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The Circus Shipby Chris Van Dusen
Synopses & Reviews
With stunning artwork and a rhyming text, the illustrator of the Mercy Watson books tells a tale of human-animal connection full of humor and heart.
When a circus ship runs aground off the coast of Maine, the poor animals are left on their own to swim the chilly waters. Staggering onto a nearby island, they soon win over the wary townspeople with their kind, courageous ways. So well do the critters blend in that when the greedy circus owner returns to claim them, villagers of all species conspire to outsmart the bloated blowhard. With buoyant rhymes and brilliantly caricatured illustrations evoking the early nineteenth century, Chris Van Dusen presents a hugely entertaining tale about the bonds of community — and a rare hidden-pictures spread for eagle-eyed readers of all ages.
"Mr. Paine, the greedy, mustachioed manager of a 19th-century circus, browbeats his ship's captain into sailing onward on a foggy night: 'Don't stop! Keep going!/ I've got a show to do!/ Just get me down to Boston town/ tomorrow, sir, by two!' The ship crashes and sinks, but the animals swim to a small Maine island, where they confound the villagers until the tiger saves a girl from a fire. After that, the islanders help hide the animals when Mr. Paine returns for them. Van Dusen's (the Mercy Watson books) verse is tightly constructed, and his cartoonlike spreads are polished, literally and figuratively: the exaggerated chins and noses of the humans gleam, and sunsets and firelight illuminate the scenes dramatically. Other than Mr. Paine, readers don't get too close to any of the characters; the focus is on the action. The fantasy of African wildlife on a quiet Maine island will absorb a read-aloud audience, and a clever hide-and-seek page lets readers hunt for the animals, which are concealed from Mr. Paine. A final page supplies the story's (much sadder) historical source. Ages 4 — 8. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
With stunning artwork, the illustrator of Kate DiCamillo's Mercy Watson books tells a tale of human-animal connection, with buoyant rhymes and brilliantly caricatured illustrations evoking the early 19th century. Full color.
A wacky tall tale about how musicians first learned to play together. All the musicians in the kingdom are so awful that the king sends his men-at-arms to round up musicians and feed them to the royal crocodiles. Pipe and drum player Piffaro heads for the border, collecting other refugee musicians on the way. Their jam session on the road is so bad that the horse pulling the wagon figures out a way to make them all play the same music at the same timeand#8212;a system of lines and hoofprints. (In fact, there was a time before musical notation was devised, but thatand#8217;s the only part of this story that is true!) Includes afterword.
For anyone with a beloved pet, this delightful and heartwarming story set at the circus shows that quiet qualities like friendship, kindness, and loyalty are important and worthy.
Jane is an ordinary dog in an extraordinary circus. She isn't strong, graceful, or brave like her family. When she tries to be those things, Jane just doesn't feel like herself, but she also doesn't feel special. Is she really meant for this kind of life? Her Ringmaster thinks so, but not for the reasons Jane believes.
Ordinary can be extraordinary!
About the Author
Chris Van Dusen is the illustrator of the Mercy Watson books by Kate DiCamillo. He wrote and illustrated IF I BUILT A CAR, an E.B. White Read Aloud Award Winner. He lives in Maine.
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