NIGHT CIRCUS by Etienne Delessert


Age Range: 5 - 8
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A modern master of surrealism presents an astonishing traveling circus.

A man is walking his dog along the highway at night. Coming toward them is a car pulling 10 flatbeds, each with a performance piece taking place upon it. The car is driven by the man’s cat, Pluto. The man is astonished and intrigued as he watches all the cars pass by and they then all move from the dark into the golden light of a desert mirage. It is all surreal, and Delessert is a master of visual absurdity. The human-sized cat who is driving the car looks more like a rat in cat’s clothing. The three clowns, named for Franz Kafka, Samuel Beckett and Eugene Ionesco, sport their namesakes’ signatures: Franz is turning into a cockroach, and Eugene wears a rhinoceros’ horn. On another car, angels play chess with pieces that look familiar but not quite identifiable. The three little pigs (actually quite large) are about to cut into a wolf pie—the crust of which looks more sheeplike than anything else. A snow globe is filled with butterflies. The whole is neither dreamlike nor nightmarish but resides somewhere in that state where new words and old words and images come together and collide.

Children who have not yet gained a sense of irony will particularly enjoy the seemingly random but carefully delineated juxtaposition of image and idea. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: March 17th, 2015
ISBN: 978-1-56846-277-6
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Creative Editions/Creative Company
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15th, 2015


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