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Little Nino's Pizzeria

Little Nino's Pizzeria

by Karen Barbour

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This exuberant picture book tells the story of Tony, a little boy who helps his father in the family pizzeria.


This exuberant picture book tells the story of Tony, a little boy who helps his father in the family pizzeria.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Barbour gives us an old-fashioned morality tale for children, rendered in 1980s style. Nino runs a crowded but cheerful pizzeria, ``Little Nino's.'' Tony, his son, gets to help serve the friendly patrons. One day, a portly man in a green suit patterned with dollar signs appears. He and Nino open a chic, expensive ``Big Ninostet,'' and Tony is miserable; when he tries to help, he gets underfoot. Worse, there's a new chef, named Francois, and only snooty couples eat there. Disillusioned, Nino decides to return to his humble but satisfying origins and reopens his old joint, now named ``Little Tony's.'' Tony gets a lesson in the corrupting power of money but narrowly escapes its real world repercussions. Barbour's illustrations are as handsome as the clientele at the upscale restaurant: using a bordered rectangular format, her figures are flattened like Matisse's; crowded together, they make a collage-like field of bright color and lively pattern. But their level of appeal is perhaps more suited to adult book buyers than young readers. And, unfortunately, in Barbour's telling, the characters remain as flat as the stylized pictures. Ages 4-8. (September)
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2 Although Barbour's pleasant story is only meager fare, her paintings are a visual feast. Young Tony proudly tells of how he helps his father, Nino, in his pizzeria until success causes Nino to open a large, fancy restaurant, where Tony is in the way and Nino is too busy for him. All ends well when Nino misses the smaller operation and reopens his pizzeria. The gouache and watercolor illustrations in wild tropical colors have a kitschy, 1930s look to them and show hommage to many artists of that period. Faces bring Leger to mind; swirling lines and rounded shapes are reminiscent of Matisse; glowing stars and moon recall Chagall. There are also fauvist and cubist influences throughout. Lettering and bold patterns mix with flat blocks of intense color in crowded scenes that express the big city atmosphere through their vitality. The electricity of the paintings will draw children back for a second look, even if the story does not have a comparable impact. David Gale, ``School Library Journal''

Product Details

Turtleback Books
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
9.74(w) x 9.22(h) x 0.49(d)
Age Range:
4 - 7 Years

Meet the Author

KAREN BARBOUR lives in Iverness, California. She is also the illustrator of  I Have an Olive Tree by Eve Bunting,  Let's Talk About Race by Julius Lester, and Poetry for Young People: African American Poems, edited by Arnold Rampersad and Marcellus Blount.

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