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From the PublisherBooklist *STAR* Freyman, Saxton and Elffers, Joost. Fast Food. Mar. 2006. 32p. Illus. by Saxton Freyman. Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine, $12.99 (0-439-11019-X).
PreSGr. 2. Like Freymann and Elffers' other books, such as How Are You Peeling? (1999) and Food for Thought (2005), this picture book takes a theme (here, transportation) and illustrates it with exceptionally clear color photos of ephemeral, sometimes whimsical sculptures created from fruits and vegetables. As quietly witty as its title, the book is narrated by a little mushroom man who suggests different ways of getting about: on foot or by skateboard, wheelchair, bicycle, skis, car, bus, truck, train, sailboat, submarine, airplane, blimp, or rocket. The playful text gallops along smoothly in rhymed couplets, while the illustrations work their inimitable charm. Little mushroom, radish, and gingerroot people drive around in cars made from a variety of foods: peppers, a cucumber, a sweet potato, and (wait for it . . .) a lemon. Because the pear-based helicopter (runners made of string beans, blades of peapods, and piloted by a radish head with a confident smile) is photographed slightly from below and suspended above the tops of leafy parsley stalks, it appears to hover above trees. Clean book design and vivid color reproduction ensure that the art takes center stage here. This handsome book is both a uniquely entertaining addition to preschool and primary-grade units on transportation and an irresistible invitation for children to play creatively with their food. Carolyn Phelan
KIRKUS STARRED 1/1/06
FAST FOOD by Freyman, Saxton ISBN 0-439-11019-X; $ 12.99; all ages; 32 pages
Freyman's parade if inventively carved and combined fruits and veggies rolls on, this time demonstrating modes of travel, He starts with feet (actual mushroom stems) of course, and continues through skates and scooters, a wheelchair, skis, automobiles, a fire truck, a passenger train with cucumber cars, boats, planes and finally a carrot/rocket orbiting an unaltered cantaloupe that, just as it is, looks remarkably moonlike, Wheels are slices of jalapeno or radish; a sea of cabbage floats boats made of pea pods, scooped out banana peels and a watermelon steamer. Who won't smile at the banana airplane, squash blimp or romaine-leaf sail? Accompanied by a bouncy rhyme- "By foot, on wheels, by air or sea,/ I hope that soon you'll visit me!"- these vehicles and their delightfully lifelike passengers will inspire laughter and admiration in equal measure.
PreS-Gr 3Once again, the creative team that brought readers such delicious titles as How Are You Peeling? (1999) and Food for Thought (2005, both Scholastic), is at it again, this time sculpting fruits and vegetables to depict things that go. An engaging mushroom figure (think Pillsbury Dough boy) leads the way as he runs and skips, skis and skates, pedals and glides under his own power. From there, the pace picks up, highlighting mechanical, long-distance vehicles, such as cars, trucks, trains, ocean liners, and helicopters. Each ingenious construction maintains the integrity of its various elements (the train consists of zucchini passenger cars on a celery-stalk track) photographed against solid backgrounds. As any librarian knows, books on transportation always move, and this one, featuring an okra airplane and a ginger kayaker paddling a fava-bean boat, may move faster than most.Luann Toth, School Library Journal