cover image Tony and the Pizza Champions

Tony and the Pizza Champions

Tony Gemignani, , illus. by Matthew Trueman. . Chronicle, $16.99 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-8118-6162-5

Eight-time world pizza dough–tossing champion Gemignani serves up a fictionalized account of just such a championship run. “Hold the anchovies!... This looks important!” Tony says when an invitation to compete in the World Pizza Championship arrives at his pizzeria. He and a co-worker cross the country in the “Pizzamobile,” collecting the remaining four members of their team. In Italy, they clinch the prize with a nifty feat, showcased in a foldout spread: they form a human pyramid—the top fellow reaches his perch via unicycle—while tossing dough. Vivid colors dominate Trueman's (One Beetle Too Many ) stylized mixed-media illustrations, which give the team (and their feats) a larger-than-life, modern folk hero quality (whirls of dough, flour and limbs mostly succeed at conveying the movement inherent in this activity). The pizza-obsessed will enjoy facts about quirky pizza toppings around the world, photos of Gemignani's championship team and illustrated dough and pizza recipes, with detailed tossing tips. Enthusiastic narration and pizza puns aplenty (“It's a good thing I ordered an extra-large van”) help make this light, delectable fare. Ages 4–8. (Apr.)