TO THE BIG TOP by Jill Esbaum

TO THE BIG TOP

by , illustrated by
Age Range: 5 - 8

KIRKUS REVIEW

Early 20th century, early morning, a train-whistle blows: The circus is coming to town. Two boys light out for the railyard, intent on being part of the action. They pick up odd jobs here and there, get a nickel here, and there they get—gadzooks—a ticket to the Big Top. When it comes time to parlay their nickels into something good—popcorn maybe, or a candied apple—Esbaum turns the story into a morality play, with one boy the straw dog of crass immaturity and the other a knight in righteous armor, and the clumsiness of the point-making steals the story’s thunder. Fortunately, boys are a forgiving lot and the day is saved by what boys are also good at: trickery and getting on with it. It is Gordon who lights up the event, bringing prime elements of the story forward, dressed in electric color, and painting the background in a haze; the illustrations’ almost-can-taste-it, dreamlike quality takes readers to Back Then, when midway and sideshow were the real deal. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 10th, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-374-39934-4
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 2008




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