Badger's Fancy Mealby Keiko Kasza (Illustrator)
Keiko Kasza, a master at
When apples, worms and roots become unbearably boring, Badger sets off to find more exciting foodbut he can’t quite catch the main ingredients. Badger keeps searching until in frustration he shouts: “I’m so hungry I could eat a horse!” Unfortunately, a nearby horse doesn’t think that is so funny.
Keiko Kasza, a master at surprise twists on the last page, includes clever panels to show what happens to the animals who escape Badger’s grasp, allowing kids to be in on the satisfying way they unwittingly get back at their tormentor.
Hapless Badger is no longer satisfied with his usual meal of apples, worms, and root vegetables, so he leaves his den (after a little whining) in search of a "fancy meal." In this sequential narrative, he nearly captures a mole, a rat, and a rabbit but, as fate would have it, they slip from his grasp. As Badger imagines a mole taco, a cheese-covered rat burger, and a rabbit banana split, he declares, "Now, that's what I call a fancy meal." Both pace and pitch are perfect: as Badger chases after another missed meal, the one he's just lost escapes down a hole that-you guessed it-happens to be his den. Children are allowed a sneak peek behind the scenes via a corner illustration of a faux folded-back page, displaying those that "got away," as they share a feast. And, of course, children won't miss the irony. When the happy animals depart, they leave a paw-signed thank-you note to their unknown host. The gouache illustrations are colorful and full of humorous expression. The story is excellent for reflection, explication, and retelling, not to mention the teaching of maxims and irony. Another bold, bright, and funny read-aloud to add to Kasza's canon.
Teresa PfeiferCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Meet the Author
Keiko Kasza was born on a small Japanese island in the Inland Sea of Japan. She grew up in a typical Japanese extended family with her parents, two brothers, and grandparents. Uncles, aunts, and cousins also lived nearby. "All the steps I took growing up were very normal," Ms. Kasza says. "The only unusual thing I did was go to college in the United States." She graduated with a degree in graphic design from California State University at Northridge. Ms. Kasza married an American, and the United States has been her home ever since.
After publishing five children's books in Japan and working as a graphic designer for fourteen years, Ms. Kasza decided in 1988 to devote her time to picture books. She says, "Having two small boys and two professions was too much to handle."
Ms. Kasza admires many great picture-book creators, such as Leo Lionni and Maurice Sendak, but says that the work of Arnold Lobel has influenced her the most. The subtle humor and warmth he created in his books continues to inspire me," she says. "I often go back to his work when I get discouraged or lose confidence."
Ms. Kasza compares the process of making a book to acting on stage under the lights:
"I become the character that I'm working on at that moment. I pretend that I'm a bird looking for a mother, or a pig trying to impress his girlfriend. When I'm acting, I'm a child myself."
Ms. Kasza's ambition is not to create a hundred books, but to "create one really good book that will be kept on the family bookshelves for generations, although a hundred really good books would be even better, of course!"
Keiko Kasza lives in Indiana with her husband and two sons.
copyright © 2000 by Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers. All rights reserved.
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