The Great Fuzz Frenzy

The Great Fuzz Frenzy

3.9 11
by Janet Stevens, Susan Stevens Crummel

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Deep, deep down in their underground town, the prairie dogs live in harmony—until a mysterious, fluorescent, very fuzzy thing (otherwise known as a tennis ball) rolls down their hole. When the prairie dogs discover that they can pluck and pull the fuzz into fabulous fashions, their fear quickly turns to curiosity, then delight, then pure greed.


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Deep, deep down in their underground town, the prairie dogs live in harmony—until a mysterious, fluorescent, very fuzzy thing (otherwise known as a tennis ball) rolls down their hole. When the prairie dogs discover that they can pluck and pull the fuzz into fabulous fashions, their fear quickly turns to curiosity, then delight, then pure greed.

The frenzy that erupts threatens to tear apart the prairie-dog town forever. But when mean ol' Big Bark is kidnapped after taking all the fuzz for himself, the prairie dogs come to the rescue and remember the true meaning of community.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The Stevens sisters (Cook-a-Doodle-Doo) prove that there's a lot of mileage to be gained from a wacky premise and some roly-poly prairie dogs. When Violet the pooch accidentally drops a tennis ball into a prairie-dog town, the rodents discover the malleable properties of the ball's light green fuzz and go wild: "They fuzzed their ears, their heads, their noses." In her full-bleed spreads (sometimes extending into a gatefold to play up the depth of the tunnels), Stevens likens the furry crowd to kids playing dress-up. The prairie dogs fashion Mohawks, tutus, superhero outfits and big fuzzy slippers from the stuff. Only one prairie dog seems immune: Big Bark, a blowhard with a bottle-cap hat. But Big Bark's disdain is just a front; when the other prairie dogs collapse from exhaustion ("Fuzzled out"), he steals all the fuzz-and turns himself into a blob of green that catches the eye of a prey-seeking eagle (in a bravura spread, its mass of black feathers morphs into a maelstrom of menace). Not surprisingly, the prairie dogs put aside their fuzz-based differences, and Big Bark finds a useful purpose for his belligerence. Stevens's watercolors make heroes of these curious critters. She plunges readers into an animated, earthy underworld, endows her furry cast with winning goofiness and turns the winged symbol of America into a figure of fear. Ages 3-7. (Sept.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Violet, a playful dog, drops a fuzzy green tennis ball all the way down a tunnel into a group of puzzled prairie dogs. When little Pip Squeak bravely pokes the ball and puts some of the green fuzz on his head, the others begin to grab fuzz to use for all kinds of fantastic self-decoration. As the news spreads, prairie dogs from all around come to join the "fuzz frenzy," "fuzz fiesta," "fuzz fandango." When all the fuzz is picked off the ball, a furious fight follows. Then the fuzz is taken away by bossy Big Bark; he, in turn, is snatched up by an eagle. The other prairie dogs manage to rescue him and swear off the troublesome fuzz in the future. But their troubles may not be over. On the back end-papers Violet hovers over a tunnel—as she did in the front—this time with a red tennis ball in her mouth. Just as the text enjoys playing with language, Stevens has fun creating madcap themes and variations in mixed media as she portrays the many ways the prairie dogs make use of the green stuff. There is a triple open-up spread to be held sideways as we follow the ball all the way down to the bottom of the tunnel. Bold white letters against the brown earth announce the excitement. A comic romp for all to enjoy. 2005, Harcourt, Ages 3 to 7.
—Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-It all begins innocently enough, when Violet the dog drops a fuzzy green tennis ball down a prairie-dog hole on the title page. When it finally lands deep in the underground tunnels, dozens of little dogs are gazing at it with trepidation. The biggest prairie dog of all, the bully Big Bark, comes to take a look, but before he can get close enough, Pip Squeak runs up to the ball and exclaims, "`It's fuzzy!'" "`Oooooooh!'" gasped the other dogs. Soon, they all begin adorning themselves with pieces of lime-green fuzz, ignoring Big Bark's commands that they stop this foolishness. Prairie dogs come from all over to help themselves until the ball is plucked bare. War breaks out, leaving Pip Squeak feeling rather guilty for starting it all. While the embattled dogs collapse in exhaustion, Big Bark steals all of the fuzz, proclaiming himself "king of the fuzz," which makes him an easy target for an eagle, who swoops down and grabs him. Pip Squeak rallies the others to come to Big Bark's aid. The marvelously rendered mixed-media illustrations, with vivid blues, earthy browns, and that luminescent green, capture the true fuzzy nature and greenish glow of the ball. As in the author's popular Tops and Bottoms (Harcourt, 1995), this book employs both horizontal and vertical spreads, effectively taking readers deep into the underground realm. A wonderful addition for storyhours, this title will be requested again and again.-Lisa Gangemi Kropp, Middle Country Public Library, Centereach, NY Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
What would happen if a dog of the canine persuasion were to drop a green tennis ball down a prairie dogs' burrow? Why, the prairies would pick it apart, fashion all sorts of finery out of its fuzz and then get territorial about it when neighboring prairie dogs demanded their share. It's inevitable that a frenzy would ensue. After rescuing one of their own from an eagle's clutches, the prairies in this story finally realize that fuzz just isn't worth it. But along comes Violet the mutt again, this time with a red tennis ball, and then. . . . The energetic art and layout are the real standouts in this cute yet thin story. The dogs-both of the canis and burrow varieties-are expressive and hilarious, and readers can open up double-paged spreads and occasionally turn the volume vertically, a Stevens trademark. Dramatic font changes and words like Swoop! and Boink! add to the read-aloud fun. (Picture book. 3-7)

