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Song of the Circus
     

Song of the Circus

by Lois Duncan, Meg Michele Cundiff (Illustrator)
 
Now, don't get scared, but-you see that cage?
And that snarling tiger, so filled with rage?
That Jungle Cat is so mean and wild
That he dreams of eating a Circus Child!

Little does that jungle cat know you don't play rough with the kind of kids who are raised in the world of the circus! They're brave, they're spirited, and they're not about to become

Overview

Now, don't get scared, but-you see that cage?
And that snarling tiger, so filled with rage?
That Jungle Cat is so mean and wild
That he dreams of eating a Circus Child!

Little does that jungle cat know you don't play rough with the kind of kids who are raised in the world of the circus! They're brave, they're spirited, and they're not about to become tiger food. Ladies and gentleman, children of all ages, presenting the silliest romp ever seen under the big top! Featuring the vibrant work of a talented new artist, Lois Duncan's comedy of errors will leave a trail of smiles from start to finish.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Thriller-writer Duncan, whose picture book I Walk at Night described a cat's nocturnal prowlings, raises a few hairs (not too many) in this high-spirited circus romp. Cartwheeling along to a familiar rhythm, hyperbolic verses introduce a trapeze artist and strongman, a little clown named Bop and his petite friend Gisselda, "who learned to crawl On canvas tarps, and to toss a ball To a Fat Baboon, and who took her naps On tattooed shoulders and spangled laps. For she is a Child of the Circus." Suddenly, the narrative veers in a dangerous direction: "Now don't get scared, butyou see that cage?" A turn of the page reveals a grouchy tiger "so mean and wild That he dreams of eating a Circus Child!" When a flat tire sends the bicycle clowns flying into midair, they set off a wild chain of events that ends with an elephant shattering the tiger's cage. The big cat races straight for Gisselda, "exactly the child that he longed to eat!" Bop interferes, and he and Gisselda bravely avert the threat, earning wild cheers; the audience "didn't know That the act wasn't part of the normal show." In a style that recalls Marjorie Priceman's work, Cundiff (Stoneheart) paints in a wild carnival palette. Her extravagant costumes and distorted sizes and shapes intensify the larger-than-life proportions of this big-top tale. Ages 3-7. (Apr.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-This is a high-energy story with a generous array of odd characters, a fierce tiger, and two kids raised within arena life. When the clowns' bicycle tire goes flat, a series of events ensues, resulting in the tiger's escape. Unhappy with circus food, all he wants is a tasty meal of child. Instead the kids, feisty and defiant, stare him down, causing him to slink off without satisfying his appetite. The crowd cheers, thinking that what they have witnessed is all just part of the show. The rhyming tale moves at a lilting pace. After several characters are introduced (some of them curiously superfluous), the action builds quickly to a heart-stopping crescendo, much like a live circus. The type changes in size and is not always square to the page, which adds to the animated nature of the tale. Cundiff's gouache illustrations are clever and fun. They have lots of bright color, and the backgrounds change in a rainbow flow. Characters are often only partially seen or they're upside down or flying about. They represent a child's roaming-eye vision of the Big Top, both wild and wacky. The children themselves are diminutive; they look like stuffed dolls. The tiger is loosely drawn, an elongated cat with a large head and fangs. However, with both the text and illustrations striving for the same over-the-top experience, the sum of the parts is a lyric if not quite a song.-Martha Topol, Traverse Area District Library, Traverse City, MI Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The circus's smallest members snatch triumph from the jaws of disaster in this high-flying tale of heroism under the big top. A sudden flat tire in mid-performance sets off a chain reaction of spills and collisions that knocks the tiger's cage open. Freed, the tiger leaps toward little Gisselda and Bop, a tiny clown-but instead of fleeing, they stand up to the beast, send it slinking away, then bow to the crowd as if it had all been part of the show. Cundiff sends stylized figures with wildly exaggerated proportions arcing and spinning through dazzling monochromatic backgrounds, matching Duncan's (On the Edge, 2000, etc.) equally bouncy verse: "The rest of the Horses reared in their tracks / And Bareback Riders flew off their backs, / With one of them doing a loop-the-loop / To land in a pile of Elephant poop. / (There's a lot of that at the Circus.)." Readers will demand ringside seats to see just why "you don't play rough with the kind of kid / Who is raised in the world of the Circus." (Picture book. 6-8)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780399233975
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
04/01/2002
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
8.36(w) x 10.38(h) x 0.42(d)
Lexile:
AD870L (what's this?)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

The author of bestsellers like Stranger with My Face, The Third Eye, and Daughters of Eve, Lois Duncan (1936-2016) was an undisputed master of young adult suspense books. Several of her books have been adapted into movies, most notably I Know What You Did Last Summer, which was followed by two sequels. Duncan also wrote Who Killed My Daughter?, a non-fiction book about the murder of her daughter.

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