THE CIRCUS COMES HOME by Lois Duncan

THE CIRCUS COMES HOME

When the Greatest Show on Earth Rode the Rails
by & photographed by
Age Range: 7 & up
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 Joseph Janney Steinmetz, a well-known photographer who worked for Life and The Saturday Evening Post, lived in Sarasota, Florida, where the circus in its winter quarters was a favorite subject. His daughter, an award-winning YA author, presents a wealth of his photos--from the circus train's arrival after its seven-month tour to its departure (after a priest's blessing) the next spring. Living quarters, sideshow personalities, acrobats practicing and relaxing, animal acts, and clowns are detailed in crisp b&w photos that are beautifully composed, telling, and sometimes extraordinary (in one, an elephant seems to perch in a laundry basket; and a shot of Emmett Kelly for his own Christmas card is a treasure). Duncan's well-organized text ties it all together, progressing from ``the wings of the circus'' (aerialists) to animal acts (``its backbone'') to ``the heart of the circus...the clowns.'' She adds intriguing facts and anecdotes (Stravinsky agreed to write the ``Ballet of the Elephants'' after he was assured that the elephants in question were ``very young''), and concludes with the two disastrous fires during WW II and the end of the old big top as times changed. A fascinating insider's view of a topic with perennial charm. Index. (Nonfiction. 7+)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-385-30689-X
Page count: 64pp
Publisher: Doubleday
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 1993




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