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The Secret Circus

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Overview

THE GREATEST little show ON EARTH

The secrets of Paris revealed from the ground up.

Beneath the sparkling lights of Paris is a circus so secret that only the mice know how to find it. Floating by balloon across a Parisian cityscape they travel to the grand performance, where tiny acrobats form mouse pyramids and giant housecats are tamed. Wright's simple expressive lines over glowing textures make this a ...

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Overview

THE GREATEST little show ON EARTH

The secrets of Paris revealed from the ground up.

Beneath the sparkling lights of Paris is a circus so secret that only the mice know how to find it. Floating by balloon across a Parisian cityscape they travel to the grand performance, where tiny acrobats form mouse pyramids and giant housecats are tamed. Wright's simple expressive lines over glowing textures make this a captivating and adorable book debut, not to mention one great show.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“The text has a gently incantatory rhythm, while the book’s twilight colors perfectly evoke the magic hour when shadows deepen even as the lights become more luminous.”—The New York Times Book Review

“This would serve effectively as a bedtime story or a classroom readaloud for a quiet moment, and the repeated phrases and simple text also make it accessible for beginning solo readers.” Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

“The closing scene, in which a mouse slyly looks at the reader and shushes a finger, engenders a sense of inclusion in the mice’s little world, which children will recognize in their own family’s happy secrets.” —Booklist

“Just right for bedtime.” —Publishers Weekly

“A quiet, comforting debut, best shared snuggled close together.” —Kirkus Reviews

“The theme of a hidden world, universally popular with children, finds satisfying expression here. A delightful addition to any collection.” —School Library Journal

James Hynes
The text has a gently incantatory rhythm, while the book's twilight colors perfectly evoke the magic hour when shadows deepen even as the lights become more luminous…Wright's book is all about expectation and mystery, that effervescent moment when the spotlight first hits the ringmaster, and all the faces in the dark around the ring light up with anticipation.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly

A charismatic group of French mice enjoy a night out in Wright's dreamy, muted debut. "Somewhere, deep in the city of Paris, there is a circus that is so small, and so secret... only the mice know how to find it." The pointy noses and dumpling bodies of the mice are inked in spidery lines against a dusty nighttime backdrop on rough canvas. Each line of text teases readers with a secret ("Only the mice know what to wear"), and each spread reveals it: in this case, mice help each other into patchwork yet fancy dresses, shirts and hats. Beside the text, "Only the mice know how to get there...," a group of mice float through the air in a hot-air balloon, the lights of the city below and the Eiffel Tower sparkling in the distance. More spreads reveal a miniature circus under a carousel, with jugglers, a clown and a cat-taming act. There's magic in the air, as bright lights and stars twinkle, but Wright keeps the events and the repeating form low-key and lullabylike-just right for bedtime. Ages 2-6. (Apr.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
In this most unusual story, only the mice know how to find the secret circus hidden deep in the city of Paris, when to go there, and what to wear. When they arrive, only they know what to do there, what to eat, and how to watch what they see. They are the only ones who know whom to invite, and when it is over. And of course, they know how to keep it secret. The minimal text with repetitions of "only the mice…" leaves the pages free for the illustrations depicting the tale of the odd-shaped mice and their exciting trip to the circus. On the jacket a hot air balloon floating over Paris by night with a quartet of passengers tempts us to join them. They are oddly shaped, plump, sharp-nosed creatures with skinny arms and legs and dots for eyes, wearing different colored T-shirts and odd hats. They appear in muted colors on textured backgrounds. At the circus they behave like humans. The lion tamer, however, has a white cat in his act instead of a lion. Peanuts and popcorn are popular. There is an intriguing, odd sense of quiet throughout. The final illustration of a solo mouse with a sly smile and finger to his lips to keep the secret adds to the humor of the odd tale. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal

PreS-K

Through simple, rhythmic prose, Wright provides a glimpse at the secret held by the mice of Paris-a clandestine circus known only to them. "Only the mice know when to go there./Only the mice know what to wear./Only the mice know how to get there." Rustic canvas paintings done in a subdued palette cast a mood of quiet mystery over the nocturnal activities of the mice. The artwork provides the clever details that the text never reveals. (How is the circus hidden? Beneath a merry-go-round. What does one eat there? Peanuts, popcorn, and candy.) The theme of a hidden world, universally popular with children, finds satisfying expression here. A delightful addition to any collection.-Jayne Damron, Farmington Community Library, MI

Kirkus Reviews
Somewhere, beneath the twinkling lights of Paris, there is a circus. It is a secret circus. Only the mice know where it is. Only the mice know when to go. When it is time, families don their best patchwork frocks and wide-brimmed hats. They climb into walnut-shell hot-air balloons or scurry in long lines, head to tail, as the Eiffel Tower stretches to point the way. Only the mice know how it's hidden. Only the mice know what they'll see there. Amid whiskered cannonball daredevils, tottering pyramids of tiny clowns and the bravest of all-the housecat tamer-Wright tells a sweet, lulling story. Her roly-poly mice are shaped like candy-drop kisses and the hush of the gentle, repetitive text whispers through the pages. The placement of opaque, black-outlined characters against gossamer-tinted painted-canvas backgrounds only heightens the surreal intimacy of the experience. It is, after all, a secret. A quiet, comforting debut, best shared snuggled close together. (Picture book. 2-6)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781596434035
  • Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
  • Publication date: 3/31/2009
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 681,211
  • Age range: 2 - 6 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.16 (w) x 10.26 (h) x 0.39 (d)

Meet the Author

Johanna Wright was born and raised in Eugene, Oregon, in the shadow of some very big and beautiful trees. She received degrees in puppetry and children's literature and shortly after graduation moved to Brooklyn, NY. She spent many years in New York, selling her paintings on the streets of Manhattan where she honed her illustration skills. Johanna has now returned to Oregon, where she lives with her husband, a musician, and spends much of her time writing, painting, and searching for Sasquatch.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 3, 2009

    So Sweet!

    The Secret Circus is a charming book. The illustrations are lovely and the story of little mice heading out to a Parisean circus is too cute. I'm expecting my first baby soon, and can't wait to read this one over and over again!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 4, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews

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