cover image FOOD FIGHT!


Carol Diggory Shields, C. Shields, D. Gay-Kassel, , illus. by Doreen Gay-Kassel. . Handprint, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-1-929766-29-1

Young readers will find Shields's (The Bugliest Bug, reviewed March 11) tongue-in-cheek food jokes irresistible in this outlandish story about the nighttime activities of the denizens of a refrigerator. When the salad greens say, "Lettuce have a party!" the ensuing chaos leads to a colossal kitchen food fight. "The almonds acted nutty,/ the pretzels did a twist,/ the Swiss cheese yodeled/ when the chocolates kissed." When the macaroni "elbow[s] in" and the rice "get[s] steamed," the ice cubes yell, "Chill out, you guys!" until the policemen-like spuds emerge from the potato drawer to enforce order. Only the tawny house cat witnesses the whole show, and laps up the last of the spilled milk. Gay-Kassel's (Princess Bella and the Red Velvet Hat) molded clay characters, appearing against bright two-tone backgrounds that simulate spills, wear dramatic expressions and strike comical poses that make the most of their attributes (e.g., an angry soup container's handles contribute to a hands-on-hips stance). The design and typeface grows cluttered as the chaos escalates; the text loops around, spotlighted or shadowed in various colors, and the dialogue appears in red and yellow speech bubbles. Readers' appetite for Shields's delicious puns will keep them glued to the food frenzy, and laughing at the image of the battalion of spuds keeping the groceries in line. Ages 3-7. (June)