complete list of the thousands of books we have reviewed can be found sorted alphabetically and by topics, here on Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.

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14 Responses to Feeding The Flying Fanellis and Other Poems from a Circus Chef – PPBF

  1. What a clever and entertaining book. I love that it is written in rhyme, which adds to the fun. The cook certainly has to cater to the picky and quirky needs of each performer.

  2. Sounds like a showstopper! Thanks, Joanna.

  3. Jean James says:

    This book looks amazing. I love that it involves food, the circus, and rhyming…just so clever! Thanks!

  4. Ahh, a book I can sink my teeth into. It sounds like a story I would enjoy, and I’m intrigued by what your description of the illustrations. This book is on my library list.

  5. Yes! Yes! I’ve been dying to get a look at this. Thanks for the sneek peek.

  6. Heather Dent says:

    Mmmm! Poetry and food! Sounds like my kind of book!

  7. Keila Dawson says:

    So clever! Food is such a great way to expose kids to culture.

  8. Kate Hosford says:

    Thanks to Johanna for this marvelous review, and thanks to all of you for your interest in the book. I really had a fun time writing these poems, and hope that they are equally fun for those who read them!

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