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Dutch Sneakers and Flea Keepers: 14 More Stories Hardcover – March 28, 2000

15 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The creator of Polkabats and Octopus Slacks puts his playful pen to paper again in Dutch Sneakers and Fleakeepers. Calef Brown's story-poems are nonsensical and exuberant, and his muted, sophisticated Cubist paintings join the party with equal zeal. Did you know that fleas "learn to speak German / more quickly than bees"? Or that "bad teeth" aren't really bad, they just need "a cleaning and something to chew"? No, resist the impulse to look for lessons: Brown--a hip, modern Edward Lear--is here to have fun. Children will adore meeting the feared "Tattlesnake" (with unusual stripes and big ears), an electric-guitar-playing grandmother, a runaway waffle, a mysterious fish ("Green like asparagus. / Flat like a dish"), Sir Dance-a-lot, and the rest of Brown's crazy--yes, crazy--cast of characters. (All ages) --Karin Snelson

From Publishers Weekly

Brown follows his bestselling Polka Bats and Octopus Slacks with another traveling circus of poems. The table of contents resembles a set of sideshow marquees, letting readers know they are in for offbeat attractions. A prime example is "Mysterious Fish": "Mysterious fish tank./ Mysterious fish./ Green like asparagus./ Flat like a dish./ Toss in a peppercorn,/ then make a wish./ Mysterious fish tank./ Mysterious fish." This weird and wonderfully catchy chant accompanies an eerie image of a bored, flounder-like creature in a luminous, slightly slimy tank. The boardwalk motif continues in one of the title poems, in which an unseen huckster promises "Fleakeepers" that they can "Make lots of cash!/ Raise fleas in your basement,/ just feed 'em your trash." Brown's cabinet of oddities also includes the big-eared "Tattlesnake" ("It spies on you,/ tells on you,/ then disappears") and a "Runaway Waffle" whose spindly limbs give it a likeness to the retro-icon Mr. Peanut. The author's illustrations suggest a zany mix of post-modern wit and folk art na?vet?, and his minor-key palette complements the surreal verse. If Jack Prelutsky collaborated with Howard Finster, the result might look something like this. All ages. (Apr.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 7 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 430L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; Library Binding edition (March 28, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 061805183X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618051830
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 0.1 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #728,595 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Calef Brown began his career as a tour guide at an early age, when he discovered the simple joy of pointing things out. He is also an artist, writer, and frequently a blue elephant. Mr. Brown's illustrations have appeared in many magazines and newspapers, and his paintings have been exhibited in N.Y., L.A., S.F., and other places without fancy initials, like Osaka and Rome. He lives in Maine.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 21, 2000
Format: Hardcover
In an age of Disney-overload, the inventive, clever verses are a joy to read.A book for anyone who is tired of reading the same thing over and over, it stands out as a delightful and vibrant book.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Deborah J. Taub on December 7, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Amazon.com delivered this book to my son as a gift from a very wise and whimsical friend. He loved it instantly and it became THE requested bedtime book night after night after night. And, that was OK, because we (the grown-ups) love it too! The poems are wacky and sometimes demented and make sense in that dream-sense or nonsense way. You'll laugh and laugh as our family does -- and you'll each have a favorite (mine is "Mysterious Fish"). Promote a love of language and of silliness -- buy this book for a child you love.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Roz Levine on May 7, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Calef Brown has written a collection of poems that are real winners. They are easy to read with modern wacky language and rhymes that kids will just love. The accompanying illustrations are rich in color and detail and compliment each poem. Everyone in the family will enjoy this book.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 28, 2000
Format: Hardcover
A wonderful follow-up to one of the most clever and fun children's books of last year. Mr. Brown's illustrations -- vivid, color-saturated, witty, and just sinister enough to keep adults and kids interested -- are heightened by DUTCH SNEAKERS' delightfully loopy verse.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mars Violet on September 1, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Calef Brown uses funky-folksy illustrations and cheeky verse to describe fourteen imaginative vignettes. The younger set will enjoy spreads featuring topical buzzwords and images near and dear to them in Seven Bad Teeth, Runaway Waffle, Mysterious Fish and Olf (the impoverished pirate). Older children appreciate the unexpected scenarios of grandma jamming for adoring fans, beetles powdering donuts on a sugar beach or commuters floating away with bubble gum balloons. Kids pick up on your own amusement in reading the clever tale of a Moon Reunion and the limerick spoof Jack in the Bucket. Children ages two to seven will smile and puzzle over this wonderfully odd book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Herkimer on July 12, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This book by Calef Brown has kept my three year old (now almost four) grandson entertained. Within a month he was able to recite every poem in this book (Dutch Sneakers and Flea Keepers and also Flamingos on the Roof). For a creative child who is on the verge of learning to read, these two books are great!!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Carl A. Lantz III on January 14, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Our 2 year old already knows all the stories in this and all of Calef Browns books
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By Mosaic Momma on June 13, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Calef does it again with yet another fun book for children and parents alike, to truly enjoy the read together. Silly and strange and colorful and full of joy and wonder. Great book!
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