of the Center for Children's Books
|The Bulletin Dozen is a monthly theme-based list of titles available only on-line. Since we're awfully fond of bakers here at the Bulletin, we thought we'd adopt their philosophy of generosity and throw in an extra one or two when we have them to offer--so don't expect an even dozen. Please feel free to copy, download, or link to these lists. We ask only that you cite the source. See the archive for lists from previous months.
Fun at the Fair
Late summer means dog-day heat and humidity, back-to-school sales, and the old-fashioned pleasures of a day at the fair. As we assembled this list of fair favorites, I recalled my own fair-going experiences: the thrill of zipping down the giant slide on a burlap sack, the taste of funnel cakes and lemon shake-ups, and the sounds of the carousel calliope, carnival barkers on the midway, and bleating lambs in the stock barns. Where else can you get your fill of car crashes, horseracing, roller coasters, tractors, games where you win cheap stuffed toys, and endless variations of food-on-a-stick, all at the same place? The following list should offer you a veritable "smorgasboard-orgasboard-orgasboard" (as Templeton the rat might say, albeit only in the movie) of fun. After reading, however, you may find yourself in the mood to hurry on out to the nearest fairgrounds for the real thing.
--Jeannette Hulick; list by Jeannette Hulick and Deborah Stevenson.
Chapters covering the history, science, and design of roller coasters are complemented by a multitude of photographs and diagrams, a glossary, and a bibliography (which includes websites). A list of "Top Ten Tips for a Scarier Ride" is included as well, but Cook also manages to reassure readers about the safety of modern coasters. (BCCB 6/98)
Cooper's creative use of hand-lettered text and his simple yet distinctive watercolor figures effectively depict a day in the life of a country fair, from the setting up of tents and pens in the morning to the stock shows and contests and food of midday and evening, to the next morning when it's all been shut down. (BCCB 9/97)
Short, simple text catalogs the glamorous allure of the fair at night, but the real draw is Crews' watercolor carnival rides and booths that blaze with brilliant light against a solid black sky. (BCCB 6/98)
Twelve-year-old Hart shares his passion for roller-coasters with his father, but he's not sure he wants to share anything with the embarrassing TV weatherman who's now dating his mother. (BCCB 10/94)
The process of raising and showing livestock is chronicled here with the personal experiences of three Texas youngsters who prepare their animals (goats, dairy cows, and rabbits) for shows. Appealing photos of kids (both kinds), cows, and baby bunnies accompany the informative text. (BCCB 10/97)
Paulsen's third-person yet autobiographical account of one memorable summer focuses on his teen protagonists' time as a carny, living amid the chaotic, earthy world of the carnival. (BCCB 10/00)
Thirteen-year-old Rosie and assorted family members travel from their Illinois farm to the Windy City, where they join Rosie's rich-but-lonely Aunt Euterpe and experience the wonders of the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition, including the Midway (Granddad is especially taken with the dancing "Little Egypt"), the first Ferris Wheel, and a side trip to Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show where the family meets the famous Lillian Russell. (BCCB review forthcoming)
After family upheavals, Rick and his brother find themselves living with their great-uncle next to an abandoned amusement park that the boys manage to get up and running; the boys' knowledge of the park may be all that saves them when they become the objects of criminals' pursuit. (BCCB 2/91)
For some fairgoers, the delights of livestock shows, rides, and fried food are surpassed by the thrills of the demolition derby. This title, illustrated with vibrant gouache paintings of all the action and hubbub, captures the excitement of a young boy and his family as they root for his father's car to win. (BCCB 3/95)
This entry from the ever-reliable Slepian tells of shy thirteen-year-old George's involvement with a carnival family and his uncle's startling decision to join the carnival world. (BCCB 11/83)
"Over at the Fair,/ potatoes in the air!/ See them flip, flip, flip on the wild and wooly Zip!" Prize potatoes escape from the Bud and Bean Arena to have some county fair fun but are captured and threatened by a spud-less chef, against whom the potatoes manage to lead a victorious vegetable revolt. Lively gouache and watercolor paintings present the potatoes in all their glory. (BCCB 6/00)
This is "some book." Vivid, memorable characters, a strong sense of place, and White's deft handling of the touching relationship between a pig who doesn't want to end up a hamsteak and the talented spider who saves him make this one a prize-winning pick. (BCCB 12/52)
This story of the friendship of two outsiders tells of timid Glory, who is drawn to the exotic world of the fairgrounds, and her friend Marvalene, who'd trade her life as a carny for Glory's rooted existence. (BCCB 11/99)
This page was last updated on August 1, 2001.