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My Lucky Day
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About the Author

Keiko Kasza was born on a small Japanese island in the Inland Sea of Japan. She grew up in a typical Japanese extended family with her parents, two brothers, and grandparents. Uncles, aunts, and cousins also lived nearby. "All the steps I took growing up were very normal," Ms. Kasza says. "The only unusual thing I did was go to college in the United States." She graduated with a degree in graphic design from California State University at Northridge. Ms. Kasza married an American, and the United States has been her home ever since.

After publishing five children's books in Japan and working as a graphic designer for fourteen years, Ms. Kasza decided in 1988 to devote her time to picture books. She says, "Having two small boys and two professions was too much to handle."Ms. Kasza admires many great picture-book creators, such as Leo Lionni and Maurice Sendak, but says that the work of Arnold Lobel has influenced her the most. The subtle humor and warmth he created in his books continues to inspire me," she says. "I often go back to his work when I get discouraged or lose confidence."Ms. Kasza compares the process of making a book to acting on stage under the lights:
"I become the character that I'm working on at that moment. I pretend that I'm a bird looking for a mother, or a pig trying to impress his girlfriend. When I'm acting, I'm a child myself."Ms. Kasza's ambition is not to create a hundred books, but to "create one really good book that will be kept on the family bookshelves for generations, although a hundred really good books would be even better, of course!"Keiko Kasza lives in Indiana with her husband and two sons.copyright (c) 2000 by Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers. All rights reserved.
Keiko Kasza was born on a small Japanese island in the Inland Sea of Japan. She grew up in a typical Japanese extended family with her parents, two brothers, and grandparents. Uncles, aunts, and cousins also lived nearby. "All the steps I took growing up were very normal," Ms. Kasza says. "The only unusual thing I did was go to college in the United States." She graduated with a degree in graphic design from California State University at Northridge. Ms. Kasza married an American, and the United States has been her home ever since.After publishing five children's books in Japan and working as a graphic designer for fourteen years, Ms. Kasza decided in 1988 to devote her time to picture books. She says, "Having two small boys and two professions was too much to handle."Ms. Kasza admires many great picture-book creators, such as Leo Lionni and Maurice Sendak, but says that the work of Arnold Lobel has influenced her the most. The subtle humor and warmth he created in his books continues to inspire me," she says. "I often go back to his work when I get discouraged or lose confidence."Ms. Kasza compares the process of making a book to acting on stage under the lights:
"I become the character that I'm working on at that moment. I pretend that I'm a bird looking for a mother, or a pig trying to impress his girlfriend. When I'm acting, I'm a child myself."Ms. Kasza's ambition is not to create a hundred books, but to "create one really good book that will be kept on the family bookshelves for generations, although a hundred really good books would be even better, of course!"Keiko Kasza lives in Indiana with her husband and two sons.copyright (c) 2000 by Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers. All rights reserved.

Reviews

PreS-Gr 2-Fans of the author's The Wolf's Chicken Stew (Putnam, 1987) will not be disappointed by this amusing offering. A hungry fox is sure that it's his lucky day when a delectable-looking pig knocks on his door by mistake. Mr. Fox grabs his squealing guest and starts to prepare a feast, but the pig asks him to wait, pointing out, "I'm filthy. Shouldn't you wash me first?" The fox prepares a lovely bath and the pig compliments him on being "a terrific scrubber." But then, the pig continues, shouldn't he be fattened up a bit? And shouldn't he be massaged so that he won't be tough? Mr. Fox grudgingly complies with these requests and soon finds himself so exhausted that "He couldn't lift a finger, let alone a roasting pan." The pig heads home, clean, well fed, relaxed, and ready to plan his next call on an unsuspecting predator. Set against white backgrounds, the lively gouache illustrations enhance the humorous and witty text. The fox's facial expressions clearly reflect his range of emotions, as he goes from sheer elation to pure exhaustion. He is as gullible and endearing as the pig is sly and charming. A good choice for storyhours as well as one-on-one readings.-Wendy Woodfill, Hennepin County Library, Minnetonka, MN Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Kasza (The Wolf's Chicken Stew) introduces another ravenous creature in this witty twist on a familiar theme. While sharpening his claws to hunt for his breakfast, a not-so-sly fox answers a knock on his door and finds a tasty-looking piglet. "This must be my lucky day!... How often does dinner come knocking on the door?" he exclaims, grabbing both the pig and a roasting pan. But when the quick-thinking, dirty piglet suggests that he would be a better meal if he were clean, the fox prepares him a soothing bath. When the piglet comments that he would provide more meat if he were fatter, the fox dons a chef's hat and serves up spaghetti and freshly baked cookies. And when, nestled in the roasting pan surrounded by vegetables and being placed in the oven, the piglet reflects that he would make a more tender roast if he had a massage, the fox complies. Exhausted from his exertions, the fox collapses on the floor, leaving the piglet to skip home-with the rest of the cookies-proclaiming, "This must be my lucky day." In a final funny flourish, the last page shows the pig relaxing in front of a fire, reading a directory of other predators (with the fox's name crossed out), wondering whom he will visit next. Kasza's gouache art is as buoyant and comical as her narrative, and she skillfully uses multiple vignettes to convey the fox's arduous preparations. The animals' facial expressions alone could carry this tale. Ages 4-8. (Sept.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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