Fleas!

Overview

From the whimsical world of Steig!

When Quantz stops to pet a big red dog, what does he get for his efforts? FLEAS! And those fleas are itchy! So he trades them for a talking uncle, but that uncle just talks too much, so Quantz is happy to give him up for a huge wheel of limburger cheese. But that cheese is too heavy, so he trades it for a beat up banjo . . . then an auburn wig . . . a tiny pet rabbit . . . a dried up bone . . . and finally a ...

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Overview

From the whimsical world of Steig!

When Quantz stops to pet a big red dog, what does he get for his efforts? FLEAS! And those fleas are itchy! So he trades them for a talking uncle, but that uncle just talks too much, so Quantz is happy to give him up for a huge wheel of limburger cheese. But that cheese is too heavy, so he trades it for a beat up banjo . . . then an auburn wig . . . a tiny pet rabbit . . . a dried up bone . . . and finally a big red dog—who becomes a fast friend.

This wonderfully Steigish tall tale concludes with a flea circus you'll never forget! With whimsical, retro illustrations and a hilarious text, Fleasis a book children will be itching to hear again and again!

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Steig's (A Handful of Beans) shaggy dog story, like the swapping stories found in folk or fairy tales, takes readers on a hilarious journey with a farmer named Quantz. "Patta pim, patta pum, the day has begun," says Quantz. "Pitta pom, pitta posh—there's a dog in the squash!" Although the constantly changing nonsense expressions can seem intrusive, the story is pure fun: Quantz ingeniously trades the fleas which he gets from the dog for an uncle who never stops talking, the uncle for a huge Limburger cheese, and so on until he ends up with the now flea-free red dog at a flea circus frequented by all the characters who have gone before. In Spencer's (Make Your Mark, Franklin Roosevelt) capable hands, the intrepid hero looks like Ichabod Crane, and part of the joy is in seeing each new outlandish personage. Although the narrative tension stems from readers' attempts to anticipate just how Quantz will get rid of the next useless item—be it a red wig, a rabbit or a bare bone—the true magic emanates from Quantz himself, who looks for a "barrel of fun" and finds it. Ages 3-up. (May)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal

Gr 1-3- Farmer Quantz encounters a dog in his vegetable garden and gives him a good rub behind the ears. When the pup bounds off, Quantz finds he has been left with a fine case of fleas and begins to itch wildly. Running down the road, he meets a woman with an uncle who will not stop talking, and they trade burdens. Off Quantz goes with the garrulous uncle until he meets a man carrying a huge chuck of Limburger cheese. Eager to get out from under his load, he accepts Quantz's offer of an exchange. And so it goes until the story comes full circle and Quantz ends up with the dog that, by this time, is sans fleas. Peppered with wonderful language, this noodle-head story makes for a lively and fun read-aloud. The mixed-media cartoon spreads, featuring elongated figures in exaggerated poses, perfectly match the comic tone of the tale.-Joan Kindig, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA

Kirkus Reviews
It's a perfect day, and Quantz is happily gardening when a dog stops for a scratch. The dog runs off, leaving Quantz with a terrible case of fleas. They itch, so Quantz goes looking for help. He manages to trade his fleas for a talkative uncle who is badgering a passerby. He and the uncle then run into a lonely man carrying a stack of cheese, and Quantz makes another switch. The cheese begins to melt, so Quantz barters with some passing mice for a battered banjo-and so on, in a chain of swaps that leaves him with a bone. This is perfect for the original flea-bitten dog, whom Quantz sees guarding the entrance to a tent. What Quantz finds inside makes for a spectacular finish. This entertaining tale is a sure crowd-pleaser. Steig's narration ratchets up the ridiculousness in deadpan fashion, spiced throughout with gloriously chewy language that rolls off the tongue. Spencer's accompanying watercolor-and-ink illustrations, filled with humor and exaggeration, are just the right complement to the text's amiable foolishness. (Picture book. 4-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780399247569
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 5/1/2008
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.20 (w) x 11.10 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Jeanne Steig lives in Massachusetts.

Britt Spencer lives in California.

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