Granfield (Cowboy, 1994, etc.) takes on the circus with this jam-packed informational book, first published in Canada, and its abundant full-color illustrations and reproductions. The author begins with historical versions of circus-like productions, dating from 2400 B.C. in Egypt, through the ""father of the modern circus,"" Philip Astley, in the 1770s, to the present, with glimpses of the evolution of the circus worldwide. Among the topics: animals, advertising, the circus way of life, development of acts, physical structures, clowns (and the trademarking of down faces), decorative circus wagons, language, lore, sideshows, and the most famous attractions and owners. While enthusiastically extolling the delights of the circus, Granfield is also aware of the controversies--the treatment of sideshow acts, the lies circulated by competing circuses, and more. She includes scores of sidebars with information on circus-related information; every page offers up a tidbit. If the album weren't already enjoyable to browse, the illustrations are irresistible: posters, signs, postcards, photos, and advertisements, many from the author's own collection. An exceptional resource, with appeal beyond a young audience; almost everyone will find something new here.