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Dad Runs Away with the Circus

Dad Runs Away with the Circus

2.0 1
by Etgar Keret, Rutu Modan (Illustrator)
Dad demonstrates that it's never too late to shine in the spotlight in this quirky book about following your dreams.

"The circus is in town!" Dad roared.
"And we're all going to see it!"

Audrey and Zach are still half-asleep — and can't help stifling yawns — when Dad bursts in with his announcement. Dad is so excited, he


Dad demonstrates that it's never too late to shine in the spotlight in this quirky book about following your dreams.

"The circus is in town!" Dad roared.
"And we're all going to see it!"

Audrey and Zach are still half-asleep — and can't help stifling yawns — when Dad bursts in with his announcement. Dad is so excited, he starts practicing daring stunts before they even leave for the show. Under the big top, Dad's enthusiasm is downright embarrassing, and Audrey and Zach suspect it has something to do with the generation gap. But even they could never guess just how carried away their dad is going to get! With striking graphic artwork by one of Israel's top illustrators and comic-book artists — splendidly showcased in a double gatefold spread — an acclaimed Israeli author brings his talents to the world of picture books for the first time.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publishers Weekly
This fresh and beguiling domestic fantasy from an Israeli team centers on a father who follows his bliss to the Big Top. Audrey and Zach, Dad's children, serve as the story's joint narrators, and Keret, making his picture-book debut, beautifully captures the solemn cadences of their precocious nature. When the day of the circus trip arrives, Dad is so carried away with excitement that he "behaved very irresponsibly, pulling all sorts of wild and dangerous stunts that could have ended in tears." Modan, a noted Israeli comics artist, shows Dad attempting a balancing act with housewares while roller-skating through the kitchen; here, as throughout the book, her vibrant pictures meld a hip graphic novel-sensibility with the brash naivet of circus posters. When Dad actually leaves his family, Audrey and Zach remain sanguine, confident of Dad's enduring affection: "even when he was away, he didn't forget about us. He sent us mail from all over the world." Besides, Dad compensates with a homecoming to remember, in which he fills the shoes of every circus performer-a feat that Modan celebrates with a bravura double gatefold spread. The circus attitudes struck by all the members of the joyfully reunited family on the final spreads make clear that everyone has benefited from looking at life from a three-ring perspective (Dad uses his flame-throwing talents to cook the hotdogs, Mom twirls plates on a rake and umbrella). Even those decades away from a mid-life crisis will likely declare this one a winner. All ages. (Sept.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
One peaceful morning Dad, excited because the circus has come to town, drags his reluctant family to the big top for a show that is less than spectacular. But Dad is so captivated that he runs away with the circus. Dutifully he sends postcards home from all the exotic places he visits. When the circus at last comes back to town the family sees the show again, but this time Dad is in every role from ring master, to juggler, to knife thrower, and lion tamer. Home again, things appear to be just as they were ... or are they. The final scene shows Dad literally firing up the grill and the family members in assorted acrobatic acts. This is a very unusual story with questionable appeal to children. The translation from the Hebrew is static and the flat illustrations rendered in pencil and then digitally layered and colored are bold but one-dimensional with odd angled views and exaggerated features. The circus reflects the European influence and will seem less familiar to American kids. This theme of dad and his mid-life crisis may elicit chuckles from adults, but it misses the mark it with children. 2004 (orig. 2000), Candlewick Press, Ages 6 to 9.
—Beverley Fahey
Kirkus Reviews
The circus is coming! Dad's swinging from the chandelier in excitement, but young Zach and Audrey just shrug. No biggie-until Dad actually departs with the big top. Modan puts simply drawn cartoon figures in a contemporary, flat-perspective setting, using smudgy colors to reflect the childrens' sadness. Having sent letters from all over the world detailing his experiences, Dad returns at last-and in a climactic gatefold, Zach and Audren are amazed to see their father doing it all, from Ringmaster to clown, from animal tamer to firebreather. Even better, he comes home to stay, and in no time has the whole family leaping and twirling acrobatically. One line of text falls flat, possibly due to poor translation ("According to Mom, getting soaked [by rain] could be hazardous to your health. But Dad said that if you compared it to putting your head in a lion's mouth, it was child's play"), but the tale has an offhand charm that suits the offbeat premise. (Picture book. 7-9)

Product Details

Candlewick Press
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
8.25(w) x 11.30(h) x 0.44(d)
Age Range:
3 Months to 18 Years

Meet the Author

Etgar Keret's books have been translated into fifteen languages. In 1998, his short stories were incorporated into the literature curriculum for Israeli high school students. He lectures at Tel Aviv University Film School. Of DAD RUNS AWAY WITH THE CIRCUS, his first book for children, he says, "It's about how grownups have dreams, too, and about how life can become a circus if you just let it." Etgar Keret lives in Tel Aviv.

Rutu Modan is a two-time winner of Israel's prestigious Ben-Yitzhak Award for children's book illustration, and she shares the author's sentiments about grownups following their dreams. She is one of Israel's leading illustrators and comic-book artists. She lives in Tel Aviv with her family.

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Dad Runs Away with the Circus 2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I though it was a book for children, I ordered it in the store just because it said it was for children and the title was silly but it is very disappointing and more than that I would say offensive, specially for fathers. It is not about adults having dreams, it's more about a dad in his 'generation gap' as they call it, leaving his children to join a terrible circus and they miss him very much, thinking he doesn't care about them 'calling him a few unnecessary adjectives' At the end, the dad goes back home. My husband was very excited about sitting with my 2 yrs old and read this new book I got for him and we could not believe what he was reading. It is probably acceptable in other cultures 'since this book has been translated to 15 languages' or may be, it got lost in translation. I don't know but for sure I returned this book immediately. To add something else, the illustrations are awful too, it has people kissing while they're watching the circus, what is that? for sure not a book for my son.