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Circus Train
     

Circus Train

by Joseph A. Smith
 
The first book both written and illustrated by celebrated artist Jos. A. Smith

The circus is coming! Everyone is excited—except Timothy, whose family has just moved to the outskirts of the quiet town. He thinks he'll never make any friends. But then he discovers the circus train, stuck on the abandoned tracks in front of his new home. The show won't be

Overview

The first book both written and illustrated by celebrated artist Jos. A. Smith

The circus is coming! Everyone is excited—except Timothy, whose family has just moved to the outskirts of the quiet town. He thinks he'll never make any friends. But then he discovers the circus train, stuck on the abandoned tracks in front of his new home. The show won't be going on tonight ... or will it? Can Timothy solve the problem—and start some new friendships under the big top?

Whimsical artwork and a lyrical story combine to make a truly heartwarming picture book, the first both written and illustrated by distinguished artist Jos. A. Smith. Every young reader will want to join the Circus Train!

Author Biography: Jos. A. Smith is a popular children's book illustrator whose work has received much acclaim, including starred reviews in Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal, and Booklist, as well as being named an IRA/CBC Children's Choice and a Bank Street College Best Book of the Year. A professor of fine art at Pratt Institute in New York City, he lives in Pennsylvania.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A boy's transition to a new neighborhood is eased by a somewhat arbitrary injection of fantasy in this uneven picture book. Timothy's lonesome, early-morning reverie is interrupted by "clanks and rumbles, a long hissss followed by a moment's silence." Still wearing his pajamas, he investigates, only to discover an old-fashioned circus train sitting on an abandoned track. The train has taken a wrong turn, the bridge ahead is out, and the engine can't back up. Timothy comes up with a solution: he puts the elephants to work inflating the cars like balloons, ties the whole shebang to Captain Von Boom and shoots him from his cannon, thus flying the train to its destination. "Timothy, you have saved the circus," announces Carrot Top, the clown/engineer, as Timothy rides an elephant into the ring at that evening's performance. An abrupt ending makes sense only with the assistance of the final endpapers (in which Carrot Top recruits a gaggle of children to play baseball at Timothy's house), and the fussy typeface may well distract readers. Smith's (illus. of Clay Boy) workmanlike prose boasts occasional lyrical passages ("the house creaking as the sun warmed its night-chilled boards"), but the story line feels more like an opportunity for circus illustrations than compelling in its own right. The art more skillfully integrates fantasy and reality, especially with its expansive use of intriguing perspectives and its gatefold view of the airborne circus train. Ages 4-8. (Apr.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
Timothy is feeling depressed and lonely when his family moves far out into the country. What a wonderful surprise to discover a fabulous circus train stuck on a track near his house, unable to move over a broken bridge. But clever Timothy has the elephants inflate the cars like balloons. Then Captain Von Boom is shot from a cannon, towing those train cars across the valley to the fairgrounds. Having saved the show, Timothy is a local hero. His next fantastic adventure is only anticipated on the last page. The visual story begins on the front endpapers, with Timothy's house set in a vast, bleak landscape, while the final pages have him playing baseball with the circus folks. Smith's double-page watercolors encourage us to feel our hero's sense of magic as he investigates the cars of the train and involves himself with the clowns. There is a light-hearted naturalism to the illustrations that take us comfortably flying with the train in an extended foldout. The train itself is a visual delight. 2001, Harry N. Abrams, $17.95. Ages 4 to 8. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
K-Gr 2-Endpapers depicting an enormous vista of sky and plain with only a tiny farmhouse dotting the horizon introduce this story of a boy and his family who have just moved to a rural area. When Timothy's parents go into town to do some shopping, the child is left alone to wonder how he'll ever make any friends in this isolated place. Hearing a strange noise, he goes to investigate and finds a circus train marooned in a field on an unused track with a bridge out up ahead. As he walks from old-fashioned car to car, his amazement and delight grow. Finally, it's his quick thinking that saves the day and gets the train to town in time for the show. The rescue of the circus train is pure fantasy-the perfect daydream for a lonely and apprehensive child, for his astonishing deed is sure to make him a hero in his new town. Smith's watercolors are the stars of this imaginative book. Historic trains, full of whimsy and color, contrast with the empty plain and the animals and performers are drawn so persuasively that readers will want to savor the fun.-Barbara Buckley, Rockville Centre Public Library, NY Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780810941489
Publisher:
Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
Publication date:
04/28/2001
Pages:
38
Product dimensions:
10.12(w) x 10.62(h) x 0.37(d)
Age Range:
1 - 8 Years

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