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CARNIVAL OF THE ANIMALS by John Lithgow

CARNIVAL OF THE ANIMALS

By John Lithgow (Author) , Boris Kulikov (Illustrator)

Age Range: 7 - 9

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2004
ISBN: 0-689-86721-2
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Commissioned to flesh out a storyline and create a spoken text for a New York City Ballet production set to the Saint-Saëns piece, Lithgow offers a tale of a wayward schoolboy who escapes his teacher during a museum visit, falls asleep surrounded by stuffed exhibits in a closed gallery, and dreams of his classmates, neighbors, music teacher, librarian, mother, and great-aunt as animals. The author once again shows his knack for brisk doggerel—“Oliver Pendleton Percy the Third / Was a mischievous imp of a lad. / The tricks that he played on Professor McByrd / Nearly drove the old schoolmaster mad.” Kulikov catches the rollicking comic tone with floridly dressed, theatrically posed figures bearing animal-like heads on humanoid bodies, or vice versa, performing for an amused-looking lad in a rumpled school blazer. An attendant CD features actor Lithgow’s animated reading, interspersed with musical passages from the production. Though not quite another “Peter and the Wolf,” this will give a much-performed orchestral piece a leg up with younger listeners—and it works at least as well on paper as it does on stage. (Picture book with CD. 7-9)