Kirkus Reviews QR Code


by Adam Rex & illustrated by Adam Rex

Age Range: 4 - 7

Pub Date: June 1st, 2006
ISBN: 0-15-205363-8
Publisher: Harcourt

In this debut, pictures outdo the rhymed story, the idea of which derives from the title’s double-pun. A “fast growing tree” attracts numerous critters: “3 chipmunks / 2 sparrows / a whopping big bee / all live in the tree where the seed used to be.” An impassive “runaway clown” joins the crowd, pursued by the “traveling circus of Barley and Brown.” While this pair ponders, two apes steal the key to the rolling cages, freeing all 13 circus animals. The frightened men flee with their empty caravan, and their animals soon perch on branches, followed by elephant—ergo, the destruction of the tree. Illustrations compete for design supremacy. Full-bleed oil-and-mixed-media compositions depict the tree (gnarled and nearly bare, with a smattering of both orange maple and yellow birch-like leaves) against a green, yellow or mauve sky and purplish, stylized hills. Text is sometimes painted to evoke circus signs. Escaping circus animals are rendered as pencil sketches on an eight-paneled page, while another double spread is a hodge-podge of bright posters. An interesting but overwrought effort. (Picture book. 4-7)