The Great Zapfino by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Marla Frazee

Published by Beach Lane Books

Summary:  The action opens at the circus, where The Great Zapfino is climbing a high, high ladder to a platform from which he will jump onto a tiny trampoline below.  One minute he’s there, and the next he’s gone.  He hightails it away from the circus to an airport, arriving at a high-rise building where he becomes an elevator operator.  Each day he meets all kinds of people on the elevator, and each night he goes back to his room and makes toast for supper until one day the toaster catches on fire.  As the room fills with black smoke, Zapfino runs to the window.  With no choice, he leaps to a trampoline rescuers are holding below, finally nailing the jump he ran away from in the circus.  32 pages; ages 4-8.

Pros:  Mac Barnett and Caldecott honoree Marla Frazee have created a winner with this black-and-white nearly wordless book that feels a little bit like an old silent movie.  The illustrations of the elevator throughout the day are particularly well-done, and kids will want to slow down to get a good look at all the people.  I wouldn’t say no to some Caldecott consideration.

Cons:  That’s a lot of smoke for one little piece of burned toast.

One thought on “The Great Zapfino by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Marla Frazee

  1. I fell in love with Marla Frazee via her amazing illustrations in “Hush Little Baby,” so am especially excited to see her collaboration with Mac Barnett. Thank you for the heads up!


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