Gr 1-3-"Adoring Alligators," "Charming Camels," and "Elated Elephants" are joined by more unusual animals ("Impish Ibexes," "eXuberant Xenopus," and even a pair of "Unlikely Unicorns" are a few) in this colorful circus-themed, animal-sounds book. Lobel's affection for the dramatic is reflected in the format: each letter is presented on a brightly curtained page (or stage) of its own. An assortment of acrobatic tightrope walkers-clowns, mostly, but with pilgrims and peasants appearing on occasion-contort themselves to form uppercase examples, and the stars of the show-the animals themselves-wear festive party hats and neckpieces. The artist's trademark watercolor-and-gouache illustrations are rich and painterly, with a Peaceable Kingdom-like frontispiece portrait of the animals, sans costumes. A concluding page of "Animal Answers" offers anecdotal details about each creature. Because the adjectives chosen are a bit oblique (what makes an ostrich obedient, say, or a quetzal quaint?), and because the initial letter-sounds are not always in sync, this fanciful work may not function as a traditional alphabet book, but Lobel's fans and collectors won't care.-Kathy Krasniewicz, Perrot Library, Old Greenwich, CT Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.