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*Tony and the Pizza Champions* by Tony Gemignani, illustrated by Matthew Trueman
Also illustrated by Matthew Trueman:

One Beetle Too Many: The Extraordinary Adventures of Charles Darwin

A Picture for Marc (A Stepping Stones Chapter Book: History)

Noah's Mittens
Tony and the Pizza Champions
by Tony Gemignani, illustrated by Matthew Trueman
Ages 4-8 44 pages Chronicle March 2009 Hardcover    

Tony and the Pizza Champions author Tony Gemignani is a real world-class pizza tosser. He and his team have won the world pizza-tossing championships in Italy eight times. Tony and his brother own Pyzano’s Pizzaria in northern California, and they’ve also written a cookbook called Chronicle’s Pizza Cookbook. If this doesn’t qualify Gemignani to be author of a book on pizza, then I don’t know what would.

The pages are boldly illustrated by Matthew Trueman with bright colors and friendly-looking characters. Enjoy the invitation to read about the dough-flying fun as the characters of Tony and his team travel to Italy to compete in the international Pizza Lovers competition. The almost acrobatic art form of pizza tossing comes in many different forms and styles. Pizza, loved here and abroad, will never be looked at quite the same once you see how they make it.

Children will delight in the fictionalized telling of the team’s championship run. When the invitation arrives to compete, Tony say “Hold the anchovies! This looks important!” and the tall tale of pizza tossing begins. The Pizzamobile the team travels in helps them to prepare for the competition (of course, it is the “extra large” version van). Every team member has a different skill, such as Silly Siler, who balances pizza while riding his unicycle. As one might expect the competition is fierce, but the Americans build a pizza pyramid in which teamwork is stressed to compete at such a high level of pizza tossing.

The bold colors illustrate the over-the-top antics and gyrations by these pizza-loving pals as they compete amid whirls of flour and twirling dough to take the prize. Kids can all relate to pizza, and this should be a good excuse to enjoy pizza puns and marvel as a foldout spread showcases the finale. Even pizza connoisseurs will be pleased by the many eccentric toppings from around the world highlighted here.

Along with the mixed-media illustrations, photos of the Gemignani team at competition, pizza recipes, and very detailed pizza preparations are included. One thing is for sure: if you don’t want a pizza after reading this book, you never will.

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  Karen D. Haney/2009 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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