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Product Details

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
11.00(w) x 10.50(h) x 0.42(d)
420L (what's this?)
Age Range:
3 - 7 Years

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The Great Fuzz Frenzy 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The dogs will not share and then all the fuzz igone and the chief had it and everyone was blaming their family
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Usually I don't mind investing a little extra money in a good story in nook format, however, I am very disappointed that I spent almost $10 for this book. I regret that I did not pay attention to the review posted in May 2011. The actual book may be great, but the pictures in the nook format are very small, and I was unable to enlarge them to make out much detail. The actual story words are written in tiny white letters amidst the pictures, and are unreadable, so the story had to be reprinted below the pictures on the pages. Many pages do not have the matching words from the picture on that same page, so it is hard to follow. The story itself is cute, however, buy it as a paper copy to really enjoy this one!
Amy Harley More than 1 year ago
We are so disappointed. The format of the eBook is terrible. Wish I had spent the $10 on the actual paper version.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
In some of her most recent work, Janet Stevens has created a playful story that adds to her already creditable list of outstanding books. Stevens, author of Tops and Bottoms and My Big Dog, has done it again with her book titled, The Great Fuzz Frenzy. Stevens has written and illustrated many picture books that have won numerous awards. These awards include the Caldecott Honor, An American Library Association Notable Book and the Parent¿s Choice Awards and many others. Because she illustrates some of her own books, she adds her own unique touch of creativity and humor in her collections. The Great Fuzz Frenzy is no exception. This book became alive when her dog rolled a tennis ball into a prairie-dog hole and Janet began to wonder what the prairie dogs might have thought when this strange creature came in and bombarded their community. She turned her simple wonder into a book that allows readers to be imaginative and creative through this fictional book about how life could be for these prairie dogs who create clothing from the tennis ball fuzz. Taking the perspective of the prairie dogs, we as readers enter their world and become a part of this underground life that we have never explored. The illustrations highlight just how fluorescent the ball is to these brown, plain colored animals that are clueless about anything like this. I would love to use this book in my classroom when I am telling my students that it is okay to use humor in their writing and that they should be as creative as possible. I really enjoyed how this child¿s book is like no other book I have read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
What a find! So delightful! I picked this book up the first time at my child's school book fair. My son grabbed my hand and pulled me over to the book laughing. He is six and a new reader and can't put it down. He loves the funny cute little prarie dogs in the book who discover the green fuz off a lost tennis ball. My nine year old son says 'it's a keeper' too. I recommend this lovely book to any child ages 3-9 years old.
Guest More than 1 year ago
My sons 10 yrs. & 8 yrs. LOVED this book.. The pictures were so real... They thought they were in the hole w/ the tennis ball. They giggled and laughed !!! We have recommended this book to some many friends... Gotta get it !!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Loved this book it kept me, a 38 year old mom engaged! Have a good book on hand and you have children that will listen. What a great story and ending! Can't wait to be mystery reader for my son's 1st grade class.